The West Island has long been a place where the automobile is the primary mode of transportation for people to get around.
The sprawling landscape, low-density housing and malls with ample parking have made it much easier for people to move around by driving compared to taking buses and trains.
Officials are trying to slowly change that through new high-density housing developments near public transit stations and the new electric train line, Le réseau express métropolitain (REM).
But some local mayors insists massive new parking spaces at REM stations and easy access to get to them are necessary to boost public transit.
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“We need to have an access point like a massive parking lot, for example, as was proposed in the beginning,” Jim Beis, Pierrefonds-Roxboro Borough Mayor told Global News.
It’s a feeling shared by Pointe-Claire mayor John Belvedere.
“The only way those systems work is you want to be efficient is getting the people there easily so that’s what we have to do,” he told Global News.
An online seminar, hosted by a local environmental health board, is studying all the options toward improving mass transit in the West Island.
The goal is to help make the Island of Montreal carbon-neutral by 2050 as proposed by the mayor, but the existing mass transit systems in place aren’t enough according to the host of the seminar.
“It’s not big enough yet to meet the targets for 2050,” Blaise Rémillard, of the Conseil régional de l’environnement de Montréal, told Global News.
Rémillard eventually plans to publish a list of recommendations to get toward a carbon neutral future.