CDN-NDG councillor calls for better approach to laying down road markings

Snowdon Coun. Marvin Rotrand wants to change the way Montreal's largest borough paints its roads because, he says, the way it's done doesn't work.

Coun. Marvin Rotrand to submit motion asking for 'more durable solution'

The paint, which is water based in an effort to conform to provincial and federal standards, fades in the winter and the process begins again the next year. (CBC)

Snowdon Coun. Marvin Rotrand wants to find a "more durable solution" when it comes to painting road markings and crosswalks in Montreal's largest borough.

While some on-island municipalities are able to lay down crisp new lines early in the season, it's not happening in Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, where the job is completed as late as August or September — leaving pedestrians, cyclists and drivers without clearly defined lines, lanes or crosswalks for most of the summer season.

"The standard in Canada is most municipalities try to get this done by May," said Rotrand.

Rotrand is calling for change by putting forward a motion that will go to vote on Monday. He told CBC that the issue goes beyond aesthetic value.

"Good pavement marking is an essential part of the Vision Zero strategy to make pedestrians safer, to make other road users, including cyclists and active transport users safer," he said.

The paint, which is water-based in an effort to conform to provincial and federal standards, fades in the winter and the process begins again the next year.

Montreal city councillor Marvin Rotrand said he's heard complaints from citizens about the current road paint system. (CBC)

Rotrand's motion mandates the borough's public works department to find another solution that could range from purchasing the needed equipment to do the job in-house or bringing in contractors.

"Whatever it is, it's got to be a solution that works for us because the current system is broken," said Rotrand. "What we're hearing from residents and groups is that it has never been worse than it is this year."

Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie's blue collar workers have been responsible for painting roads in nine of Montreal's 19 boroughs since 2002.

While Montreal has been largely using water-based paint that washes away every winter, other municipalities, such as the City of Pointe-Claire and Dollard-des-Ormeaux, do all their painting in-house using oil-based paints.

While some argue those cities have visually superior paint, mayors from both municipalities say it still needs to be redone every spring.

Respecting environmental standards 

Since 2012, Quebec road paints containing over 150 grams per litre of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are prohibited in the interest of protecting the atmosphere and public health.

Rotrand questions these environmental requirements, saying that using a heavy-duty paint that has a higher VOC content could mean that they have to redo the lines less often.

If the paint lasted through the winter, it could lead to less accumulation overall compared with using the lower VOC-content paint every year.

The city of Montreal did not immediately reply to a request for comment, Wednesday.

Montreal needs more than paint

No matter what paint is used, safety advocates agree that brightly painted roads are essential, but it's not the ultimate solution.

From four-way crosswalks to protected bike paths, a lot more needs to be done to make it safer for pedestrians and cyclists alike, even it means slowing the flow of vehicular traffic, said Daniel Lambert, representing the NDG Cyclist and Pedestrian Association.

Daniel Lambert, bike and pedestrian advocate, says more than brighter paint is needed to make Montreal's streets safer. (CBC)

"It's very, very scary for pedestrians out there," he said. "They're going to have to do a lot more and each borough is going to have to do its bit."

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