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Coronavirus: Sud-Ouest borough takes new measure to increase social distancing at Lachine Canal

Montreal’s south-west borough closes pedestrian bridge to encourage physical distancing
WATCH: A narrow pedestrian bridge near the Atwater Market has been closed to pedestrians in an attempt to encourage social distancing. As Global's Kwabena Oduro explains, cyclists and pedestrians will now have to use the much wider Charlevoix bridge, which is now closed off to cars.

Every day, Premier Legault reminds Quebecers of the importance of practicing social distancing.

“Its a question of respect,” Legault said. “The vast majority of Quebecers respect the directives we’ve asked them to follow, so please, the minority not respecting that may have very bad impact on the numbers of death.

“It’s serious.”

READ MORE: Quebec cases climb to 8,580 with 27 more deaths

And that’s why the southwest borough has re-organized traffic near the Lachine Canal in Atwater Village. The move comes after the Atwater pedestrian bridge was inundated by pedestrians last Saturday.

The large crowds on the narrow bridge made physical distancing impossible, so the borough swung into action

“We had to close the Atwater pedestrian walkway bridge right beside the market because social distancing is just not possible on that bridge,” said Craig Sauvé, city councillor of Saint-Henri.

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Now the Charlevoix is the new temporary pedestrian bridge.

“There the sidewalks are very narrow so they didn’t have a change using social distancing as well. For reasons of security and to respect the orders that were given by the government, we closed the Charlevoix bridge to cars and motorist as a temporary measure” Sauve told Global News.

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Motorists, meanwhile, can use alternative routes to get around.

“The Atwater tunnel is still an option, the Des Seigneurs bridge so there are many options for motorists. It might just take more time,” said Sauvé.

READ MORE: Brunswick Medical Centre in Pointe-Claire, Que., asking for homemade mask donations

The Association for Active Mobility of the Lachine Canal supports the decision by the borough

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“The fact that they closed Charlevoix bridge … allows pedestrians and cyclists to go to the other side of the canal, so we are very happy with that decision,” said spokesperson Camille Girard.

“We think it’s a very wise choice.”

The Charlevoix Bridge will remain closed to motorist until further notice, so that pedestrians and cyclist can enjoy going for walks and bike rides while practicing safe social distancing.