Monthly Archives: November 2010

Turcot:open letter to Montreal’s director of public health includes WWCA signature

Along with 40 other Montreal organizations and elected officials, WWCA has signed an open letter to Dr Richard Lessard, the director of Public Health of Montreal asking him to invoke article 55 of the Public Health Act as it would apply to the province’s plan for the Turcot.  The signatories believe that the plan is not satisfactory as it increases traffic along the Turcot and it does not provide for mass transit.  This will result in increased pollution in the city.

See letter  below:

Cette lettre ouverte est signée par une quarantaine de représentants d’organismes et des élus montréalais*. Elle est adressée au Dr Richard Lessard,  directeur de la Direction de santé publique de Montréal.

Depuis la publication, en 2006, de votre rapport annuel sur la santé de la population montréalaise « Le transport urbain, une question de santé », votre agence a multiplié les interventions publiques, la publication d’articles et de mémoires et l’organisation de colloques, indiquant clairement l’impact néfaste sur la santé de l’augmentation croissante du parc automobile et de la présence d’autoroutes en milieu urbain.

L’agence s’est constamment opposée à tous les projets autoroutiers récents qui entraîneraient une augmentation de la circulation sur l’île de Montréal (autoroute 25, rue Notre-Dame, échangeur Turcot), prônant plutôt les investissements massifs dans les transports collectifs et les transports actifs afin de favoriser la santé en réduisant les traumas routiers et en diminuant les émissions atmosphériques nocives ainsi que la sédentarité.

Les audiences publiques sur l’environnement portant sur le projet de réaménagement du complexe Turcot ont démontré de manière éloquente l’opposition quasi unanime des experts et des divers groupes de citoyens à un projet qui augmenterait les volumes de circulation et, par conséquent, les impacts sur la santé dans les quartiers environnants, et ce, pour des décennies.

 

En plus des résidants, les patients hospitalisés au Centre universitaire de santé McGill, en construction pratiquement à côté de l’échangeur, seront affectés. Nous croyons qu’un projet qui ne permettrait pas de réduire ces impacts n’a pas sa place en 2010, dans une société qui dit se préoccuper de la santé de la population.

Dans son mémoire, l’agence conclut elle-même que le projet, s’il ne diminue pas les déplacements automobiles, est inacceptable et que des mesures visant à améliorer la santé de la population en réduisant de manière importante les volumes de circulation sont nécessaires.

Vous avez évoqué, dans deux entrevues accordées à Radio-Canada (C’est bien meilleur le matin, 17 juin 2009) et au quotidien La Presse (19 juin 2009), l’opportunité, si le projet Turcot comportait toujours des risques majeurs pour la santé à la suite des audiences publiques du BAPE, d’avoir recours à l’article 55 de la Loi sur la santé publique du Québec, en vue de demander aux intervenants pertinents de s’engager dans la recherche d’une solution adéquate aux problèmes de santé publique induits par le projet.

La version du projet présentée mardi le 9 novembre 2010 par le ministère des Transports n’apporte pas de réponse satisfaisante aux préoccupations de santé publique que vous mettez en évidence depuis

près de deux ans, dans la mesure où elle ne vise pas une réduction du volume de circulation. Comme vous l’avez vous-même clairement indiqué dans une nouvelle entrevue à Radio-Canada la semaine dernière, les problèmes de santé seront accrus dans les quartiers situés à proximité de l’échangeur puisque le volume de circulation va augmenter après la reconstruction.

Pourtant, les solutions, telles que l’intégration au projet d’équipements structurants de transport en commun (prolongement vers LaSalle et Lachine du réseau initial du tramway, bonification de la desserte des trains de banlieue actuels, mise en place du train de l’Ouest, etc.) permettant de réduire considérablement le volume de circulation, existent et sont connues depuis longtemps. Ces mesures sont évoquées par le MTQ mais nous croyons qu’elles doivent être officiellement intégrées au projet Turcot et qu’un financement doit leur être affecté. De plus, la conception des ouvrages du complexe Turcot devraient tenir compte du formidable potentiel de transfert modal qu’offrent ces alternatives à la voiture.

