City councillor lobbies for easier access to MUHC

WATCH: A tunnel from Vendome metro to the new superhospital will soon open, but some insist there’s a smarter alternative to get there. Global’s Gloria Henriquez reports.

MONTREAL – NDG city councillor Peter McQueen wants to change the way patients access the super hospital.

The new MUHC is open for business but its official inauguration is not until June.

That’s around the same time the new tunnel connecting Vendôme metro to the Glen site will also open.

McQueen said the commute may become a problem.

“What about winter and rainy days?” he asked.

It’s about a two-minute walk between the metro and the tunnel.

After that, patients have to cross an outdoor passage.

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GALLERY: Inside the Vendome station-MUHC superhospital tunnel

McQueen thinks there’ s a better and safer way of accessing the site.

“There’s a single door, locked from the tunnel side which opens to the parking garage,” he said.

It is an emergency exit door.

From the parking garage, a pedestrian walkway with a ramp leads directly to both the entrance of the Montreal General Hospital‘s emergency and to the Montreal Children’s Hospital.

“There’s eight elevators here as opposed to one elevator at the dead end of the tunnel,” said McQueen.

The MUCH told Global News there are no plans to change the exit.

“We’re talking about a large volume of people, it would interrupt the flow of traffic in the car park,” said Ian Popple, with MUHC Public Relations.

“At the moment, there are no plans to change that from an emergency exit. We have the elevators already installed inside and this is a temporary measure until we have the second exit that the government has already budgeted for.”

The second exit will be a tunnel for people with reduced mobility – but it’s not slated to open anytime soon.

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For now, people with reduced mobility can use the 77 bus, which leads directly to the hospital.

READ MORE: Is #77 bus a good alternative to access MUHC?

Some community groups are also worried about forcing possible patients and families to walk outside.

“This is an open site and in the winter it’s going to be very tough,” said Maureen Kelly, co-president of the Westmount Municipal Association.

“It’s not just the elderly for whom this is a long and difficult walk,” said Lisa Bornstein, an Urban Planning professor at McGill University.

“It’s not just those who are feeling ill, it’s also families who come with strollers.”

McQueen has brought the issue to the attention of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce MNA Kathleen Weil.

Her staff told Global News they are working on the file and will make an announcement in the coming weeks.

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