Justine McIntyre, candidate for borough mayor of Pierrefonds-Roxboro, proposes an urban boulevard to help alleviate traffic congestion in western Pierrefonds. Allen McInnis / Montreal Gazette
Justine McIntyre says residents in western Pierrefonds want less traffic in their neighbourhoods, not more residential housing.
McIntyre, the leader of Vrai changement pour Montréal and candidate for borough mayor of Pierrefonds-Roxboro, proposed an urban boulevard to help alleviate traffic congestion in western Pierrefonds if she is elected Nov. 5.
Justine McIntyre, an outgoing city councillor, is running for Pierrefonds-Roxboro borough mayor. Allen McInnis
“For years, the borough residents have been calling for a fourth link to alleviate the congestion problems that are particularly debilitating in the Pierrefonds West sector. This new artery would also create access to the Réseau électrique métropolitain (REM),” McIntyre said at a press conference.
McIntyre said urban boulevard would run along previously acquired government lands, a servitude once designated for a potential Highway 440 corridor.
Instead of a highway, McIntyre says the city should acquire these tracts of land to build an urban boulevard, which would hopefully ease traffic congestion on St-Charles Blvd.
She said outgoing borough mayor Jim Beis has had four years to fix the traffic problem but has not delivered on a north-south artery. “Not only did he do nothing to fix the problem, but rather proposes to worsen it by adding more than 5,500 housing units in the l’Anse-à-l’Orme area,” McIntyre said.
“My feeling there is that Jim Beis and Team Coderre are actually waiting for the development project to go through and that boulevard will be used to open up development in that green space.
“So this is our major difference with Team Coderre. We’ve disassociated those two projects. For us, the urban boulevard is simply a necessary element for the current residents. And this is what we’re hearing as we go door to door. People are saying, ‘Please, we’re stuck in the morning traffic. We can’t even get out of our driveway because the traffic is backed up all the way down Antoine-Faucon St., which is supposed to link to that boulevard.’
“So we feel this (boulevard) is the current need for the current residents. It’s not to be associated with an eventual development of that green space, because we’re in favour of preserving that green space as it is. We want to keep it natural.”
Jim Beis, the incumbent borough mayor, said adding a north-south artery is not a new idea. “We’ve been talking about that since 2009. We had a ground-breaking ceremony when I was a councillor.
Jim Beis is the incumbent Pierrefonds-Roxboro borough mayor.
“We’ve been talking about an urban boulevard, really, for decades on the West Island, regardless if there is any development in the west. We’ve been saying, just for the people for who live there, we need to have another link.”
The urban boulevard was initially designed to go to Chemin Ste-Marie, but Beis said he and Kirkland Mayor Michel Gibson have been pushing for a new overpass at Highway 40.
“I’m not looking at the urban boulevard for cars only,” added Beis. “It’s also for reserved bus lanes, a bike-way system and a link to the eventual REM station which will be there as well. It will be perfect for the residents who live in that area, and it will alleviate some of the traffic on St-Charles as well.”
Beis also pointed out the urban boulevard will be a joint project between provincial and municipal governments and therefore require years of planning. “The last four years have been a lot of legwork to try and coordinate this,” he said. “The (Quebec) Ministry of Transport are the main (planners) of this file. We are partners of it.”
McInytre said many residents feel let done by government inaction.
“Traffic is another big concern, especially in the west, but I would say the say over-arching issue that reaches people across the borough is the l’Anse-à-l’Orme green space because everybody has heard of it, everybody has become aware of it. And everybody is favourable to preserving it,” she said.
“People don’t understand why we want to add a high-density housing project in the extreme west-end of Pierrefonds? It just doesn’t any sense to anybody.
“I think people recognize the value of that green space, and they want it preserved,” she added.
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