With plans to expand Montreal’s bike path network, city drivers say they feel like their needs aren’t being addressed by Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante’s administration.
They point to the city’s pro-cycling stance, as well as the reduced number of parking spots in some Montreal boroughs and increased fees, for why they feel like they’ve been pushed to the roadside.
“We really would like to have people use public transit more, but the way to do that is improving it,” argued Montreal city councillor Marvin Rotrand.
“[It’s] not by making driving impossible and taking away parking and punishing people for the sin of owning a car.”
In the borough of Verdun, 275 parking spots were removed on one side of a three-kilometre stretch of Verdun Street to make room for a new bike path pilot project.
A growing number of merchants in the area have already spoken out, threatening legal action and accusing the borough of a lack of transparency and consultation to discuss the possible negative impacts it could have on their businesses.
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“Cycling path is such a great way to see the city,” insisted Plante.
“A street belongs to everybody — car drivers, truck drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. We need to cohabitate better.”
In Côte-Des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, council is soon expected to vote on the expansion of bike lanes on five major streets in the borough.
“By putting bike lanes everywhere, suddenly magically, cyclists will take over in the City of Montreal?” asks Rotrand.
“Everyone will convert our of their cars and become a cyclist?”
He argues adding bike paths will only increase road traffic and take away valuable parking spots in the area.
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In Outremont, Mayor Philipe Tomlinson says he hopes to completely eliminate free parking in favour of paid parking permits that can be purchased on a daily, monthly or annual basis.
He argued that Outremont is well-served by the city’s public transit services and enforcing stricter parking regulations would encourage people to ditch their cars.
Plante announced plans for the city’s extensive bike path network in May.
The goal of the project is to have more than 15 per cent of commuting in Montreal done by bike in the next 10 years.
— With files from Global News’ Brayden Jagger Haines