Dans ce contexte, nous vous demandons d’agir en fonction des pouvoirs qui vous sont conférés par l’article 55 de la Loi sur la santé publique du Québec et de « demander formellement aux autorités dont l’intervention [vous] paraît utile de participer avec [vous] à la recherche d’une solution adéquate dans les circonstances ». Cette démarche pourrait notamment permettre d’inclure dans le décret du projet un objectif de réduction du volume de circulation et de mise en oeuvre à court terme de projets structurants de transports en commun. Cet objectif nous apparaît primordial pour que le projet soit acceptable du point de vue de la santé des populations et pour atteindre les objectifs de réduction des émissions de gaz à effet de serre établis par le gouvernement du Québec.

Espérant que vous exercerez cette responsabilité avec diligence compte tenu de l’urgence de la situation, nous vous assurons tout notre appui dans vos démarches à cet effet.

***

Cosignataires de la lettre ouverte :

Kelly Krauter, directrice générale, Action communiterre

Jean Zigby, vice-président, Association canadienne des médecins pour l’environnement

Patricia Dumais, Secrétaire, Association municipale de Westmount

Lucie Thibodeau, présidente, Association pour la santé publique du Québec

André Bélisle, président, Association québécoise de lutte contre la pollution atmosphérique

Owen Rose, président, Centre d’écologie urbaine de Montréal

Carl Bégin, porte-parole, Coalition Humaniser Notre-Dame

Coalition Mobilisation Turcot

Al Hayek, président, Coalition verte

Gillian Keefe, directrice générale, Conseil communautaire Notre-Dame-de-Grâce

Denis Plante, président, Conseil régional de l’environnement de Montréal

Mary Stark, directrice générale, Contactivity Centre

Peter McQueen, conseiller de la ville Projet Montréal, district de Notre-Dame-de-Grâce de l’arrondissement Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce

Jenny Patton, chef, Environment Committee of Westmount’s Healthy City Project / Comité Environnement du Projet Ville en Santé de la Ville de Westmount

Sidney Ribaux, coordonnateur général, Équiterre

Karel Mayrand, directeur général pour le Québec, Fondation David Suzuki

Florence Junca-Adenot, directrice, Forum URBA 2015 UQÀM

Pierre Brisset, directeur, Groupe de recherche urbaine Hochelaga-Maisonneuve

Marlo Turner Ritchie, Directrice, Head & Hands / À deux mains

Patrick Asch, directeur, Héritage Laurentien

Dimitri Roussopoulos, vice-président, Institut de politiques alternatives de Montréal

Derek Robertson, directeur, Jardin collectif de l’Allée des Tanneries

Campbell Stuart, secrétaire, Les Amis de Meadowbrook

Benoit Dorais, maire de l’arrondissement Le Sud-Ouest

Véronique Fournier, conseillère de la ville Équipe Harel-Vision Montréal, district Saint-Henri-Petite- Bourgogne-Pointe-Saint-Charles de l’arrondissement Le Sud-Ouest

Sophie Thiébaut, conseillère d’arrondissement Projet Montréal, district Saint-Henri-Petite-Bourgogne- Pointe-Saint-Charles de l’arrondissement Le Sud-Ouest

Huguette Roy, conseillère d’arrondissement Équipe Harel-Vision Montréal, district Saint-Paul-Émard de l’arrondissement Le Sud-Ouest

Fiona Keats, directrice générale, NDG Food Depot

Valérie Simard, organisatrice communautaire, POPIR-Comité Logement

Nicole Bastien, directrice, Pro-Vert Sud-Ouest

Patrick Barnard, co-fondateur, Save The Park! Sauvons le parc!

