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Consultations begin on pilot project to close Mount Royal to through traffic

The closure of Camillien-Houde would start around here and extend to Mount Royal Cemetery. Billy Shields/Global News

Montrealers are voicing their concerns over plans to close Camillien-Houde Way to private cars as public consultations began Thursday night at the Bonaventure Hotel.

“The motivation for really getting this started was the tragic death of a cyclist,” Alex Zijdenbos said, referring to the death of cyclist Clément Ouimet.

“Nothing in this plan changes that scenario.”

Ouimet died in October after being struck by a car that made an illegal U-turn about halfway down the mountain toward Mount Royal Avenue.

A pilot project slated to start June 2 would close Camillien-Houde Way from a belvedere to Mount Royal Cemetery.

READ MORE: Cyclists and cemeteries ignored in Mount Royal pilot project, opposition says

Zijdenbos, who is a cyclist that commutes by both car and bike over the mountain, shared a concern many opponents of the project have voiced — that the decision was already made.

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“We have a road that is going to be closed. And so we have a fait accompli that is over and done with,” he said.

Heritage Montreal spokesperson Dinu Bumbaru was also at the consultation.

The organization has been calling for reduced traffic on the mountain for years, but cautions against the potential blowback that full closure could cause in the future.

“It has to be very carefully attended,” he said.

“Imagine if we create a disaster,” he said. “That would put us back 25 years.”

The next consultation is slated for May 15.

The pilot project is slated to last until Oct. 31, after which the city will reassess whether it was effective.

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