Park Ex residents demand safer streets as drivers treat Montreal neighbourhood like thoroughfare

Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc-Extension officials plan to add new features to borough streets in an effort to slow traffic, but some residents say the plans don't go far enough.

Borough councillor says traffic-calming measures are in the works

Dora-Marie Goulet would like to see some one-way streets reversed at certain blocks in her Parc-Extension neighbourhood so drivers can't use them as shortcuts. (CBC)

Dora-Marie Goulet says she's tired of watching lead-footed drivers race through her densely populated Montreal neighbourhood, using residential streets to avoid highway congestion.

"Sometimes you see a mother pushing a stroller negotiating three children through these intersections where the cars are not respecting the stop signs and where people are in a rush and it's frightening," she said.

Goulet is among many residents of Parc Extension — also known as Park Ex — who would like to see the streets calmer, and drivers discouraged from using the neighbourhood as a shortcut.

She would like to see more one-way streets reverse directions at certain blocks so drivers can't use them to zip from one end to the other. But, she added, much more needs to be done to make the area safer for families.

Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc-Extension Coun. Mary Deros said the borough is addressing the problems, starting with repainting all the faded markings to better show drivers where the lanes, crosswalks and stop-lines are.

"We were getting a lot of complaints," she said, especially about motorists using the neighbourhood as a thoroughfare.

She said traffic lights, stop signs, speed bumps, and school-zone signs will also be added to help slow traffic. Trees will be planted and sidewalks will be widened at some corners, slowing traffic and allowing pedestrians to cross the street faster.

Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc-Extension Coun. Mary Deros says the borough is planning on adding a range of features this summer aimed at slowing traffic. (CBC)

Deros said the borough administration has also asked police to increase patrols in certain areas and issue tickets to drive home the point that people need to slow down.

"We have many young families. We want to make sure the area is secure for them," she said.

The borough is even reducing speed limits on some streets, Deros said.

Changes will begin this spring with the cleaning and painting, she said, and then more will be done this summer.

But some say these upgrades don't go far enough.

Danny Pavlopoulos, another resident, said he wants to see school zones protected by traffic lights, for starters, but there are a range of issues, such as motorists simply parking illegally.

"We are trying to protect the people who live here, especially if we want to keep families on the island — our big thing in Montreal — we have to make sure these families feel safe," he said.

Danny Pavlopoulos says his Park Extension neighbourhood gets the short end of the stick when it comes to traffic-calming measures and bike infrastructure. (CBC)

Pavlopoulos said the plans he's seen did not include cycling infrastructure, another thing he would like to see in his neighbourhood.

"Bike paths are no good if they're not part of a larger network," he said. "We've always been cornered off in a less favourable neighbourhood."

He said residents have been asking for traffic-calming measures for a long time, but that little is done in Park Ex compared to other Montreal neighbourhoods.

"We get the short end of the stick," Pavlopoulos said. 

with files from Kwabena Oduro


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