Service des infrastructures, de la voirie et des transports and Arrondissement du Plateau-Mont-Royal

The sidewalk bordering the De Brébeuf bicycle path, alongside Parc Laurier, used to be 1.6 metre-wide: in 2015, its width is reduced to 0.7 metre.

Two advocacy groups (Regroupement des aveugles et amblyopes du Montréal Métropolitain (RAAMM) and Regroupement des activistes pour l’inclusion au Québec (RAPLIQ)) seek the OdM intervention: they claim that the new design is not universally accessible nor safe.

This investigation proves to be a lengthy one.

♦  This redesign of this sidewalk occurred as part of a project aimed at making the bicyle path safer.

♦  The original concept called for a wider bicycle path and the addition of a divider between the path and the street: to that end, some parking spaces were to be removed. The old sidewalk was to be left intact.

♦  Before these works start, some elected officials insist that all parking spaces be maintained: the concept is, therefore, reviewed. The new design will encroach on the sidewalk rather than on the parking spaces: the 1.6-metre sidewalk becomes a 0.7-metre asphalt strip.

♦  This new strip is clearly not universally accessible. It does not live up to the commitments set out in the Politique municipale d’accessibilité universelle and in the Montréal Charter of Rights and Responsibilities.

♦  This result is even more problematic since this sidewalk leads to a swimming pool which was redeveloped at great cost by the City, so as to make it accessible to people with reduced mobility (Sir-Wilfrid- Laurier pool, in Parc Laurier).

♦  Moreover, the new design does not meet the City’s usual standards for sidewalks (minimum width of 1.5 metres – generally 1.7 metres) or borders (generally 0.2 metre).

♦  During our visits, we note that many pedestrians walk on this narrow strip as if it were a sidewalk, including parents with strollers and children as well. These pedestrians get very close to cyclists who often move at a good speed. The situation raises safety concerns.

♦  The Service des infrastructures, de la voirie et des transports is in agreement with our comments. Its Direction des transports works out various scenarios to improve the situation and conveys them to the Borough. We discuss the various options all together.

♦  In 2018, the City confirms that the strip will be widened, on the street side. The new sidewalk will be universally accessible again and safer for all users; it will also comply with the usual development standards. The redesign will have no adverse impact on Parc Laurier’s vegetation.

♦  In view of the long delays since the launch of this investigation, the OdM stresses the importance of doing this work as fast as possible. Some prior steps are necessary (finalizing the Plans and Specifications; launching a Call for Tenders and awarding the contract). The City expects an implementation in 2019. The OdM will follow up.



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