Almost every day I need and use public transportation because I don’t own a car. But especially when I’m on my bike, I enjoy combining my daily routine with a bit of exploration. These jaunts cover all the southwestern neighbourhoods from Lasalle to the Old Port or from the Verdun Auditorium to NDG’s Giouard Park and beyond.
Leaving the bike at home (I live south of the aquaduct), for the past several months in the morning I’ve given myself a lead time of more than an hour just to get to Sherbrooke and Atwater streets by 7 AM. Although I find that lead time excessive, it doesn’t begin to compare with the long transit times required whem I worked on the West Island. Then I started heading east on the 112 bus in Lasalle to hit Jolicoeur Station. Then I switched Metro lines from the green to the orange line north at Lionel Groulx. About 40 minutes after starting out, I was heading west via a bus from its Cote Vertu terminus. (On this trajectory, I often got off a bus in Pointe Claire or farther west right next to the same stranger I got on the 112 with in the Bronx. I am saying that the ‘detour’ is nothing particularly special — despite being totally circuitous!
It is absolutely normal and banal to start out in Lasalle and ride a bus to the green line and switch at Lionel Groulx to get to the West Island (especially to go to the PET airport on the new shuttle service). On top of the east-west detour, it is even faster (though still slow) to go all the way north on the orange line for an express bus west starting from Cote Vertu.
These express busses to the West Island are nowhere near Lasalle OR Verdun OR the Pointe OR St-Henri even.
Here, today, on Walking Turcot Yards I am not complaining about the existing transit network.
But what I do want to complain about is the Turcot Plan.
What I AM complaining about IS THAT the plan the AMT published for dropping the Turcot Interchange (on the heads of my brothers and sisters in St-Henri) does not lay out exactly what its impact will be on people like me. I want to know the plan’s impact for local travel — whether I am on my bike or taking one or the other of the following bus lines: Bus 36 from Monk Station to reach Guy & Notre Dame streets; Bus 37 from Jolicoeur Station to the corner of Angers and de l’Eglise (to reach Cabot on foot); or the Bus 178 to go along Laurendeau and St Remi.
POPIR and the residents of western St-Henri have to prioritize their health and safety. That is why they are in the leadership to oppose the Turcot Slam-Dunk-Drop-It Plan that threatens them. Since I cannot speak for them, I just want to know now how I am going to get around the/my territory.
It really doesn’t matter that The Plan assures transit from one Metro Station to another. Daily life routines are much, much more complex. If you want to go swimming at Gadbois or at the Nat or Aquadome you are simply not looking for shuttle service from one Metro station to the next. Need I add more?
Although my daily routine (ma vie quotidienne) takes me to some ‘unremarkable’ spots here in the southwest, I think I retain the intellectual capacity to understand an urban plan more globally (despite all the green wash that obscures the picture on its interactive web page). So far I read it to mean that I am screwed for a few years with no assurance that thereafter it will even start to get the tiniest bit better. Globally I think the prognosis for Montrealers quality of life is even worse.
You bring up a good question about how the project can affect people traveling in the South West and in communities like Verdun, NDG, and Lasalle who could have their daily rides impeded in some way.
There is going to be huge amounts of truck traffic going in and out of Turcot that will impact traffic that isn’t going anywhere near the Turcot freeways, and that is just the simple logistical fallout of massive projects. The side effects will be businesses losing business in some areas as people start avoiding the traffic situations. Of course, that has become standard in Montreal for just something as simple as putting in new pipes along a commercial street.
The trucks going in and out of Turcot will cause more traffic issues as THEY try to find easier routes in and out. Or the drivers will just sit there letting the taxpayer meter run, pollution and noise in Saint Henri, for example, becoming particularly intense during the construction period, not good news for the elderly and children.
The Superhospital being built up on the old Glen Yards site is going to be a nightmare for NDG and Westmount. Traffic is already at a peak there and it will leak onto residential streets that have not known heavy traffic before.
By the way, I am a staunch believer that the “Superhospital” concept is an enormously destructive way of “centering” health care in Montreal. Never, ever put all your eggs in one basket. Just ask your financial adviser (wink).
The Angrignon “Interchange” is going to be particularly jammed as it is also an entrance to Turcot and drivers will be avoiding, but what alternative routes will they take? Ville Lasalle could become a driver’s hell.
Same situation at Montreal West.
Cote Saint Paul will be seeing a lot of truck traffic increase and that will back things up so that it’s even slower for people from Verdun wanting to access the freeways. If trucks are going to enter Cote Saint Paul from the 15 ramp, traffic at de L’Eglise and Laverendrye will be crazy. Like Saint Henri, negative health issues in Cote Saint Paul will be peaking during the construction period.
And that’s just the obvious tip of the iceberg! Is it all necessary? Well, given what this project is, yes! But it is an ill conceived project that clearly favors the people who will do the building as opposed to everyone else. Again, Highway 20 is not broken and you could cut this project in half easily just by dealing with the issues of the elevated portions of Turcot – there is no need to build some horrible greenwashed monster that has no principled sustainable practices whatsoever. We need to jump into the 21st century.
My motivation is empathy for the victims and shame of being myself a part of the problem. I feel so sorry and so bad about what we are doing to all the other species we share the planet with. We have no right to be so disrespectful and so cruel. I personally can't just go on with life as if everything was okay. So I try to do what I can.
Filmmaker Patrick Rouxel