Montreal has two main farmers’ markets, Atwater and Jean Talon. But in addition there are several mini-markets scattered about the city. The one pictured above is located at the corner of Cote-des-Neiges and Jean Brillant Streets in the borough of Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grace. It is a great little place to pick up fresh produce, flowers and gardening supplies. When the fall harvest is over and done with, the market sells Christmas trees then closes until spring. It is open around the clock and, with many hospital shift-workers in the area it is always busy.
But one problem exists: a lack of parking. As the photo above shows, on the Cote-des-Neiges side (to the left in the image) there are several metered spots. That’s fine. The problem is on the Jean Brillant side (to the right) where a bus stop means no stopping ever – not merely no parking, but no stopping.
When there is no bus at the stop people park their cars there with flashers on and dash into the market to pick up some dinner. If they are lucky they get back to their car without a bus causing a commotion. If they are unlucky they will return to find a $57 ticket on their windshield.
But it gets worse. In Montreal parking tickets are issued by Parking Agents, or Green Onions as they used to be called based on an original uniform. I don’t believe there is a seafood counter at the market, but for the Parking Agents this market is like shooting fish in a barrel. They position themselves on Jean Brillant and as soon as a car stops in the bus zone they start preparing the ticket. If the market customer is slow, they will place the ticket on the car. If the shopper dashes in and out, they will receive a ticket by registered mail several weeks later. So if you didn’t realize you were in a bus zone – because frankly who would put a no stopping zone next to a market – tough noogies.
Now wouldn’t it be nicer if, once a car was stopped in the bus zone the Parking Agent told the driver to move rather than stealthily issuing a ticket? Wouldn’t that help foster a better public image of the Parking Agents? I guess they really don’t care. But I bet business at the market suffers from this overly zealous ticketing.