Verdun to hold public meeting over controversial bike path pilot project

Verdun Bike path pilot project comes to a close
WATCH: Verdun borough officials say their bike path pilot project on Verdun Avenue was a success and yeilede positive results. But as Global’s Brayden Jagger Haines reports, many merchants on the avenue feel their businesses have suffered.

After its first six months, Verdun borough mayor Jean-François Parenteau says the Verdun Avenue bike path pilot project is a success.

Parenteau says the borough has seen an increase in cycling traffic since the installation of the three-kilometre cycling highway.

But for merchants on Verdun Avenue, it’s a different story.

Angry Monkey gym owner Justin Etheridge says he sees a correlation between the bike path and the loss in business.

“We took a hit, most businesses on this street took a hit,” Etheridge said.

He has noticed a drop in renewals, he says, and a lot of people that drive to his gym have a difficult time finding parking.

“They get fed up and membership ends and then that’s that.”

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The removal of 275 parking spots along the avenue is what most businesses point to for the loss of revenue.

READ MORE: Verdun Street merchants threaten legal fight over bike path pilot project

While Parenteau says he understands the troubles merchants are going through, he says he sees promise in the project.

“For me it was a success.”

Cyclist Michel Legault says the bike path is ideal for commuting from the borough to downtown.

“I use it every day.”

Recording the traffic on the street, the borough claims the new cycling highway saw up to 1,000 riders daily during the summer.

Something business owners like Etheridge deny.

“A thousand bikes a day on Verdun Avenue — that is as untrue as it can be,” he said. “On the best day, it’s about half.”

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The borough has made adjustments throughout the summer to the pilot project.

Additional parking was put in place on side streets to accommodate the loss of street space.

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Parenteau says he hopes to discuss more with the merchants and residents about other possibilities to ease the transition of the bike path.

A public meeting will be held by the borough on Nov. 28, when Parenteau says all parties will be able to voice their opinion on the matter.

The bike path is set to return for its second season in May 2020.