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Residents vent their frustrations
Article mis en ligne le jeudi 6 octobre 2011

Photo: Virginie Karagirwa

Drivers on Decarie below Sherbrooke have been experiencing delays since early 2010.

Residents and city officials vented their frustrations at the Montreal University Health Centre (MUHC) Good Neighbourly Relations Committee public meeting September 22. Complaints ranged from late-night construction noise to the dangerous situation for pedestrians crossing Upper Lachine road near the Glen site.

The deployment of police officers at high volume hours has not been enough to alleviate the troubles encountered by motorists and pedestrians alike.

Projet Montréal city councillor Peter McQueen called the situation “pathetic”, referring to the eight-second interval allotted to pedestrians crossing the complex, five-pronged intersection at Décarie and De Maisonneuve. The quick change from the walk symbol for those on foot to full green for drivers makes crossing the street a stressful experience for bewildered pedestrians.

Traffic remains congested since the reduction of Upper Lachine to one lane, with drivers experiencing delays of up to 30 minutes. With the closure of the De Maisonneuve bicycle path around the site, cyclists have been equally frustrated by confusing detours.

Promises by city planners to improve the situation have not yet resulted in solutions, according to McQueen. Planners and residents alike have long suggested transforming Décarie below Sherbrooke into a one-way southbound route and Girouard into a southbound lane to alleviate traffic headaches, but so far nothing has resulted from the proposals.

A commenter on the CTV news site asked “Where is (borough mayor) Applebaum in this whole fiasco?”

Citizens living nearby are equally frustrated by late-night construction on the site. Area resident Sara Meland used the forum to express her irritation, saying «It’s gonna put me in the hospital if ever it’s built.»

Westmount’s Public Security Commissioner Gary Ikeman was sympathetic, citing the need for construction subcontractors to clarify legal work hours (which are currently set at 7 a.m. - 3 p.m.) and called the beeping sounds from trucks backing up “obnoxious.”

On Oct. 4, however, traffic jams at the Decarie/de Maisonneuve intersection were finally alleviated thanks to help from the police. For example, two officers were manually operating the traffic lights on Oct. 4 around 4 p.m. Drivers may be a bit less frustrated at the dreaded intersection, but pedestrians remain pressured by the rapid transition from the walk signal to the green light for cars. Some, unsure of when to cross, stop halfway across the street to have a second look at the signals, while others simply cross as quickly as possible. The effect on pedestrians of the rapid cycle of traffic lights in that area has raised several complaints from residents.

[ Ingrid Wissink ]

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