Pierre Dénommé, directeur, Sentier Urbain

Don Hobus, vice-président, Sierra Club Québec

Shannon Franssen, coordonnatrice, Solidarité Saint-Henri

Melanie Stuy, présidente, St-Raymond’s Residents’ Association

Louise Harel, chef de l’opposition officielle, Ville de Montréal

Richard Bergeron, chef de la 2e opposition, Ville de Montréal

Marilynn Gillies, vice-présidente, Westmount Walking and Cycling Association

 

response to Westmount’s attitude toward winter bike path

Stephen Chin has written a letter to the editor in reply to an article written Oct 20 in the  the Examiner about the winter bike-path and the proposed (at the time) new bike path down Lansdowne. Chin thinks that keeping air quality good is more important than worrying about expense.  See the original Examiner Article (Oct 20, 2010) below followed by Chin’s response (Examiner November 25, 2010)

Cyclists welcome winter bike path

Westmount will give up about $75,000 in revenue from these winter parking spots on de Maisonneuve near Atwater. Photo: Wayne LarsenWestmount will give up about $75,000 in revenue from these winter parking spots on de Maisonneuve near Atwater. Photo: Wayne Larsen 

Loss of parking revenue is an investment in Montreal cycling, says Ikeman

After numerous requests from local cyclists over the past few years, the City of Westmount has decided to keep open its portion of the de Maisonneuve bike path this winter — but only on a trial-run basis.

This has drawn applause from members of the Westmount Walking and Cycling Association (WWCA).

“Keeping the Westmount portion of the de Maisonneuve bike path open in winter will provide a safe route for cyclists through Westmount and allow them to connect to the Montreal winter bike path network, which begins near Atwater Avenue,” WWCA president Dan Lambert wrote in the Examiner last week. “This will make it safer and easier for cycling commuters to use their bikes year-round.”

City councillor Gary Ikeman made the announcement at the October council meeting, pointing out that the move will be expensive.

“The City has made the decision to forgo approximately $75,000 of revenue a year in the wintertime, which would normally be obtained from the use of parking meters east of Greene Avenue on the south side, which are closed in the summer but kept open in the winter,” Ikeman said. “This would be done in order to maintain the ability to keep that route open during the wintertime so that users of the cycling route, from Claremont to Atwater, would be able to use that in the wintertime.”

Ikeman referred to the lost revenue as Westmount’s investment in the regional cycling infrastructure.

“Most of the users are not Westmounters, so the City of Westmount is investing in support of cycling, generally speaking, for the entire network,” he said. “This will favour people living outside of the city limits.”

In order to accommodate winter cycling, the bollards will have to be removed from de Maisonneuve to facilitate snow clearing. “This means there will be two-way cycling traffic on a one-way street,” Ikeman said. “Up until now the City has not been particularly interested in having this because it isn’t an ideal situation, and we should be clear about this — cyclists use that route at their own risk, in particular in the winter.”

He added that snow-removal operations will not be affected by the bike path.

“The snow schedules will be maintained the way they are now because we have priority snow removal for the City to maintain routes that are high priority — school routes, fire routes, and so on. We will not disrupt that schedule in order to favour the cycling routes, but in the normal course of snow clearing, the cycling access in the winter will be available to those who choose to cycle in the winter.”

New path planned to link St. Henri

The City of Westmount is also working with the Montreal Agglomeration to create a north-south bike path from Lansdowne Avenue and de Maisonneuve, which would run down through the Glen, through St. Henri and link with the path along the Lachine Canal.

Director General Duncan Campbell said although Westmount city council approved the new path, construction is in the hands of the Agglomeration. Work on the path is expected to be carried out this fall.

Portions of the new path have already been painted onto the asphalt on Glen Road near St. Jacques Street.

“The schedule is being dictated by the work lower down on de Courcelle, which is undergoing considerable refurbishing,” Campbell said. .

WWCA president Lambert sees both the winter opening of the de Maisonneuve path and the north-south link to the Lachine Canal via Lansdowne Avenue and the Glen as positive steps forward.

“These two initiatives will help promote cycling in Westmount and its neighbouring boroughs by providing safe passage to cyclists,” he wrote. “This will encourage people to cycle rather than take motorized transportation, and thereby improve the long-term liveability of our community.”

Westmount should care about air quality, not expenses(Stephen Chin’s response)

In the Examiner article of October 20th “Cyclists Welcome Winter Bike Path”, a councillor pointed out that the move (opening the Greene to Atwater bike path for 12 months yearly) will be benefitting mostly non-residents of Westmount, dangerous to use (for various reasons), an expensive $75,000 lost parking fees each winter for Westmount and, will be used by cyclists at their own risk.

