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Drastic changes to Notre-Dame Street have Sud-Ouest merchants seeing red

Click to play video 'Drastic changes to Notre-Dame Street have Sud-Ouest merchants seeing red' Drastic changes to Notre-Dame Street have Sud-Ouest merchants seeing red
WATCH: As of Tuesday, Montreal's popular two-way Notre-Dame Street West was reduced to one lane only allowing traffic to flow in a westbound direction. As Global's Brayden Jagger Haines reports, several business owners in the area are worried.

Several business owners in the Sub-Ouest borough are seeing red over the partial closure of Notre-Dame Street West.

As of Tuesday, the popular two-way street was reduced to one lane only allowing traffic to flow in a westbound direction.

Eastbound traffic has been redirected to make way for two pedestrian lanes on either side of the street at the cost of several street parking spots.

The new configuration, which stretches from Vinet to Workman, will be in place for eight weeks, according to the city.

Read more: Montreal turns stretch of Crescent into pedestrian-only street amid coronavirus pandemic

Merchants like Beige store owner Michael Stratulak said the move was “done out of the blue” and without consultation.

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“A lot of us are in shock.”

Stratulak says the loss of parking outside his high-end furniture store will drastically affect his and other businesses on the street.

Calling the area a destination location, he says the added traffic headaches will cause people to second guess coming to the borough.

“It was an arbitrary decision and now we are left to deal with the fallout and hope it works” Stratulak said.

Borough councillor Craig Sauvé, on the other hand, said the change is “going to breathe life into the street.”

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Sauvé says businesses were made aware of the decision in May and it was approved by La Société de Développement Commercial (SDC).

The goal of the project is to bring people to the street, Sauvé said.

Reducing the price for a terrace permit will allow businesses to use the space to their advantage, according to Sauvé.

He said 20 permits have already been sold since Tuesday.

He says it’s still early and is asking for merchants to be patient.

“Imagine all of the terraces out. I think we will have a whole different viewpoint.”

Read more: Coronavirus — Verdun to launch pilot project closing off parts of Wellington Street to traffic

Burgundy Lion Pub daytime manager Robert Gouldson said the establishment is “rolling with the punches.”

Opening up the terrace will be beneficial for the eatery during the coronavirus pandemic with the majority of people not wanting to eat inside, according to Gouldson.

“We will be gaining a lot of tables and with everything going on right now, that is not bad,” Gouldson said.

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Stratulak says that while restaurants will benefit by expanding their terraces into the street, his furniture store will not be able to use the new available space.

“I can’t put furniture out in the rain,” he said.

Read more: Montreal looks to revive downtown area struck by COVID-19 woes with $400K investment

Sauvé says the borough will be monitoring the situation and will continue to have open dialogue with business owners to make adjustments if needed.