West Island loses thousands of parking spots in new REM plan

Only a fraction of the parking spots promised have found their way into the latest plans for the project.

Some stations now down to 0 parking spots

Beaconsfield resident Laurie Ross doesn't think telling people to leave their cars at home and figure out alternate ways to get to the REM will work. (Sudha Krishnan/CBC)

West Islanders expecting to take the REM to get to the airport or downtown should also expect to ride the bus to the station, since only a fraction of the parking spots promised have found their way into the project's latest plans.

For example, the Kirkland REM station is expected to be used by more than 1,300 passengers daily and when plans were drawn up in 2016, they came with 500 parking spots — now, there will be zero parking spots.

"I don't think it's going to work for out in the West Island," said Beaconsfield resident Laurie Ross.

Beaconsfield Mayor Paola Hawa was expecting thousands of spots more than the West Island is now getting.

"People here need their cars to even go to the dépanneur," Hawa said. "Where are people going to park? People, especially with families."

Ground has already been broken on the REM, and it is set to be completed by 2023. It will extend as far west as Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue.

Some West Islanders are frustrated with the parking changes.

"How the heck would I get from Beaconsfield up to Kirkland let's say, without using my car?" said Lawren Steventon, another Beaconsfield resident.

The $6.3-billion REM network is funded largely by the provincial and federal governments and its construction is being managed by CDPQ Infra, a subsidiary of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec.

Harout Chitilian, CDPQ Infra's executive director, said that even though parking spots have decreased, commuters will have options on how to get to the stations.

With files from CBC's Sudha Krishnan

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