Multiple construction projects hamper the mobility of residents
Getting in, around and out of Parc-Extension is considered by many locals and non-residents to be a daunting task. The combination of few entry and exit points, narrow streets and high population density make vehicle circulation slow and parking difficult.
But many residents may have found recent weeks even worse with the advent of multiple major construction projects in the area, including both city waterway and Hydro-Québec rehabilitation works.
This has caused major traffic detours across the neighbourhood and has made parking inaccessible to many residents on affected streets. The neighbourhood has long been seen as an enclave blocked from the rest of the city by many physical barriers, with construction projects only contributing further.
The largest project in the area at the moment is that of the aqueduct rehabilitation works on de L’Acadie Boulevard between Saint-Roch and Crémazie. Lasting from Sept. 2 to Sept 29, the project has shut down one lane of the street and blocked westward entrances on both Saint-Roch and Ball, forcing motorists up Birman and onto Jarry. Thru traffic has increased and rush hour traffic jams have gotten worse.
There are also projects currently underway to replace lead water pipes on Bloomfield Ave. between Liège and Crémazie and on d’Outremont Ave. between Ogilvy and Saint-Roch, finishing on Sept. 27 and Sept. 20 respectively.
Durocher Ave. between Ball and Saint-Roch is also undergoing work on sewer and aqueduct networks and is set to wrap up in November.
These city projects also came at the same time as multiple Hydro-Québec projects over the month of September. This includes the construction of the Beaumont-Fleury underground electricity transmission line which has blocked Querbes since Sept. 1 and is set to continue until December.
Discontent among citizens
Many residents on streets affected by construction and those nearby have taken to social media to voice their discontent at the projects happening all at the same time. Many say that parking has become close to impossible on many streets and that traffic has become worse due to the partial closure of de L’Acadie.
Lee Soo is a Parc-Ex resident who recently voiced her discontent about the construction and its safety implementation on the community Facebook group Parc-Ex Action Squad. “I understand that the work is necessary but the security measures leave a lot to be desired,” she wrote.
Soo added that the measures taken to secure the work area were not sufficient and that the pathway around construction was far too narrow and ill-protected. “There are lots of children and seniors walking on these sidewalks,” she added.
“With the street completely closed and the two laneway entrances inaccessible, will this really be our traffic corridor until Christmas?” she deplored.
Although conscious of the inconveniences these projects cause to citizens, the city said the rehabilitation works in Parc-Extension were necessary and needed to be done in a coordinated manner.
“The City of Montreal is carrying out this work out of necessity,” said city spokesperson Hugo Bourgoin, adding that it “must keep its assets in good condition to avoid having to carry out uncoordinated, emergency work which would inevitably cost more.”
“This work is coordinated, as there is no concentration of sites in a small area,” said Bourgoin when asked why the projects were happening at the same time. He specified that nearly all of them would be wrapping up by the end of September. He added that the city had put “all the measures in place to communicate information about construction sites as effectively as possible to citizens.”
The city added it had identified around fifty mobility axes on its territory to limit public works and obstacles, including Parc ave. between Van Horne and Jean-Talon, on rue Crémazie between de L’Acadie and Viau and on Saint-Laurent boulevard between Viger and highway 40.
It is important to note that the underground infrastructure projects currently taking place in Parc-Extension are not being conducted at the borough level of Villeray-Saint-Michel-Parc-Extension, but rather is a responsibility of the city center.
“Right now, on almost every street they’ve got us going in circles,” complained Parc-Extension city councillor Mary Deros, deploring the lack of logistical planning to make this necessary construction work less invasive.
“People in Parc-Ex are complaining we have no parking. With all this work being done there’s not one street but several major streets where people cannot park,” she added.
“Whoever thought of these great ways of moving vehicles, they disadvantaged Parc-Ex,” she concluded.
Residents can consult the locations and schedules of all ongoing construction projects on both the City of Montreal’s and Hydro-Québec’s websites.