Proposed bike paths dividing opinion in Parc-Extension, borough determined to push ahead

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Proposed bike paths dividing opinion in Parc-Extension, borough determined to push ahead
WATCH: Montreal’s Parc-Extension neighbourhood doesn’t have as many bicycle paths as other parts of the city. The borough is determined to correct that situation. But as Global’s Phil Carpenter reports, some people don’t want to lose parking spaces and are fighting the move. – Jul 10, 2023

Residents of Parc-Extension have launched two competing petitions over plans by the city to install bike lanes in the area.

Lanes in opposite directions already exist on Querbes Avenue but it’s dangerous, say users like Rachel Shugart, who says she knows of cyclists who’ve had close calls. The unprotected paths exist between parked cars and traffic.

“You run the risk of being doored, or cars being parked in front of you, of people stopping suddenly,” she explained.

So the city wants to move the bike path between the sidewalk and the parked cars, install bollards to protect cyclists and eliminate parking on one side.  Elected officials also wants to install similar protected bike lanes on Ogilvy and Ball avenues and remove parking on one side of Ball but on both sides of Ogilvy.

“We have no secure bike lanes in Parc-Ex at all, and no way to get out of Parc-Ex securely,” Shugart noted.

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Those opposed to the city’s plan say they have no problem with the city wanting to put in bike lanes, but with the way the plan is being carried out.

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“The main problem,” according to Sia Spanoudakis  whose parents live on Querbes, “is the lack of public consultation, the lack pf transparency, the lack of general information.”

According to her, when details of the plan were presented to the community it was too late to make changes.  For her, one of the problems is the 260 parking spots that will be lost and how she fears it will affect seniors, most of whom aren’t mobile but use services which require the use of cars, including her parents.

“For my parents specifically they’re losing their handicap parking spot that was accorded to them just last year in front of their home,” she pointed out.

Others, like opposition city councillor Mary Deros, point to caregivers and community service workers who cater to elderly clients in the area, need a car and will now have very limited places to park.  She also notes that buses and delivery trucks often use Ogilvy.

“You’re going to mix that with bikers as well as pedestrians,” she said.

It’s unsafe, in her view.  She wonders if other streets could be used instead.

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“I have not seen a study that was made to help the administration make the decision that they have,” she told Global News.

In a statement, borough mayor for Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc-Extension Laurence Lavigne Lalonde points out, “The Parc-Extension district suffers from a glaring lack of cycling infrastructure, the citizens of the sector deserve to have mobility options and to be able to travel by bike, on foot and by car safely.”

She wrote that the city will make changes if necessary.

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