Tur­cot Pedes­trian and Cy­clist Over­pass A Dream?

Montreal Times - - News -

Back in 2010, as part of the Tur­cot In­ter­change project, Trans­port Que­bec an­nounced it would in­clude an over­pass over the re­con­fig­ured High­way 20 and CN train tracks. It was sup­posed to con­nect the St. Jac­ques es­carp­ment to the La­chine canal - and it was sup­posed to be a bridge ex­clu­sively for pedes­tri­ans and cy­clists. But now it is not.

Part of the Tur­cot plans up un­til 2012, and on the of­fi­cial maps, it has since dis­ap­peared - much to the cha­grin of those liv­ing in NDG, Ver­dun and the South-West Bor­ough, as well as sev­eral cit­i­zen groups who are lob­by­ing to get the Trans­port Min­istry to re­in­state the project. But Trans­port Que­bec al­ready said last April they would not re­verse their de­ci­sion, and that the project was pulled from the Tur­cot be­cause it was too ex­pen­sive.

Sau­vons la Falaise, one of the groups part of a coali­tion lob­by­ing the min­istry, be­lieves the over­pass can still move ahead with 'a more con­ser­va­tive bud­get'.And in a CTV re­port last April, City coun­cilor Craig Sauvé said that 'elim­i­nat­ing the pedes­trian/bi­cy­cle path was not the best way to cut costs given the over­all scope of the project' and that 'Peo­ple are feel­ing a lit­tle up­set it's taken out. If we look in the con­text of Tur­cot, it's a $3.8 billion project and it's an im­mense project. This over­pass would not be one per­cent of that. It would be a small amount to put for­ward that is giv­ing to peo­ple lo­cally'.

Other groups lob­by­ing the gov­ern­ment be­hind the pro­posal in­clude;Vélo Québec, Pié­tons Québec and the Green Coali­tion.

The pro­posed over­pass was also sup­posed to add much needed green space - as it would be cov­ered in grass and trees.And not only would it have im­proved con­nec­tions be­tween the bor­oughs, but also ac­cess to the down­town area and the new MUHC Hos­pi­tal.

There are many say­ing the whole idea of the over­pass was sim­ply to quiet the res­i­dents who were con­cerned about the con­struc­tion noise, pol­lu­tion and all the other chal­lenges that would come with the Tur­cot project - and that there never was any real in­ten­tion of mov­ing for­ward with it. A pe­ti­tion signed by close to 10,000 peo­ple is be­ing pre­sented to the Na­tional As­sem­bly.

A spokesper­son for the Trans­port Min­is­ter said 'the idea of the bridge is not out of the ques­tion, but it won’t be a part of the cur­rent Tur­cot project - it could be part of a sep­a­rate project once the in­ter­change is fin­ished'.

But that is a lot of 'could be's'.

The new Tur­cot In­ter­change is sched­uled to be ready by the end 2020 and so far the project is on time and on bud­get, some­thing rarely heard in this city. The present in­ter­change han­dles ap­prox­i­mately 300,000 ve­hi­cles per day and was not built for such a high vol­ume of traf­fic. Hope­fully the new con­fig­u­ra­tion will help to ease traf­fic con­ges­tion - and some of the anx­i­ety driv­ers have been fac­ing for years now due to the project's con­struc­tion and all the other work be­ing done in and around the city of Mon­treal.

There have been many ma­jor in­fra­struc­ture projects in the past with op­por­tu­ni­ties to im­prove upon other im­por­tant is­sues at the time, but un­for­tu­nately those mak­ing the de­ci­sions did not look to the fu­ture or chose not to ad­dress them in their plans - only later hav­ing to do so at a much higher cost or find­ing it im­pos­si­ble with the struc­tures or con­fig­u­ra­tions al­ready in place.

Why then has the pedes­trian and cy­clist over­pass been re­moved from the Tur­cot In­ter­change project? It makes smart sense in so many ways, in­clud­ing en­vi­ron­men­tally - and would cost a frac­tion of what it did to light up the Jac­ques Cartier bridge.

They say some­times dreams do come true… with a lit­tle help from those who can make them hap­pen.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.