As the new bike path in Montreal’s Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (NDG) neighbourhood was in the midst of being expanded westward on Tuesday, the movement against it reached its peak.
The installation of the bike path on Terrebonne Street began in mid-July after the NDG city council voted to put it in temporarily during the pandemic, resulting in the disappearance of more than 250 parking spots.
The path did, however, garner criticism for the inconvenience it has on motorists. A handful of the bike path’s critics assembled at a press conference in front of St. Monica’s Parish on Tuesday.
Among them was pastor Raymond Lafontaine.
“Imagine the difficulty with a funeral, with the hearse having no place to stop to take a coffin out,” Lafontaine said. “Same thing for weddings, for celebrations and baptisms.”
After listening to citizens’ complaints, including a 2,000 signature petition, borough councillors Lionel Perez and Marvin Rotrand prepared a motion they plan to present at council Sept. 8.
Local cyclist Mark Cassin told Global News he believes a street as quiet as Terrebonne Street doesn’t require a dedicated bike lane. “It was safe enough before the bike path,” he said.
However for Blanche Rousseau, another local cyclist, the lane is welcomed. “I feel safer with the bike path.”
Rotrand said they will ask for the lane to be dismantled as of Sept. 9.
“We’ve been here almost two hours (and) there have been eight cyclists,” said Perez at Tuesday’s press conference.
Borough Mayor Sue Montgomery however wants to keep the path in place until the fall while studying its impact on the area.
“I want to find out how to meet everyone’s needs and find a compromise,” Montgomery told Global News.
A majority of the six NDG councillors need to be in favour of the removal of the lane for the motion to pass.
Councillors Christian Arsenault says he and two other councillors will vote in favour of the dismantling of the path along with Rotrand and Perez, giving them a majority vote.
“This was this was a collective failure of communication and we commit to doing better next time,” said Arsenault.