Monthly Archives: January 2010

The WCA applauds Westmount Mayor Peter Trent for his commitment to keeping the de Maisonneuve bike path open year round

On January 11, 2010, the Gazette column “Squeaky Wheels” published a piece on the winter closure of the de Maisonneuve bike path in Westmount.  Westmount Mayor Peter Trent was quoted in the article as saying that he “dearly wants to try to open the path year-round by next winter.”

This is the second published statement in two months by Mayor Trent supporting the year-round opening of the bike path.  In a November 26th article in The Westmount Examiner (“Bike path could stay open through winter“), he is quoted as saying,

“Certainly in principle and at first blush the idea of having a four-season bike path makes sense.  I was always curious as to why in Montreal it was four-seasons and in Westmount it was three.”

However, Mayor Trent did indicate in the Examiner article that further study would be needed before any decisions are made:

“We’re five out of nine on this council that are either brand new or retreads, and so it’s going to take us a little while to look at it and find out what the reasons were as to why we closed it down, and I’m sure there are a lot reasons with regard to snow removal operations and things of that kind. So I’m not promising anything, but we will look into it.”

The WCA encourages Mayor Trent to continue to support the year-round operation of the bike path.  The WCA also remains available to cooperate with Mayor Trent and the City Council in order to address any perceived challenges associated with keeping the bike path open in the wintertime.

Click here to read the full text article in The Gazette (the bike path Q&A begins halfway down the page).

Click here to read the full text article in The Westmount Examiner.

Email Westmount Mayor Peter Trent to tell him that you support the year-round operation of the bike path: pftrent@westmount.org

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La Presse article says winter cycling is up, denounces Westmount closure of winter bike path

On January 8, 2010, columnist François Cardinal published an article in La Presse entitled “Pédaler dans la neige?” in which he discusses the increase in the number of winter cyclists in Montreal this year.  Cardinal writes that with the continual increase in winter cyclists, the City of Montreal and the surrounding Cities have an interest in ensuring that winter bicycle paths are available and well-maintained.

He also singles out the City of Westmount and the boroughs of the South Shore as currently being reticent to provide adequate winter cycling infrastructure.

Some extracts from the article are provided below:

«Il y a beaucoup plus de cyclistes qui se lancent sur la route cette année, c’est évident, confirme François Démontagne, un cycliste hivernal depuis trois ans qui a lancé un groupe pour ses pairs sur Facebook. Je ne dirais pas que le nombre a doublé, mais il a passablement augmenté.»

Ce qui n’est pas rien, quand on sait qu’en 2006, environ 50 000 Montréalais enfourchaient leur bicyclette à l’année.

Une des raisons derrière cet engouement tranquille: le déneigement des pistes cyclables, ce que la Ville appelle le «réseau blanc». Depuis l’an dernier, 30 kilomètres de chaussées réservées aux vélos sont déneigées après chaque tempête, un peu plus si on inclut les bandes cyclables. On souhaite atteindre les 60 kilomètres d’ici l’hiver 2013-2014.

Mais la principale explication est ailleurs. «Il y a un effet boule de neige, explique Gabriel Béland, auteur du blogue Vélomane (et collègue de La Presse). Plus de gens en font, plus il y a de gens susceptibles d’en faire, puisque c’est souvent par les connaissances que le goût de pédaler l’hiver te vient.»

Le déneigement des pistes cyclables aide beaucoup, c’est certain, mais il ne faut pas croire que l’existence du réseau blanc attire à elle seule plus de monde. C’est plutôt l’inverse: il y a plus de cyclistes, DONC il y a le réseau blanc.

La Ville de Montréal a ainsi tout intérêt à continuer à développer le réseau pour satisfaire ceux qui, en nombre grandissant, profitent des infrastructures en place. Il s’agit d’une tendance lourde qui ne se dément pas, ici comme ailleurs: les cyclistes se multiplient et continueront de le faire.

Voilà aussi pourquoi les villes et arrondissements réticents auront intérêt à s’ajuster, comme Westmount, par exemple, qui refuse de déneiger sa portion de la piste cyclable de Maisonneuve, ou encore les villes de la Rive-Sud, qui en font bien peu pour créer un lien cyclable – actuellement cruellement manquant – vers l’île, l’hiver.

Click here to read the full text of the article.

Click here to join the Montreal – Bike Winter Facebook group.

Click here for the Vélomane blog.