Cyclists to rally on June 11 in NDG & SW

They want to bring back bi­cy­cle bridge...

Montreal Times - - News - By John Sy­mon mtl­times.ca

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.”

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