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Heading to downtown Montreal for the Grand Prix? You might want to leave your car at home

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The Formula One Grand Prix is kicking off in Montreal, and city officials are asking anyone thinking of heading downtown this weekend to leave their car at home.

"It's a big weekend. It's the Grand Prix Formula One this weekend," said Philippe Sabourin, spokesperson for the City of Montreal. "If you want to participate...you better go with public transit or grab your bike or go by foot."

He estimates about 100,000 people could descend on the city's downtown core each day of the Formula One.

"We're used to dealing with those major events downtown," said Sabourin. "We know 95 per cent of the people attending the Grand Prix de Formule 1 du Canada will go by Metro. The best way to commute, especially this weekend, will be using public transport."

In addition to the street closures for the Grand Prix, Sabourin points out Crescent Street is slated to be closed between Sainte-Catherine and Sherbrooke streets and Saint-Laurent Boulevard is expected to be closed between Beaubien and Jean-Talon streets for other events.

"The way to enjoy all those festivals coming to Montreal is commuting with public transit: the Metro, the buses...the REM from the South Shore or if you're from Laval, why don't you try the SRB?" Sabourin suggests. "There's more and more alternatives to solo driving."

Martin Girard, a spokesperson for Quebec's transport ministry, echoes Sabourin's advice.

"It's sure that an event like the Grand Prix de Formule 1 du Canada has an impact on traffic, so that's why we recommend people use public transit," he said. "Plan your trip. You can expect there will be more cars than ever on the Island of Montreal during the weekend."

Sabourin notes the city has no plans to approve new construction permits during the busy weekend but work that is already in progress will continue.

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