Montréal, June 4, 2020 – Faced with an endless stream of criticism from residents and merchants regarding Mayor Plante’s “safe active mobility network”, Ensemble Montréal requests that the administration immediately undertake consultations on works already completed and planned for phase two. This includes the implementation of 327 km of new pedestrian and bicycle paths across the city, which will result in the removal of many traffic lanes and parking spaces.
Ensemble Montréal will table a motion to this effect at the June 15 municipal council meeting.
“The implementation of the mayor’s summer mobility plan was pure improvisation. For example, nearly three weeks after announcing her plan, she can’t even say how many parking spaces will ultimately be removed. And of course, there was no consultation. Residents and merchants are really unhappy,” said Francesco Miele, city councillor for the Côte-de-Liesse district.
The most deplorable episode was undoubtedly that of Boulevard Saint-Laurent, which the administration decided to close to automobile traffic between Jean-Talon and Saint-Zotique, to the great astonishment of merchants in the Little Italy neighbourhood, who had not been consulted beforehand.
“And as if that wasn’t enough, the mayor had the audacity to write on social media that this closure was requested by the Little-Italy SDC, which they immediately denied, adding that a large majority of merchants were fiercely opposed to the city’s project. Frankly, this is hardly an honourable way to go about it,” Mr. Miele added.
There have also been many examples of residents waking up to discover to their surprise that a new bike path has appeared on their street and that they will have to park their car much further away. There were also public transit users who discovered their usual bus stop was moved elsewhere because the street is now too narrow to accommodate both buses and bike lanes.
Concerns about the Plante administration’s “safe active mobility network”, are so great that even Montréal’s Ombudsman, Ms. Johanne Savard, issued a “notice of concern” last May 20, in which she mentioned, among other things, the necessity to ensure the universal accessibility and safety of these new developments, the provision of alternative parking areas and consultation of residents and merchants.
“From what we can see, none of this has been done. We simply cannot trust this administration, which is driven by its own ideology rather than a desire to serve the public well. This is why, in addition to calling for serious consultations, our motion also calls for the removal of these new facilities in September. We’re all too familiar with Projet Montréal’s anti-car agenda to believe them when they say these developments are only temporary,” concluded Mr. Miele.