Wristwatch

West Montreal mayors question Cavendish de Plante expansion plan

West mayors say they are surprised to hear outgoing mayor Valérie Plante declare on Tuesday that the long-awaited Cavendish extension will provide a lane for cars and trucks because they did not agree on it and because The administration of the Montreal Project of Plante did not adopt to carry out the studies and traffic projections necessary to support any scenario during its four years of mandate.

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Politicians in the west say they are surprised to hear outgoing mayor Valérie Plante say on Tuesday that the long-awaited Cavendish extension will provide a lane for cars and trucks because they didn’t agree on it and because The administration of the Montreal Project of Plante did not adopt to carry out the studies and traffic projections necessary to support any scenario during its four years of mandate.

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“It was surprising when (Plante) said there would only be one way (both ways) because that has been the subject of debate and discussion over the past year,” said outgoing Côte St-Luc councilor Dida Berku on Wednesday.

The mayors of the Cavendish corridor – Côte St-Luc, Ville Mont-Royal and the Montreal borough of St-Laurent – all agree that the planned 1.25 kilometer link to connect the two parts of Cavendish Boulevard. must include a minimum of two lanes for motorists in both directions, she said.

At the same time, they all agree that the 50-meter-wide parcel crossing the Canadian National and Canadian Pacific railway lines should also include two bike paths, a pedestrian path, green buffer zones and dedicated rapid transit lanes. – including a tram that was offered by Côte St-Luc, said Berku.

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“The purpose of this extension is not to add more cars,” Berku said. “It’s to allow traffic to flow more freely and to help motorists and commuters use public transit, which should be more accessible.

Berku shared sketches with the Montreal Gazette showing that all of these, including two lanes of two-way traffic, would fit.

“Suggesting that we have a way is perhaps disconnected from reality,” said Alan DeSousa, outgoing mayor of the borough of St-Laurent and member of the Ensemble Montréal of Denis Coderre.

“Imagine if you had a broken down truck or, in a snowstorm, a broken down car. With just one lane, it would create immediate bottlenecks. It is not in anyone’s best interest if we are going to spend $ 350 million on the Cavendish project that it does not meet the current and future needs of the west.

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Illustration credit Cavendish extension: City of Côte-St-Luc
Illustration credit Cavendish extension: City of Côte-St-Luc jpg

Plante spoke of the Cavendish extension lane project at a press conference where she presented a campaign pledge to create the city’s first car-free, carbon-neutral “eco-neighborhood” with 7,500 homes on the road. Blue Bonnets-Hippodrome website. The project would include at least 2,000 social housing units and 2,000 affordable housing units with price controls for 40 years. Autonomous buses would transport residents to the metro, a school and shops.

However, Berku said western politicians and the Plante administration recently discussed bringing the two options for the Cavendish Project – one lane and two lanes – to the Office of Public Hearings on the Environment (BAPE). , which must hold impact hearings before the project can proceed.

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Montreal’s stroll on studies is surprising, she added, because the realization of the Cavendish extension is part of Montreal’s contractual obligations allowing it to build housing on the Blue Bonnets-Hippodrome site. The province ceded the site to Montreal in 2017, when Denis Coderre was mayor. The contract also requires Montreal to carry out studies for the Cavendish extension by June 2022.

“They have deadlines to meet, and if they don’t meet those deadlines, they should theoretically cede this land (Blue Bonnets-Hippodrome) to the province,” said outgoing Côte St-Luc mayor Mitchell Brownstein.

One doesn’t negate the other, Brownstein said of having two dedicated car lanes and lanes for other modes of transportation in the Cavendish Project.

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Montreal’s communications office said the city spent $ 350,000 between 2014 and 2019 on studies examining how to extend Cavendish on CP and CN rail lines. Since 2020, the city has spent $ 80,000 to revise and “align” the Cavendish project with the “strategic directions of the city in terms of transport and ecological transition”.

DeSousa called this a “tiny” amount which suggests that the studies that Montreal is contractually bound to do by June have not been completed.

Florence Junca-Adenot, associate professor of urban studies at the University of Quebec at Montreal who chaired a government committee that proposed solutions to congestion in the Namur-de la Savane sector, said Cavendish remains a key element.

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She declined to go for the one- or two-way storylines for Cavendish. But she said she agreed with the principle of prioritizing public transport.

“We absolutely have to find ways to reduce the number of cars,” she said. “We cannot encourage the use of the car. We must encourage the use of public transport.

That said, there has been little progress on the committee’s other recommendations, said Junca-Adenot, such as the extension of the orange metro line from the Côte-Vertu station to the future Bois-Franc REM station. In addition, there is still no integrated master plan for the entire sector, she said, although several large real estate projects, such as Royalmount and Blue Bonnets-Hippodrome, are on the way.

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