‘A total bottleneck’: West Island residents worried about upcoming REM work

West Island residents got a chance to ask questions and voice their concerns to transit agency officials regarding the REM's rampant construction efforts. Monday October 28, 2019. Sylvain Trudeau / Global News

West Island residents are worried about the REM’s ramping construction efforts and its proposed mitigation measures.

At a meeting in Pierrefonds on Monday, people got a chance to share their concerns with officials from a range of transit agencies, such as the Réseau express métropolitain (REM), the Société de transport de Montréal (STM) and the Réseau de transport métropolitain (Exo) among others.

Officials were on hand answering questions and explaining their plans for the next steps in the REM project, including the closing of the Mont Royal tunnel in January 2020.

READ MORE: Deux-Montagnes line users plead with Legault to declare moratorium on REM work

Commuters will also be affected by plans to partially shut down the Deux-Montagnes train line, also happening in January, which means people trying to get downtown will have to find an alternative to riding the train.

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The REM is proposing a shuttle that would run on Gouin Boulevard, but Mayor Jim Beis says that’s not enough and people will be stuck in traffic.

Commuters like Martha Bond agree.

“I think it’ll be a total bottleneck,” Bond told Global News.

“I think it’ll lead to people cutting through residential neighborhoods, more accidents, dangerous for pedestrians.”

Beis believes there should be more shuttles in order to keep commuters from using their cars.

Click to play video: 'Train commuters unimpressed with REM mitigation efforts' Train commuters unimpressed with REM mitigation efforts
Train commuters unimpressed with REM mitigation efforts – Sep 11, 2019

The mayor says REM officials have only started communicating with the borough recently and there needs to be more collaboration in order to come up with the best solutions for the community.

“I’m not 100 per cent satisfied simply because it is a very challenging initiative and endeavour by a lot of the partners that are sitting around the table,” Beis said.

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“As a community we are best suited, we believe, to be able to give these types of propositions to the agencies.”

READ MORE: REM officials, transport agencies hold information session in Deux-Montagnes

Mobility Montréal spokesperson Sarah Bensadoun says the work of planning relief measures is not done.

“Certainly not and we will continue to discuss with mayors, with boroughs, because they know best their network and we need their expertise,” Bensadoun told Global News.

“We’re definitely open to suggestions and recommendations. We will definitely analyze it and if we’re able to implement, we will definitely do it.”

Bensadoun added a report will be prepared after Monday’s meeting with all the suggestions and concerns shared by residents. The report will be delivered to Quebec’s transport minister François Bonnardel.

Construction of the Sunnybrooke and Roxboro-Pierrefonds stations starts in 2021. The REM is scheduled to be completed in 2023.

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