On Monday, I was looking for a good excuse to go outside and take advantage of the beautiful (and warm!) sunny day when I noticed the clock read 10:07 and nearly jumped out of my skin.
Why, you ask? Because the 1st of April having passed, Monday was a wonderful day that announced not only the start of spring (cool!), but more importantly the beginning of one hour of no street parking per week (not cool…).
In Montreal in the summer, each road has one or two hours in which no parking is allowed on an entire side of the street to make room for street sweepers… On my street, you will have guessed, it’s Monday from 10 to 11. So, you’d better have a calendar and an alarm clock in your head before parking—a smart phone will make your life a lot easier too!
Jokes aside, you almost need a PhD to understand the parking signs in Montreal (as well as some French), and a lot of tourists and new arrivals get surprised. Besides the weekly parking ban mentioned above, you also have to look out for zones reserved for residents with parking stickers, school drop-offs, fire hydrants, peak hours, etc.
Taking care to read the signs is essential to verify whether the coveted place is indeed available; after that, all you need to know is how to parallel park (“faire un créneau” in Québécois French), and above all how to pay, if you’re on a commercial street! The cost of parking meters depends on the zone, but you should plan for up to $6 per hour with a potential limit of 2 hours… Good luck!
Here are our 5 tips for parking in Montreal
- Take a few hours to practice with a local. Some driver’s ed schools offer services adapted to new arrivals. It’s not a matter of retaking an entire driving class, but more so of focusing on local particularities (such as weekly parking bans, distance from fire hydrants and intersections, right turns on red, etc.). For example, Drive and Go helps you learn to conform to the requirements of SAAQ if you come from a country that won’t allow for the your driver’s license to be exchanged directly.
- Find housing that comes with a garage or other parking. Okay, this won’t solve all of your parking problems, but at least it’ll always be easy to park at home! A parking space in Montreal can be expensive, but can even be shared now, thanks to Prkair, the AirBnB or Uber of parking.
- Get yourself resident’s parking sticker (SRRR). If you reside in a central neighbourhood, you can obtain a sticker allowing you to park in reserved spaces, between signs with a red square indicating the zone number. The Plateau neighbourhood also offers a day sticker to use when shopping in the area.
- Download Montreal’s parking app. Discover the joys of paying your parking meter from a distance! Directly linked to your credit card, the app warns you if the parking space is in a zone or period in which parking isn’t allowed, and it lets you know when your time is almost up—practical!
- Take public transport! Considering the cost and hassle of parking in the city, and the fact that a metro/bus ticket only costs $2.70, it’s worth considering… A good deed for the environment and the wallet, long live the STM!
If you get a dinged, you can always pay your ticket online! Translation: if despite our excellent advice, you receive a fine (between $53 and $85), you can pay for it online here.
We’ll see you again soon for other fabulous advice about relocating quickly and effectively to Montreal, like a fish in water. Comment or share on LinkedIn, Facebook, or directly via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.