|Ten much-needed parking spots were removed from the|
St. Charles Rec centre for a phanton bike path.
The centre contains a swimming pool and a rink with such popular attractions as a learn-to-skate course which sees dozens of parents haul their kids down to watch them fall on their bums for an hour.
Most of these parents need a place to park their wheels, as the spot is pretty remote, even for people in the neighbourhood.
But early in 2012 the borough zapped 10 parking spots alongside the facility, to replace them with a bike path, because they're convinced that bicycles and cars are races that should never mix.
So parking has been banned on the south side of Grand Trunk between Island and Hibernia for the convenience of those using the bicycle path.
(There's also no parking on the entire block in front of the arena either for reasons I don't entirely grasp.)
Here's the kicker: unlike most bike paths, which are closed after November 1, this path is apparently technically still open, as parking signs indicate that there's no parking at any time, regardless of season or hour.
And yet the bike path is completely uncleared of snow and ice.
A huge pile of snow now sits on the spot.
So there's no parking, no bike path and just a lot of irritated parents circling the neighbourhood streets trying to snatch parking spots from local residents.
The Vision Montreal (Harel's party) runs the borough and I have left a message with local city councillor Veronique Fournier to ask for an explanation. There's also a Projet Montreal borough councillor named Sophie Thiebault, a party that generally supports bicycle paths, but apparently doesn't have much say in the mismanagement of this resource.
The person who brought this situation to my attention describes it as a war on families.
I have left a variety of email and voice messages to various authorities and will update this report as any other information comes in.
Residents who want to ask why such a bizarre and inconvenient policy is in place might consider attending the next borough council meeting at 815 Bel Air on 5 Feb. (show up at 6:30 pm to register to ask questions at the meeting).
Addendum: Late Monday afternoon a borough official called to say that the parking will be restored, for the winter at least. Someone had blundered and that the snow will be cleared and the signs changed to allow parking on the spot from Nov. 1 to April 15.