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NDG citizens petition borough for Bixis
Article mis en ligne le jeudi 23 septembre 2010
 
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Discussions are underway between CDN-NDG borough and the Bixi operators to bring Bixi to NDG.

As a second Bixi season draws to an end with no word yet on expansion into NDG, residents are petitioning the CDN-NDG borough.

“I think that NDG residents should also be benefiting from Bixis,” said resident Nicolas Murray at the Sept. 7 council meeting. Murray asked Mayor Michael Applebaum when residents can expect the self-service bike system to be deployed in NDG.

Michael Applebaum replied that Stationnement Montreal is responsible for Bixi expansion. The borough is trying to get written assurances that Bixi will come to NDG next year.

Stationnement Montreal has mandated the Public Bike System Company (PBSC) to develop the self-service bike system. “If the City wants the network on the whole island, we will supply it,” said Bixi spokesperson Berangere Theriault about any future expansion proposals.

The operations team met with CDN-NDG borough representatives and discussed a proposal for an optimal system deploying through Côte-des-Neiges to Snowdon to NDG. Before making decisions the City has to weigh risk factors like stagnant ridership and some financial deficits already incurred by the not-for-profit operator.

Mayor Applebaum, who is also vice-president of the City’s executive committee, expects PBSC’s proposal to come before the executive committee for discussion. “Helen Fotopulos and I will say very clearly that Bixi has to be expanded through CDN and implemented in NDG,” he affirmed.

James MacLean, another resident, asked why NDG didn’t get Bixis this past summer and presented a petition with over 1,000 signatures.

Applebaum replied that the system came into the Côte-des-Neiges district one year earlier than expected, as last year’s expansion went really well. It was the operator’s decision not to go to NDG yet.

He also encouraged MacLean to continue with the petition. “It is only going to help us in our arguments to make sure that it comes to the NDG area. If you leave your petition with us, we can present it to Manon Barbe at City Hall, who is responsible for Transport,” he said.

The network started downtown, and each docking station has to be no more 300 metres from the next station.

The Vendome metro station in NDG is 2.5 km away from the station located at the corner of Sherbrooke and Atwater. The stumbling block to deploying the system in the western district is the City of Westmount, so the CDN-NDG borough is looking at expanding the system through Côte-des- Neiges.

Helen Fotopulos is concerned about the detour around Westmount that makes bringing Bixis to NDG more difficult. She recommended getting a petition going in Westmount too, given that it is part of the agglomeration and its residents reportedly want Bixis.

The Centre City is studying various other proposals from Bixi. Thériault confirmed that representatives met with Westmount officials on July 28 and informally discussed 15 stations or about 100 bikes for Westmount. PBSC will submit an official proposal in a few weeks.

Westmount is the first of the island cities to approach Bixi. Unlike NDG, Westmount cannot get the Montreal-based service and would have to foot the entire cost of the system.

[Marie Cicchini]






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