Much of La­chine Canal bike path closed

Montreal Times - - News -

Late sea­son cy­clists try­ing to use west­ern sec­tions of the La­chine Canal bike path are now con­fronted locked gates pre­vent­ing ac­cess to the bike path. There are also signs in­di­cat­ing that the bike path will re­main closed from un­til spring, 2018 while light­ing is in­stalled. The Parks Canada web­site clar­i­fies the re­open­ing to be in May, 2018.

“Parks Canada has an­nounced an in­vest­ment of $170 mil­lion over the next five years for the La­chine Canal Na­tional Historic Site to up­grade its fa­cil­i­ties and thus en­hance the over­all ex­pe­ri­ence of more than a mil­lion peo­ple who visit the site an­nu­ally,” reads an on­line text. “Please com­ply with on­site sig­nage and be cau­tious while adapt­ing your trips us­ing the mu­nic­i­pal bike path net­work or other safe al­ter­na­tive routes.”

But many mu­nic­i­pal bike paths close for the sea­son on Novem­ber 15; even now, find­ing safe al­ter­na­tive routes is al­ready a chal­lenge.

“I had to de­tour onto St. Pa­trick Street in­stead of us­ing the canal bike path. It’s OK when traf­fic is light although the road sur­face is bad in many places. It’s im­pos­si­ble to re­lax when you’re shar­ing the road with semi-trail­ers, buses and other mo­tor ve­hi­cles,” cy­clist Con­way Daly of St. Henri told The Times.

About one mil­lion cy­clists visit the park an­nu­ally and the bike path is a ver­i­ta­ble 14km bi­cy­cle high­way be­tween Old Mon­treal and La­chine.The sec­tion now closed is from Monk Street Bridge near High­way 15 to du Musée Street on the edge of Lac St. Louis, a dis­tance of some 7km.

“We met re­cently with Parks Canada...and asked that they en­sure a safe bike path de­tour if the path must be closed and that should be worked out with the ad­ja­cent bor­oughs.They have said they would try but, ap­par­ently have not suc­ceeded,” ex­plained Dan Lam­bert of the Mon­treal Bi­cy­cle Coali­tion.

Lam­bert is also a big ad­vo­cate of en­cour­ag­ing the pop­u­la­tion to com­mute to work on bikes and keep­ing bike paths open through the winter.

“Parks Canada still con­sid­ers the Park is mainly for leisure use and do not seem yet fully com­mit­ted to en­sur­ing con­tin­ued [bi­cy­cling] on pro­tected bi­cy­cle paths.As for keep­ing the bi­cy­cle path open 12 months a year, so far the ef­forts have been di­rected to­wards get­ting the ad­ja­cent bor­oughs to clear the [snow] be­cause Parks Canada does not have the bud­get or staff.”

Mon­treal hosted the in­ter­na­tional Winter Cy­cling Congress this past Fe­bru­ary to vaunt how “bike-friendly” this city is 12 months of the year. Marc-An­dré Gadoury, who was re­spon­si­ble for bi­cy­cling un­der the Coderre ad­min­is­tra­tion, pre­vi­ously told The Times that the La­chine Canal bike path should open for cy­cling this winter. In­stead, gates are locked, no snow clear­ing will be hap­pen­ing and safe de­tours can be dif­fi­cult to find.

The Times also spoke to Parks Canada com­mu­ni­ca­tions of­fi­cer Anne Marie LaBrèque. We asked why it takes seven months to in­stall light­ing and why the path must re­main closed dur­ing this time. By press time, we had not re­ceived an­swers...

Lam­bert also men­tioned dif­fi­cul­ties in try­ing to get Parks Canada to work with mu­nic­i­pal gov­ern­ments to en­sure good bi­cy­cling fa­cil­i­ties. “This has been a very frus­trat­ing and dif­fi­cult Ini­tia­tive for the Mon­treal Bike Coali­tion,” he con­cluded.

La­chine Bike path in the sum­mer months

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.