Ville de Montréal plans to set up a cycling path on de Chambly/16ème avenue, between Rachel and Saint-Zotique.

Some citizens consider this cycling path to be unsafe, for cyclists, motorists and pedestrians. They wanted, therefore, that an external firm conducts an expertise on the safety of this cycling path project. They also complained that Arrondissement de Rosemont – La Petite-Patrie had not held public consultations on the matter and also, that it had not requested an impact study.

Firstly, one should keep in mind that a public consultation is not a process where citizens make the final decision: it is rather an occasion for the City to provide citizens with transparent information on a project and for the citizens to express their opinion, fears and apprehensions. Except in rare cases where the law requires a referendum (such as zoning changes or the taking out of a loan by a borough), the final decision remains with the City managers and/or elected officials.

Following our intervention, the borough organized an information and discussion meeting where citizens had the opportunity to express their point of view, ask questions and explain their fears to City representatives, with regard to this project.

On the safety aspect, our investigation confirmed that the concerned borough and departments had taken numerous steps to ensure the safety of this path for cyclists, motorists and pedestrians. Rigorous analysis, field visits and many simulations have been done and teams of engineers, technicians specialized in traffic and police officers have looked into the project.

All of the representatives with whom we spoke confirmed that the safety of the project was a priority.

Moreover, if this cycling path is indeed set up, extra traffic lights will be added at the Rosemont and Saint-Joseph junctions; the City will add countdown lights for pedestrians and lights for cyclists, between Saint-Zotique and Rachel, and these lights will be deliberately unsynchronized, so as to slow down traffic. The signs and markings of the roadway at intersections will be more intense, between Saint-Zotique and Rachel; and parking prohibitions will be implemented before the street corners, in order to ensure a better view.

In light of the above, the Ombudsman could not conclude that the City had acted in an unreasonable or negligent manner in the management of this project or that the project was unsafe. We explained all of the aforementioned to the citizens before ending our investigation.

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