A controversial NDG bike path that was removed after residents loudly opposed it in 2020 is coming back from the dead.
Côte-des-Neiges-NDG borough council is again planning to re-imagine Terrebonne Street to make it more bike friendly, and less welcoming to cars.
The markings haven’t yet fully faded from the last Terrebonne Street bike path battle and the fight is starting up again.
“I don’t see the need for it,” said cyclist Andrew Morrow. “I don’t see enough traffic, especially of cyclists and so on, to justify the pain it’s going to put on all the residents on Terrebonne.”
Côte-des-Neiges-NDG borough council says in summer 2024 it wants to turn Terrebonne into a one-way street, completely remove all the parking spots from one side, and create a protected bike path. For cars, Terrebonne would be one-way eastbound between Cavendish and Girouard, and one-way westbound between Cavendish and Belmore.
“I live nearby and every day I see kids and families trying to go between cars, parked cars and cars on the road. We really need to make that street safer,” said Côte-des-Neiges-NDG borough mayor Gracia Kasoki Katahwa.
This is the second attempt to re-imagine Terrebonne Street. In 2020, the borough installed protected bike lanes on both sides, eliminating hundreds of parking spots.
Opposition was fierce. Local residents had trouble dropping their kids off at the multiple schools on the street. St. Monica’s Parish was opposed.
The backlash was so strong that all councillors except then-mayor Sue Montgomery voted to remove the bike lanes.
Three years later, the borough has decided it’s time to give it another go.
“It’s a different project that we are proposing to the population,” said Katahwa.
NDG paid $150,000 for a study it recently released presenting three redevelopment options.
They say the one-way, one-parking-lane scenario will be best for all residents.
About a dozen citizens gathered at William Hurst Park on Wednesday to say they disagree. They’ve been passing flyers around the area and are preparing to launch a petition against the new configuration.
“I don’t have a driveway. I don’t have a garage. I need parking on the street,” said Valerie Keszey, who lives on Terrebonne and is one of the leaders of the protest movement.
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Marie Yvonne Kiley, who also lives on Terrebonne, said she worries for her vulnerable neighbours who get visits from nurses and other health professionals.
“This would make parking for those individuals, those nurses and home care workers very, very difficult,” Kiley said.
Local resident Adam Gordon is also concerned for vulnerable residents.
“There are a lot of people in our area who have disabilities that need to have adapted transport. They’re not going to be able to get the help they need in front of their homes,” he said.
Others, however, say better safety is worth the headaches.
“There have been a few incidents involving cyclists, pedestrians, cars on Terrebonne , so we’re looking here to make it safer,” said Association of Pedestrians and Cyclists of NDG spokesperson Jason Savard.
He said ample parking is available on streets perpendicular to Terrebonne, though that argument was not warmly received by the protesters.
Opposition councillor Sonny Moroz feels the Projet Montréal majority on borough council has not consulted the population enough.
“You can find a middle ground. That’s what municipal politics is about,” said Moroz. “It’s not about ideology and pushing infrastructure that you say is needed instead of listening to people about what they want.”
Katahwa said her administration is prepared to listen to citizen concerns and make adjustments.
“We could maybe tweak some elements of the project to make sure that most of the people at the end of the day feel comfortable with it,” she told Global News.
Citizens are invited to attend an information session on the subject on Thursday, Nov. 30 at 7 p.m. at the Centre culturel de Notre-Dame-de-Grâce on Monkland.
Both protesters and counter-protesters have pledged to be outside the meeting to make their opinions heard.