Section of Gamelin Street closed permanently to traffic
Residents divided about NCC plans to turn section of road into multi-use pathway
A busy section of road in Gatineau is now closed to commuters permanently after years of debate between the city and the National Capital Commission.
A small stretch of Gamelin Street, which runs east off the Gatineau Parkway, is being dug up over the summer.
The NCC, which owns the property, wants to repurpose the road into parkland and build a multi-use pathway. The work is scheduled to be done at the end of the summer, said NCC spokesman Cédric Pelletier.
The City of Gatineau took the NCC to court last year in an effort to keep the road open, but lost the case. Residents who use the road and live nearby are divided about its closure.
'It's going to confuse people'
"No, it's stupid. It's going to confuse people," said Rachelle Lemire, who cycles across Gamelin during her morning commute.
Andre Dufour, another cyclist, said having to navigate around the closed road will increase the length of his morning bike ride to work.
"I know there are some cycling paths around the lake there," said Dufour, "but this way is more direct."
Chain-link fencing and large signs notifying people that the road is closed now bookend the 600-metre stretch of road. It remains open at the intersection of Gamelin and des Fées Street.
Nearby residents told CBC News that even on the first day of the closure, the amount of vehicle traffic has dropped substantially.
"We're really happy, some mornings until 8:30 it was almost bumper to bumper," said homeowner Helene St-Jacques, who has lived on Gamelin since 2001.
"You know this was a shortcut," she added. "People are so in a rush and I can understand their side … but I'm not gonna miss it."
City filed injunction against NCC
The City of Gatineau tried to keep the section of Gamelin open to the public by filing an injunction against the NCC in the fall of 2012. Paramedics said delays would be caused by the diversion of about 5,000 motorists who use the road each day.
While watching excavators digging up asphalt this morning, Gatineau resident Richard McCabe said he's happy about the road being repurposed.
"You don't see many roads being taken up in any city," said McCabe. "It's a unique opportunity to see some parkland come back."