Montreal

Rivière-des-Prairies residents demand more public transit options

A resident in the Rivière-des-Prairies—Pointe-aux-Trembles borough has launched a petition to demand better access to Montreal’s public transit network.

New mayor says she will fight for mobility in eastern Montreal borough

Despite ambitious public transit expansions being considered for Montreal, people in Rivière-des-Prairies feel ignored. (Luc Lavigne/Radio-Canada)

Residents and the mayor of Rivière-des-Prairies—Pointe-aux-Trembles want to make sure their borough isn't left behind amid upcoming public transit expansions.

One resident, Stéphanie Gauthier, is doing so with an online petition on the National Assembly's site which since December has gained nearly 600 signatures.

She bought a duplex on the eastern edge of Montreal Island two years ago, and assumed public transit options would become more efficient over time, but she said that hasn't proved to be true.

"If I want to plan anything outside Rivière-des-Prairies I need to plan an hour and a half to get to where I need to go," she said.

She's grown increasingly frustrated with ambitious transit plans put forward by the city and province which appear to ignore her neighbourhood.

Stéphanie Gauthier said it's hard to get friends to visit her since it takes so long for them to get to Rivière-des-Prairies. (CBC)

The Coalition Avenir Québec's tramway project would serve Pointe-aux-Trembles, and the long-awaited extension of the Metro's Blue line would stop in Anjou.

Even the proposed Pink line would end in Montreal North.

New borough mayor Caroline Bourgeois agrees that public transit is lacking in the area and said the issue is one of the reasons she ran for office.

"She will find someone in me who believes in public transit," she said of Gauthier. "I will defend public transit and mobility in the district."

Bourgeois said she plans to speak to Montreal's public transit authority, the Société de transport de Montréal (STM), in the next few days.

For its part, the STM said it recently added the new 81 Saint-Jean-Baptiste bus line last September to help commuters in the area.

"Also, the bus network remodelling that is underway will allow the STM to re-evaluate its bus service throughout the island of Montreal, while taking into account major transit projects," STM spokesperson Philippe Déry wrote to CBC in an email.

Those projects include the REM light-rail network, the Blue line extension and a dedicated bus lane on Pie-IX Boulevard.

With files from Antoni Nerestant and Brennan Neill

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