Changes on Villeray causes confusion and frustration among residents
Driving down Villeray between Saint-Denis and Saint-Laurent used to be a fairly simple, read straightforward task. It was one straight stretch along the street, running West and connecting the two major arteries.
But since the installation of a traffic deviator at the corner of Saint-Dominique and Villeray, eastern-bound traffic on Villeray is being redirected North up Saint-Dominique, where it can only then turn onto Gounod and onward to Saint-Laurent boulevard.
Although the move aimed to reduce congestion on commercial Villeray street, many residents are now unhappy with the new installation. Some say it has made the residential roads dangerous and has caused drivers to become more agitated and confused about the new rules.
Reducing through traffic
The new deviator was installed over May as part of a widely popular bicycle lane project along the street. The road was made one-way several years ago and the newest project was meant to accommodate a protected, east-bound bike lane.
Installed at the same time as the bike lane along with the planting of new trees, The deviator aims to discourage traffic from travelling through the area.
“Its objective is to reduce through traffic in order to optimize the coexistence of modes of transport, without compromising access to the shops,” read a statement issued by the city in April.
“The changes also aim to improve the quality of life in the neighbourhood and will create a peaceful atmosphere,” the statement read further.
But the initial objectives of the deviator have not been successful and even destructive in the eyes of many residents who live around it.
A petition asking for its removal was recently circulated in the community. Many locals have said that it is causing traffic on Saint-Dominique, making it dangerous for children and families living on what is a narrow residential street
The petition, which has since received over 300 signatures, has been raised with the office of borough Mayor Giuliana Fumagalli.
Mehul Patel is one of the employees at the dépanneur on the corner of Villeray and Saint-Dominique. He says he does not understand the reason behind the change to the signage.
Not only does he feel that increased traffic on Saint-Dominique is dangerous for residents, but also thinks the deviator isn’t even serving its intended purpose
“Everyone sees this as a completely ridiculous thing to do,” derided Patel, explaining that people had moved some of the signs blocking the road and added that “in the last 10 minutes 3 cars have gone around it.”
Patel was not wrong. At the same time as the interview was being conducted, a City of Montreal maintenance truck drove into and over one of the pylons blocking the road, damaging it in the process.
He compared it to a similar situation in front of his home on Louis-Hebert in Saint-Michel, where construction on D’Iberville is forcing traffic down his residential street and causing frustration among residents.
“I don’t think they think about it, they rarely do,” complained Patel when asked whether he thought the city considered residents’ viewpoints before making the decision.
Another long-time resident of the area similarly commented on the new project. Marcel, who lives on Casgrain, felt the decision had been made with little to no consultation and was a good example of how he felt the Plante administration functioned.
“This road isn’t made to receive lots of circulation,” said Marcel of Saint-Dominique, further explaining that there are a lot of kids in the area and it makes it dangerous for the families living there.
With many residents still unhappy with the decision and with the petition still circulating, the issue also came up at last weeks borough council meeting
“I am very preoccupied with what I saw,” said city councillor for Park Extension Mary Deros of the deviator on Villeray, adding that “there is more circulation on the residential streets.”
“The drivers become frustrated and drive faster,” explained Deros, adding that there was a need for a study on the traffic and consultation among residents.
Mayor Fumagalli underlined that residents should be patient and see whether there is a natural change in behaviour that takes place. She nonetheless agreed that the decision by the city center had been taken without the consultation of residents.
“There wasn’t any consultation and it arrived like a surprise,” she stated, adding that if the measure is deemed inadequate she would work to change it. “Let’s leave ourselves some time,” she concluded.