A new bike path configuration on Atwater Avenue between René-Lévesque Boulevard and Saint-Antoine Street is causing concern for people commuting between the Sud-Ouest borough and downtown Montreal.
“It seems odd that we have a narrow sidewalk with both bikes and pedestrians on the same walk,” said Mathieu Nassif, as he headed to school Tuesday morning.
New paint on the sidewalk on both the northbound and southbound sides indicates that both cyclists and pedestrians are permitted to use it.
“It’s very, very dangerous,” said Debbie Kellar, after climbing the hill on her motorized wheelchair.
The southbound side of Atwater Avenue is of particular concern, because cyclists going down the steep hill can gain speed quickly.
“On Atwater, you’re going like 50 kilometers per hour in your descent, so you don’t want to be on the sidewalk,” said cyclist Anne Grignon.
“You want to be able to move in case there’s a hole or a crack or someone walking.”
The opposition at city hall is calling the new configuration irresponsible.
“If you invite cyclists to take the sidewalk where pedestrians are walking up on a steep decline, you’re going to cause problems,” said Projet Montréal city councillor Craig Sauvé.
The city says the new design is part of its strategy to make underpasses safer for cyclists.
The same thing has been done at other problem spots.
Officials say there is no room for a dedicated bike lane on Atwater Avenue — but Sauvé disagrees.
“There’s three lanes of traffic,” said the Sud-Ouest councillor.
“We can use at least half a lane and secure a place for cyclists.”
The city wants cyclists to give pedestrians priority on Atwater Avenue, and are encouraging everyone to act courteously while sharing the sidewalk.