Thursday, May 22, 2008

Plateau Mont-Royal holding talks on controlling cars

The Plateau Mont Royal burrough of Montreal is planning talks with citizens on ways to restrict the use of cars and promote walking, bicycling and public transport.

Can you feel the earth shake?

Lower car speed limits, greater use of bike paths and bike lanes, and bigger fines for bicyclists and pedestrians who ride contrary to the traffic regulations. Every one is responsible to make some changes in their behaviour. We'll see how that goes, since the Plateau has some of the most dim-witted pedestrians and bicyclists in the world! (Thank god they don't also have cars!)

So, if everybody (cars, bikes, and pedestrians) gives a little bit, then everyone can have a higher quality of life. Stay tuned...

One good initative is to double the number of bike racks... by 2018! We can see that the city agile bureaucracy moves as fast as usual!

While on the subject of the Plateau, here's a Montreal Mirror article on the improvements for bike parking THIS YEAR.

Here's the Gazette article on this news:

Give peace a chance, Plateau residents say
Seeking relief from vehicles for pedestrians, cyclists, public-transit users and residents

MICHELLE LALONDE, The Gazette

Plateau Mont Royal is not so much declaring war on cars as it is seeking a little peace for pedestrians, bicyclists, public-transit users and residents, borough officials said yesterday,

In a detailed report on the Plateau's traffic problems published last February, local officials said there were simply too many cars going too fast through the streets of the borough - Canada's most densely populated neighbourhood.

About 250 cyclists and pedestrians are injured in the borough each year in collisions with moving vehicles.

Air pollution and traffic are also eroding the quality of life in an area where less than half of residents own cars themselves, the report said.

So after months of public meetings, the borough yesterday put forward 50 recommendations in a draft urban mobility plan.

The idea is designed to slow and reduce vehicular traffic, improve public transit and encourage residents and visitors to use taxis, join a car-sharing group, ride bicycles or walk as much as possible.

"Hundreds of people have come to meetings to tell us they want a reduction in vehicular traffic and a better balance between the various methods of mobility," Plateau mayor Helen Fotopulos said yesterday, before a public meeting last night where the draft plan was presented to the borough's standing committee on traffic issues.

The objectives of the plan are to reduce automobile traffic in the borough by about 20 per cent, increase public transit use by about seven per cent, increase use of "active modes of transit" like walking and biking by almost 14 per cent - all by 2018.

Proposals include:
  • - Making parts of some streets car-free, at least part of the time (the report suggests mentions Mount Royal Ave., Gilford St., Gauthier St., Milton St. and Guilbault St. as candidates for pilot projects).
  • - Improve the bicycle path network to the point where bikes paths or routes are no more than one kilometre apart.
  • - Eliminate the illegal, but common, practice of parking less than five metres from intersections.
  • - Increase by 50 per cent the number of taxi stands by 2018.
  • - Double the amount of bike parking available by 2018.
Public hearings on the draft document are scheduled for June 9, 10, 11 and 12 at 7 p.m. at 480 Gilford. The hearings are being conducted by the borough's standing committee on traffic issues, a panel of 10 Plateau residents with expertise in urban transportation issues.

That committee will report to the borough council in September with recommendations for improvements to the draft and a final plan is to be adopted by the council in December.

To read the draft, available in French only, under the title Plan de d├ęplacement urbain du Plateau-Mont-Royal, go to www.ville.montreal.qc.ca/plateau/pdu

To contact the Gazette writer of this article: mlalonde@thegazette.canwest.com

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