November 7, 2018 11:44 pm

Rivière-des-Prairies residents upset about new reserved bus lane

A bus runs along Maurice-Duplessis Boulevard in Rivière-des-Prairies, on Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018.

Sylvain Trudeau / Global News
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People were furious against the STM and took turns to grill the transit agency about their new reserved bus lane running along Maurice-Duplessis Boulevard.

At an information session with the transit agency and borough officials Wednesday evening, residents asked multiple questions about the project.

People wanted to know if officials had taken all factors into consideration and how the study was made, because to some, the project didn’t make sense as it stood.

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With the lane, parking is now restricted to certain hours and people complain they have to move their cars constantly.

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“With us moving the car three times a day now, it’s ridiculous,” Cathy Manna said. “I’m going crazy.”

Manna says they are even getting parking tickets when they shouldn’t.

“I got a $62 ticket, but I’m allowed parking in front of my place. It’s on Maurice-Duplessis, right at the corner of André Dumas and they removed the bus lane because it is a handicap zone,” Manna explained.

At first, the borough had approved the project unanimously. “We can’t go against virtue,” said Suzanne Décarie, Rivière-des-Prairies’ interim mayor.

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But as more and more residents complained, the borough asked the transit agency to go back to the drawing board.

“We asked the STM to provide us with a second and larger study concerning the impact on parking,” Décarie explained.

As the STM presented residents with the results, people grew more and more upset.

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At least one person was there to support the project.

“I think it’s a start,” Andrea Gagliano said. “Do we need more? Absolutely. That’s just the reality.”

Gagliano explained he is sympathetic towards those who are deprived of parking but argues the area is in desperate need of transit options.

While some people suggested the lane should only run in the sections where there is more traffic and need, others wished it was gone altogether.

The mayor says the borough will take all comments into consideration and tweak the project as needed. But the reserved lane is here to stay.

“We don’t want to penalize citizens but we want to encourage active transportation,” Décarie explained.

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