In Montreal, we are entering the final weeks of municipal election campaigns. The two main candidates vying for mayor of the city are locked in a virtual tie. Promises are coming fast and furious.
The incumbent, Valérie Plante, is hoping to hang on to her mayor’s seat, but her opponent, Denis Coderre, whom she defeated four years ago, is back and making life tough for her. Plante has often been depicted as being anti-car. This is a criticism (or platitude depending on one’s position) that has been leveled at her since day one. And with good reason.
With many merchants in the downtown core just hanging on through the pandemic, many having already succumbed, restricting access seems counter-productive
Madame Plante has a grandiose plan for downtown Montreal that calls for, among other things, more pedestrian access and less vehicular ease, including the eradication of thousands, yes, thousands, of parking spots. With many merchants in the downtown core just hanging on through the pandemic, many having already succumbed, restricting access seems counter-productive.
Montreal, for all of its European flair, is still firmly attached to car-loving North America. Attempting to force motorists, to abandon their cars and take public transit to go downtown, by making it almost impossible to park, will only lead to those shoppers going to malls with free parking.
No one can dispute the environmental damage done by vehicles. But with promises and decrees to switch from gas-powered to electric vehicles around the world hopefully this harm will be greatly reduced within the next decade or so. As electric vehicles become the main conveyance, and old-fashioned gas guzzlers are retired, surely some environmental damage can be reduced.
Even in a world that sports nothing but clean electric transportation, drivers will have to put those vehicles somewhere
However, the problem with electric vehicles (aside from what to do to make battery life longer, and then what to do with those batteries) is that just like gas and diesel-powered cars, you have to put them somewhere. Even in a world that sports nothing but clean electric transportation, drivers will have to put those vehicles somewhere. But if there are no parking spots, whether the potential downtown consumers are in electric, gas, or maple syrup-powered cars, if they can’t park them conveniently, they won’t go downtown.
The elimination of parking for vehicles in the downtown core, including electric cars and trucks, is a death knell for the community.