A step in the right direction but key aspects still missing
Last week, the borough released the first draft of the traffic appeasement plan for Park Ex and asked residents to weigh in with their comments and suggestions as part of its public consultation phase.
Many residents have spoken out against motorists using the neighbourhood as a thoroughfare to get to the highway during peak transit hours, putting pedestrians and cyclists at risk.
Some took to social media and community groups to share their viewpoints on the new plan including the suggestions they sent to the borough. “Finally, it’s a step in the right direction,” said one such resident.
Others echoed this message and were pleased the borough government was doing something about the issue of traffic in Park Ex, but others pointed out that some of the most important changes were still missing.
Jean-Talon/Parc still dangerous
While the proposed plan includes 3 new sidewalk overhangs at the corner of Jean-Talon and Hutchison, some have said this will not be enough to make the intersection secure for the many pedestrians that use it.
“This intersection is an aberration!” wrote resident Valérie Bloch, adding that “it was not even taken into account in the appeasement plan.”
This intersection is one of the busiest in the area, with northbound traffic coming from Parc Ave. turning west onto Jean-Talon to access de l’Acadie Boul. and Highway 40 to the north of Park Extension.
“I personally requested the securing of the pedestrian crossing of Parc at the Parc/Jean-Talon intersection,” said resident Alexical Di Palermo, adding that the corner is very dangerous with motorists speeding and driving aggressively.
No traffic light on Saint-Roch
In Mar. 2021, cross-guard at Bloomfield and Saint-Roch Danny Pavlopoulos spoke to CBC about what he called a dangerous and chaotic intersection. “There are no traffic lights, so we are not sure who has the right of way,” Pavlopoulos told the CBC.
The plan doesn’t currently include the installation of a traffic light at the intersection but has incorporated speed bumps along Saint-Roch to slow down vehicle traffic.
City councillor for Park Extension Mary Deros said that if the problem persisted it was the responsibility of the police to intervene.
“They could easily have police over there, as they have on some other corners where we’ve had problems with the cars and the schoolchildren crossing,” she said, adding it was the responsibility of the SPVM crossing guard to stop traffic.
The plan also includes several changes to street directions on Birnam and Bloomfield. Councillor Deros said this change is to prevent motorists from using residential streets as shortcuts to de l’Acadie and the highway.
“One of the suggestions was to switch the one way northbound to one way southbound so that if there’s traffic on Jarry, they won’t be able to come on to Birnam and speed on our streets,” explained Deros.
According to Deros, this would further deter drivers from taking residential streets as they would wait on Jarry rather than take side streets. The same change would also be made on the street between Jean-Talon and Saint-Roch.
Moving the problem
But some residents are worried this may just move the problem to others streets like Wiseman, which offers direct access to the highway.
“The proposed traffic calming changes are a good start but we do need some more radical changes—such as reversing the direction of traffic on some blocks,” wrote Susan Keys.
“I think Wiseman is going to be a mess (the only remaining “on-ramp”) after they do this,” added Keys, adding that the street is already heavily travelled in the afternoon, putting local school children at risk.
Residents also raised other concerns about transitory traffic. “All the streets between Jean-Talon and Crémazie, from Acadie to Durocher, could benefit from street narrowings,” wrote resident Xavier Kronström Richard,” adding that cars using alleyways as shortcuts had to be addressed.
Need for bike lanes
Many citizens have also demanded a more holistic bike path network in Park Ex that is better connected to the rest of the city, but nothing in the plan includes such an expansion. Many experts have demonstrated that separated bike paths make streets safer for all.
“Bike paths are absent from the new proposals in your plan,” added Kronström Richard. “Cycling in the neighbourhood is still just as dangerous and will remain so if our bike paths are just markings on the ground,” he added.
Several residents along the south end of Querbes have demanded the inclusion of bike lanes to slow down speeding, transitory traffic. This was an electoral promise by both Ensemble Montréal and Projet Montréal during the election campaign last year.