Laval parking wars only likely to get worse with new arena, residents worry

Laval's new 10,000-seat amphitheatre, set to open later this month, has nearby residents worried that demand for parking will spillover onto their streets.

10,000-seat Place Bell only has 800 dedicated parking spots in already busy downtown Laval

The new Place Bell in Laval is located on De La Concorde Boulevard, between Lucien-Paiement Street and Le Corbusier Boulevard. (CBC)

The already fierce battle for parking spots in central Laval is only likely to grow more intense when a new 10,000-seat amphitheatre opens later this month, say local residents. 

One resident told CBC News that parking is already in such short supply around Place Bell that she often has to stop people from blocking, or sometimes even parking in, her driveway.

"I won't let them block my entrance," said Shirley Ann Dumoulin. "No. I have fought pancreatic cancer. I have had an ambulance not show up because it couldn't get to me. No, it's not going to happen."

When it opens, Place Bell will be the home of the Laval Rocket AHL hockey team, as well as hosting concerts and other events.  

Shirley Ann Dumoulin says her driveway is often blocked by drivers desperate for a parking spot. (CBC)

10,000 seats, 800 parking spots

The arena only has 800 dedicated parking spaces. With parking already congested in downtown Laval, residents are concerned the arena will compound the existing struggle for space on evenings and weekends.

"After seven o'clock in the morning you cannot park a car here," said resident Luc Jacob.

When he moved to his current place from de la Concorde Boulevard 28 years ago, the area was all trees. But a development boom in recent years means heavier traffic and more people competing for spaces at peak times.

"During the day, it's already full. You cannot park a car if your don't have a vignette [resident parking pass]," Jacob said.

He wants to see the city extend the resident-only parking zones, which are currently enforced until 3 p.m Monday to Friday.

"Even if they have the Rocket playing, or a show from [concert promoter] Evenko, when I come back from work I want to have my place to park my car."

Even with various resident-only parking zones, residents near Place Bell say they already have trouble finding a spot. (CBC)

Mayor looking for options

Laval Mayor Marc Demers indicated the city is open to extending the hours of the resident-only zones. He also said his administration is working with nearby box stores to free up more spaces.

"There's 12,400 parking places in the area of Place Bell, so our goal is to learn how to manage them," Demers said.

Opposition municipal councillor for Laval-Des-Rapides Pierre Anthian told CBC News that it seemed "improvised" to build an arena of that size in such a busy location.

"It's not nice for the people living around here," he said. "They will be invaded by cars."

He suggested the construction of a multi-storey parking complex nearby to help add additional spaces.

With files from Simon Nakonechny


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