Among the increasing number of cities in the world that care for air quality enough not to worry about expense in the construction and upkeep of bike paths and making them as safe as possible for cyclists, Westmount’s stingy and narrow outlook on keeping just a short length of bike path open during winter will surely invite ridicule and hilarious surprise.

Stephen Chin

Sherbrooke St

 

104 years of separated bicycle infrastructure

Holland has the safest streets in the world with the highest percentage of people cycling.  Watch this youtube video about the history of their bicycling infrastructure.

http://www.copenhagenize.com/2010/11/104-years-of-separated-bicycle.html

Cycling in Scotland

If you have ten minutes and want to view a beautiful YouTube of cycling in Scotland, and the meaning of cycling for the psyche, try this link at full screen.

http://www.copenhagenize.com/2010/11/double-diamond.html

Active transport includes walking

The Westmount Walking and Cycling Association has the following goals for improving the well-being of walkers:

.installation of a sound signal at traffic lights for a woman who is blind.

.repair of damaged pavement areas.

.lengthen the times allotted for walkers to cross the street at traffic lights.

.encourage the installation and use of diagonal crosswalks.

 

Mayor Trent announces the cost of bringing Bixi to Westmount. Dan Lambert responds.

At city council meeting last night, Nov 1, Mayor Trent announced that the city had heard from Bixi and that the cost to the city would be $609,000 for 150 bikes.  Council feels that this amount is very high.  Dan Lambert, president of the Westmount Walking and Cycling Association has written a response to the mayor outlining why he thinks that the price might not be so unreasonable.

Dear Mayor Trent,

Thank you for reporting on the $609k Bixi proposal last evening.  At first, the amount seems big ($4k/bike), but if the proposal covers the cost of 150 bikes for say 20 years, it would cost only $30k/year or $200/bike/year (before calculating the discounted cash flow to reflect the time-value of money), which actually sounds reasonable considering the services Bixi offers:

  • Ensure that all bikes are always well maintained (not damaged, tires pumped, etc.)
  • Fill or empty stations daily by truck, as required, to ensure that there are bikes available and empty spots to receive returns at most stations most of the time.
  • Manage an annual subscription system.
  • Manage an hourly rental system.
  • Provide on-line information system that allows potential users to check on their cell phones the closest available station with bikes or empty slots at all times.
  • Provide system upgrades as they are developed.

There may be additional services which Bixi assumes Westmount understands, but may be undervalued by people who do not use Bixi regularly and therefore do not appreciate all the benefits.  Has Bixi fully outlined all the services it will offer?

One cannot compare the cost of Bixi to the cost of an individual buying a bike, because of all the additional services Bixi offers.  Bixi removes the cost and hassle of maintaining a bike, the worry and cost of bike theft, the flexibility of taking a bike to work and not returning home with it if it is raining or one has other plans.  All these services explain why most current Bixi subscribers already own bikes, but are still ready to pay $80/year for the Bixi service.

In the ideal world, if users paid more, their fees would cover the full cost of the service, but, like all public transit systems, user fees do not cover all the costs, and must therefore be subsidised.  To put the required Bixi subsidy into perspective, it should be compared to the subsidy provided to public transit, included the capital cost of building subways and trains/buses.

Finally, the City needs to consider the benefits cycling rather than driving (less damage to the environment, avoided health care costs from pollution and accidents, better quality of life, etc.) as demonstrate in cycling cities.

I am sure that you are considering how best to respond to the Bixi proposal.  One response could be that since Westmount is not sure Bixi would work in our borough, could Bixi offer a 3-year trial agreement at $30k/year, after which Westmount would decide on a permanent system?  At the end of that period, if Westmount were to decide to not purchase the permanent system, Bixi could re-allocate the bikes and stations to expansions in other boroughs.

Regards, Dan Lambert – President – Westmount Walking and Cycling Association

Bike sharing like Bixi in other cities

The following photos are of Bixi-like systems in Dublin, Ronda and Seville in Spain, and Paris