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Traffic problems to get worse
Article mis en ligne le jeudi 29 novembre 2012

Photo: Sarah Geledi

Residents lined up to voice their concerns about the impending road closures around the MUHC superhospital.

Dozens of local residents voiced their discontent with traffic headaches caused by the new superhospital at a Nov. 13 public meeting organized by the MUHC. They found out that the situation is bound to get worse, as Transport Quebec unveiled plans to completely demolish and reconstruct the St. Jacques bridge over the Decarie Expressway and permanently close down the Upper Lachine underpass.

Shannon Sweeney, a resident of the Western part of NDG, warns that these road closures will impact everyone in the area, as motorists take alternate routes to avoid traffic congestion. She’s tired of impatient drivers using residential streets as shortcuts around the new superhospital construction site.

«A lot of motorists are very frustrated with all the construction - they don’t live in NDG and they’re not respectful of children and lights,” said Sweeney at the public meeting. “People are using our roads to get to other places faster. You should be aware that it’s impacting our community.”

Sweeney wasn’t the only unhappy resident to speak up at the meeting. Marlo Turner Ritchie, a member of the St. Raymond Residents Association, was also on hand with a list of questions and comments gathered by dozens of concerned local citizens. She spoke up on their behalf, raising concerns about metro access, transit safety and the proposed closure of Upper Lachine.

Although she was happy to hear about the possibility of an extra entrance at the Vendome metro station, she’s heavily disappointed that the city is going ahead with the closure of Upper Lachine Rd. at Decarie Blvd. to all but cyclists and pedestrians.

City of Montreal official Alain Trudeau said that the closing of Upper Lachine is a regrettable but unavoidable decision, necessary to complete work in the surrounding area.

“I’m a little bit confused as to why there has been consultation for other issues but not for this,” said Turner Ritchie. “I don’t think citizens are going to take this lying down.”

Over three hundred residents have signed a petition to keep the Upper Lachine underpass open. “The city has to choose the solutions that are best for the community and we are the community,” added the St. Raymond resident.

Trudeau assured residents that the city has no plans to close the St. Jacques overpass and the Upper Lachine underpass at the same time. “We’ll obviously try to work around a schedule and allow the people who live in St. Raymond to have one access point. We won’t close both streets at the same time.”

NDG opposition councillor Peter McQueen says he wants to make sure that they won’t be closing both roads simultaneously. “There’s certainly no way the community will accept that Upper Lachine and St. Jacques are closed at the same time. It’s not just St. Raymond that will not accept it – NDG will not accept it.”

Work on the St. Jacques overpass is scheduled to take place between the fall of 2013 and the winter of 2015.

The next public forum will be held on Jan. 22, 2013.

[ Sarah Geledi ]

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