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NDG residents rally for change around MUHC site
Article mis en ligne le jeudi 18 octobre 2012

Photo : Sarah Geledi

NDG resident Marlo Turner Ritchie was one of the rally’s organizers. The bus numbers on her arms are to remind people that we rely on these routes, and every time they’re displaced, people are displaced.

Dozens of concerned local citizens protested in front of the Vendôme metro station on Oct. 2. They say the area has become a danger zone for cyclists and pedestrians due to the ongoing construction of the superhospital, and they want something done about it.

“The reason we’re here is to prevent injury and death,” said Rachel Michie, a member of the NDG Cyclist and Pedestrian Association. “Something’s going to happen soon. Just coming here today I saw two people who almost got hit by cars in the space of about 20 minutes.”

The neighborhood’s Cyclist and Pedestrian Association organized the demonstration against what they call major obstacles to life in NDG. Over a hundred cyclists, pedestrians and transit users rallied for a discussion of alternative plans for the metro station.

The protesters’ demands were threefold: build a bike and pedestrian bridge over Décarie Blvd; have a second entrance to the metro station; and keep Upper Lachine Rd. open.

Members of the association voiced their discontent, loud and clear, at the last MUHC public meeting. In addition to the cyclist and pedestrian safety issues, many expressed their fears that the superhospital will congest nearby streets with traffic and make commuting even more difficult for local residents who rely on the public transit system.

Councillor Peter McQueen told Les Actualités that satisfying two out of the three demands would be an acceptable solution for the community.

“Let’s not kid ourselves. The most expensive thing is the second entrance to the metro. People might want it, but somebody’s got to pay for it, and 30 million plus is a lot of money. But the bicycle bridge is one million - they could do it. And not closing Upper Lachine doesn’t cost money - it saves money,” said McQueen.

Residents were told they’d have to wait until Nov. 13 for more conclusive answers to the issues discussed. Pierre Major, a senior MUHC official, said: “We hear your concerns and there is going to be a public forum under the responsibility of the OCPM (Office de consultation publique de Montréal) and I think that’s the forum where all these issues and concerns can be addressed.”

Although he didn’t get any definite commitments, McQueen was still pleased with the outcome of the Oct. 2 events. “I think they clearly saw how the community is united in asking for these things, and I’m sure they are transmitting our requests to the higher-ups.”

[ Sarah Geledi ]

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