February 18, 2014 5:00 pm
Updated: February 18, 2014 8:46 pm

Traffic in the West Island getting out of hand

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WEST-ISLAND – As Montreal drivers know all too well, trying to avoid rush hour traffic can be hopeless.

On the west island, where real estate developers are building homes, a population boom in recent years is clogging local roads.

Drivers don’t get anywhere very far very fast during rush hour in the West Island.

Three main roads linking the northern part of the suburban area back up with traffic for as far as the eye can see.

It’s been like this for years, and it’s getting worse.

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“It’s a battle every morning,” said Ed Janiszewski, Mayor of DDO.

He points out while commercial and residential development has been booming the road networks are falling behind.

“There is no room for expansion and that’s the problem.”

Three main north south routes – Sources, St-John’s and St-Charles boulevards – were built years ago and have hardly changed.

Discussions between West Island mayors and the City of Montreal are on going to build new road networks.

One is an extension of Jacques Bizard boulevard, but that would cut through an existing residential neighbourhood.

“There are plans in the offering,” said Janiszewski.

“They’ve just come out last week. hopefully they’ll be finalized and something will be done.”

One of the fastest growing areas is Pierrefonds.

“We have an approximate five to six thousand homes that will be developed in the next five to ten years in that area,” said Dimitrios Jim Beis, the Mayor of Pierrefonds-Roxboro.

Land to build a new north-south urban boulevard west of St-Charles between Gouin and the 40 is ready for development but the funding needs to come from the Quebec government.

“We’ll only see in the near future if it’s still going to be on the priority list but it is something that is needed in Pierrefonds,” said Beis.

The construction boom in the West Island was triggered decades ago by companies wanting new space to grow.

“One of the trends were seeing quite a bit is a lot of large corporation moving their offices from downtown to the suburbs,” said William Jegher, of Ernst and Young Real Estate.

“That’s probably spurred a lot of the developed as well.”

However, the infrastructure hasn’t kept up with the community’s needs.

“The congestion of an hour, an hour 45 minutes just to move one or two kilometers is going to start taking people and moving businesses to other areas,” said Joseph Huza of the West Island Chamber of Commerce.

It hasn’t come to that yet but the fear is real that the area will become a less desirable place to live or set up shop unless the green light is given to pave the way for a new road network.

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