Cyclists to rally on June 11 in NDG & SW
They want to bring back bicycle bridge...
This Sunday, June 11 will see a mass bike ride going from St. Jacques Street in NDG to the Southwest borough to demonstrate the need for a bicycle/pedestrian bridge linking the two places. Advocates want to see such a bridge reinstated in the Turcot Highway reconstruction plans.
“This green bridge (“Dalle-Parc” in French) was promised by former Quebec Transport Minister Sam Hamad in 2010,” says Lisa Mintz, one of the event organizers. “The front page of The Gazette in November 10, 2010 shows very clearly that it is included in the Turcot project,” she said.
Cyclists on the June 11 ride, to get over Highway 20 and the CN train tracks, will have to either go through Westmount or St. Pierre with a distance of 7km. But if there were a green bridge connecting the two, the cycling or walking distance would be be reduced to less than 1km with no road crossings. “After being solemnly promised by Hamad, this bridge then mysteriously disappeared from the Turcot plans,” relates Mintz. “We hope to make a statement with lots of people coming out to show that they want this bridge. Highways make it easier for motorists, but are very significant transportation barriers for cyclists and pedestrians.”
Behind Mintz is a coalition of 57 community groups ranging from the Conseil régional environnement (CRE) to Velo Quebec to Equiterre to Revitalization St. Pierre to groups of architects and doctors. They point out that the $40 million bridge represents only about one percent of the total $3.8 billion Turcot reconstruction project. Echoing this concern is Robert “Bicycle Bob” Silverman who has advocated for cycling infrastructure since the 1970s, but is not part of the coalition.
Montreal city council is also pushing for the bridge; in April Southwest borough councillor Craig Sauvé presented a motion calling on the province to reinstate the bridge; that motion was passed unanimously.
“I met with the current Transport Minister, Laurent Lessard last week at the National Assembly,” said Mintz. “He did not say 'no' to the bridge . I get the impression, however, that Mr Lessard will be watching how many people turn out for our June 11 event.”
“If this bridge is not built, there is basically nothing else in the $3.8 billion project for the benefit of cyclists and pedestrians. There is also little for the benefit of residents of the most affected parts of the city: St Henri, St. Pierre, and St. Raymond, where many people don't even own cars. For once, let's have the Quebec Transport Ministry to something to help people who walk and ride bicycles.”