The Path Less-Traveled
Biking is important in Montreal, as well as the rest of the world perhaps. You won’t get any counter-statement from me, especially when considering the amount of bike messengers there are at the center of downtown. I’d say that bikers, or rather cyclists should be kept as safe as possible and they remain and should remain a top priority for one and all, and it’s certainly nice to see that there are those in power that care a great deal about them.
That being said … there are many across the city that do not agree with the amount of streets being turned into one-way roads for the sole purpose of establishing bike lanes and causing major traffic elsewhere.
Some communities contested the decision
This was tried on Notre Dame Street and local vendors had the decision overturned. People out east weren’t so lucky, or rather so inclined to contest the decision before it got underway.
If traveling down to Gouin Boulevard for a scenic tour of the eastern tip of the island up to Point Aux Trembles, or even RDP was something you were interested in doing this fall, perhaps watching the fall colors on the trees and the flowing river off to the side, maybe even a deer or two leaping hither and thither in the fields … perhaps you should rethink those plans, because Gouin Boulevard is now a one way street, with multiple directions at intervals of a few hundred meters or so at a time.
Another massive problem this has created is a surplus of traffic at the Henri Bourassa, Pie IX Boulevard intersection, and we all know how bad that intersection was already. Now, with the new limitations, motorists are forced to come up and congest that intersection even further.
Other locations across the city
And now, we also have NDG, and who can forget St Denis Street? Trying to get around that location as it stands is hard enough with all of the construction … imagine when it becomes a one way street, allowing bikes to traverse from one side of the island to the other, but forcing cars to take u-turns and detours to only God-Knows-Where! It’s a wee bit of a hassle and yeah, I was going for sarcasm there, because there’s nothing “wee bit” about this for many motorists.
Despite Covid-19, there are still quite a few people that work downtown, and like it or not, St-Denis could and should be considered one of the main arteries in and out of the d-town core.
To say that these decisions don’t make all that much sense to most, would be putting it mildly.
Still ... there is support out there
Of course there are those in favor of all these changes, and a growing number at that. This can be seen in the fact that nothing has been done to overthrow these decisions as they were on Notre Dame Street. All those opposed should get together as the people along Notre Dame did, but what happens now remains to be seen.
Ultimately, if this is a democratic province, as we are told that it is, the outcome rests in our hands, but if we do nothing to fight against the decisions we don’t agree with, the decision makers will certainly have their way with the city and what goes on in it. So yeah … we need to band together and fight the decisions we don’t agree with. It sounds corny, especially in 2020, but hey … it still applies, as the Notre Dame residents and business owners showed.
In the end, it could get worse
And with plans to make downtown car-free, this could get worse for those that depend on being able to drive into the city for work and are opposed to these sudden changes, but like I said before, it’s in your hands in the end, and remember, you all have a voice, folks. It may not always work out in your favor, but in the end, at least you did something to try and make a difference for you and those that support your desires for your collective communities.
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”― Edmund Burke
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Domenic Marinelli is a freelance writer / journalist and author of multiple books including Generic V, An Open Letter To Arthur Pond and Weathered Tracks. He has written for Park Extension News, The MTL Times, Steel Notes Magazine, Hot Cars, babbletop.com and many other publications.
(Image source: VectorStock)