The joy of free parking

Credit: meddygarnet/

OK, so I may have lied about my 12 Cars of Christmas being my last post of 2010 — apparently I can’t keep my fingers off the keyboard for that long (I should have known better).

Since starting a new job in the fall, I generally take public transit to work (shock and awe, I know). I leave my testers parked at the train station and take the hour-long ride into the downtown Montreal core where I work. On most days I enjoy the transportation choice because it means I don’t have to look for parking once I get into the snarl of downtown.

However, at the end of the week I generally drive to work. Fridays I finish early and spend my afternoons filming with so I need to have my cars handy. But, oh the parking.

Over the years I’ve come to know downtown parking as a bit of a sport, especially in the winter. I think it could very easily make it into the winter Olympics with points awarded for speed, finesse and accuracy. As the snow piles up and the roads become more slick, parking becomes increasingly hard to find and get into on the streets (because God forbid you pay for parking in a lot, and God forbid the plows clear the roads enough to prevent me having to shove my car into a massive snow pile).

Add to that the incredibly hard-to-read Montreal road signs that are a combination of dates, numbers, zone codes and symbols, and you could find yourself lost in a see of no-park zones banging your head on your steering wheel out of pure and utter frustration (I know, I’ve been there). The art of squeezing one’s car into the end of a zoned parking section (the end of the car being past the parking sign pole means you’re in the clear, right?) is something of an art.

However, gloriously, parking restrictions are mostly lifted throughout the winter months here in Montreal. Where one section of parking may have been illegal from 9:42 a.m. till 11:13 a.m. between March 1st and Decemeber 1st, it is now available and free for all to take.


This simple small section of “free” asphalt brings me so much joy I can’t begin to explain it. When I arrive downtown and begin circling the blocks that surround my office building a certain amount of dread always begins to build up; how long will I have to circle? What’s my cut-off time (I can’t very well circle the blocks for hours and hours, I do have to go to work eventually)? Will I have to cave and pay? Ugh.

But when I spot that elusive free parking spot up ahead and I’m alone on the street my heart lifts and a grin is instantly on my face. I’ve done it! I’ve achieved parking gold, I’ve found a free parking spot — bliss. Sometimes I’m embarrassed by the level of happiness I feel from this one small section of road, but then I remember the $11 I’ve just saved and continue smiling.

Drive on,
– M.

~ by drivingmsmiranda on December 23, 2010.

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