Westmount residents are being asked to choose six priorities from thirteen given by the city for the Westmount Traffic and Active Transportation Master plan. http://www.westmountindependent.com/WIv6.3d.pdf
The goal of the plan is to reduce vehicular traffic going through Westmount and traffic within Westmount.
One of the thirteen points listed by the city is to minimize congestion and travel delays for all users.
The position of the WWCA is exactly opposite to this solution. Rather than making it more convenient for drivers to get through Westmount, it is our position that it should be made less convenient and less attractive to cross the city. What follows is a letter from Dan Lambert, president of the the WWCA.
Yay to the traffic questionnaire
Our association [Westmount Walking and Cycling Association] welcomes Mayor Peter Trent’s Master Traffic Plan letter to residents in which he asks for their com- ments. We agree that the city needs to take steps to reduce the high volume of traffic.
Unfortunately, Westmount is currently encouraging people to drive by offering two key incentives, which must be reduced if the city hopes to reduce traffic.
First, Westmount provides free-flowing traffic routes through our city, which en-
courage drivers from outside Westmount to cut across on their way downtown. Cur- rently, it only takes about seven minutes to cross Westmount on any of our main east- west streets.
If the city wants to reduce through traf- fic, it must reduce this incentive by reduc- ing vehicle capacity and not by facilitating it. This can be accomplished in various ways, such as replacing a few strategic car lanes with bike paths or public transit lanes. Only by making it less convenient and longer to cut through Westmount will drivers adopt alternative routes (like Ville- Marie) or alternative means of transport (like public transit).
Second, Westmount provides abundant free or low cost parking, which encourages people to drive to Westmount rather than using public transit, walking or cycling. Westmount should, like many other pro- gressive urban centres, gradually reduce the availability of parking spots and grad- ually increase the cost of parking to en- courage drivers to gradually adopt alternative means of transport to and from Westmount.
The quality of life in our community is being eroded by the overwhelming pres- ence of motor vehicles, so the city needs to reverse this trend by establishing a health- ier balance between motor vehicles and other forms of transportation.
We encourage residents to support Mayor Trent by responding favourably to his questionnaire and by voicing their views during the public consultations that will follow.
Dan Lambert, Lansdowne Ave. resident and member of Westmount Walking and Cycling Association