A group of Montreal North businesses is asking borough council to take another look at a planned bike path along Industriel Boulevard.
It’s part of a beautification project that will include new sidewalks and more greenery to the mainly commercial district. But business owners say a bike lane in the middle of an industrial area just doesn’t make any sense.
“We have transport vans — 54, 55-foot vans that regularly come in off of these streets bringing primary products and finished products,” Franco Cappadoro, president of the Regroupement des industriels de Montréal-Nord, said. “Without this artery we have no other option.”
Adding a bike lane will make the street narrower. The business group says that would lead to more congestion on an already crowded street, because large transport trucks wouldn’t have enough space to turn.
“The truck would have to go right into the other lane, which would be the bike path in order for the truck to be able to make a turn,” Cappadoro explained.
That, he claims, would be bad for business, because if trucks can’t get in to make deliveries they fear businesses will have to close.
“We were planning to bring in 23 jobs in July of 2019, and that has been placed on hold because of a major artery being blocked for transportation,” Dominic Zappavigna, the owner of Dolce Bianca where pillows and duvets are made, told Global News.
On Monday night, Regroupement des industriels de Montréal-Nord members asked the borough council to look for other solutions.
“We’re just asking simply delay this project otherwise it’ll be a disaster,” Cappadoro said.
But proponents like Velo Quebec say the bike path is needed because there are few options for cyclists in the area.
“That’s because when you look at the street grid for Montreal North you will see that the only way you can go efficiently from east to west is through Industriel Boulevard,” Magali Bebronne, Vélo Québec project manager, said.
She points out that it’s the only direct route east to west in the area and that the street can to accommodate a bike path because it’s so wide that drivers currently are able to drive two abreast in each direction.
She adds that making the street narrower will force drivers to slow down, making it safer for everybody.
Construction of the bike path isn’t expected to start until next spring.
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