Twenty-four parking spots – 13 in front of the Embrun skate park and 11 at the eastern end of the Russell Park and Ride lot – were made available for parking between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. daily. The pilot started on December 22 and would run until April 1.
Councillors asked Russell Township’s administration to consider finding a place for additional winter parking earlier this month since many residents had more people staying with them through the season due to COVID. The extra numbers, combined with the no parking regulation on streets over the winter, had added extra parking pressures on private properties.
The proposal was voted on at the council’s December 21 meeting and came into force the next day. Signs would be installed to inform drivers of the parking bays available overnight. Commercial vehicles, buses or trailers would not be permitted in the spaces, and any vehicle still parked in the lots during the day would be ticketed.
The two lots were chosen because, while usually reserved for Russell Township Transit parking, that service had been expected to be suspended in 2021. Fewer cars were expected to need to park in other sections of the parking lots during the day, which would allow for snow removal operations.
Mayor Pierre Leroux, who brought forward the initial motion asking for the pilot, thanked the administration for find a solution to the issue so quickly. “I know the residents who are looking for this help will very much appreciate it,” he said.
Councillor André Brisson welcomed the announced, but asked whether the usage of the parking could result in potential changes to development in the township. “If we see that there are too many cars with the new project, maybe it’s something that should be considered when we consider future developments,” he said. “Maybe we think of future bigger parking lots that are constructed by the developers.”
The project was not expected to cost the township any money, with the exception of $420 for the purchase and installation of parking signs. But Chief Administrative Officer Jean Leduc said snow removal costs could become an issue if the project expanded to include more parking spaces.