'We are at war with parking': Griffintown woman says she's at her wits end

​Ja​ziele Whyne has racked up thousands of dollars in parking tickets since 2014. Living in the booming Montreal neighbourhood of Griffintown is a nightmare, she says: street parking disappears as quickly as construction zones expand.

​Ja​ziele Whyne says living in the booming neighbourhood-turned-permanent-construction-zone is a nightmare

​Ja​ziele Whyne has been living in the same Griffintown co-op since 2014. In that time, she's seen street parking spaces disappear and has racked up thousands of dollars in tickets. (Sean Henry/CBC)

​Ja​ziele Whyne has racked up thousands of dollars in parking tickets since 2014.

She said in the booming Montreal neighbourhood of Griffintown, where she lives, she's seen street parking spots disappear as quickly as construction zones expand.

"On a daily basis, we are woken up between 5:45 and 6 a.m. by trucks and drilling and pounding, honking. You name it, we got it," she said.

"Other than that, you're waking up to your car being missing."

She told CBC that construction has eaten up street parking, and many of the spaces left are zoned only for certain times of day.

Earlier this month, Whyne received two tickets in one day, after her car was ticketed, towed and then ticketed again.

"The first one was for it being parked on the street where they towed it from, and the second one was for where they had towed it to," she explained. "They had also given me a ticket for not being allowed to park there during that time."

​Ja​ziele Whyne says in her part of Griffintown, all the available street parking is being used by construction projects around her building. (Sean Henry/CBC)

Whyne lives in a housing co-op at the corner of Basin and William streets with no designated parking space in her building's garage.

"There's nowhere to park, from Basin to William to Chatham, going up to Notre-Dame," she said.

A construction company has rented all that street space until the start of the winter to park the company's vehicles in order to carry out roadwork on behalf of the city.

Whyne and her neighbours often take their chances parking in illegal spots, especially on rainy days when there's no work happening.

The gamble doesn't always pay off.

"We are at war with parking over here, and we're fighting," she said.

A few years ago, when the problem began, Whyne said she racked up $3,000 in parking tickets.

She was able to settle them at the time by doing community service, but now she's back up to about $1,000 in unpaid tickets.

Whyne said she plans to contest them, saying that she has no choice but to park her car somewhere, and the city should intervene to help residents.

​Coun. Craig Sauvé, who represents Griffintown, told CBC that reduced parking has been part of the borough's urban plan since 2013.  (CBC)

Coun. Craig Sauvé, who represents the district of Griffintown, Sauvé said he feels for residents who struggle to find parking, but this isn't a new or unexpected problem.

Sauvé told CBC that reduced parking has been part of the urban plan for the borough since 2013 — a plan developed in consultation with the public and passed before he was even elected.

The plan focuses on green space and safety for pedestrians and cyclists, he said, and limited parking is to be expected in an area as dense as Griffintown.

"We don't have an infinite amount of road space," Sauvé said. ​"It's impossible almost to fabricate space out of thin air."

"This is the direction that Griffintown is really going​," said Sauvé. Streets like William, Payette and Hunter are slated for a makeover next. That could include wider sidewalks and protected bike lanes.

For residents like Whyne, however, that means they're out of luck. Parking in their booming neighbourhood is only going to get more competitive, and the city has no plans to alleviate the strain.

With files from Sean Henry


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