Traders on Queen Mary Road in Montreal say the city’s bus lane plan is the pits

At Solomos, a store in west Montreal specializing in smoked salmon, manager George Moussis says customers come from all over but often struggle to find a place to park.

On top of that, he said, it feels like parking enforcement officers are just waiting for someone to pull over for a quick purchase.

“Guys give them tickets for literally just a second,” he said. “It’s crazy.”

On Friday, he learned that about 40 parking spaces were going to disappear twice a day on his stretch of Queen Mary Road, near the intersection of Décarie Boulevard — a booming commercial district in the borough of Côte-des -Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grace.

The borough indicates that there will be a dedicated lane for eastbound buses from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. between MacDonald Avenue and Cedar Crescent. It will head west in the afternoon between 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., following the same route but on the other side of the road.

To do this, as is done in other sectors of Montreal, parking will be prohibited during the opening hours of the road.

“They’re going to get rid of more parking spaces to make it easier for the buses, so it’s not really fun for us,” he said.

“It’s a small street with already little parking.”

Carolina Ionel, who founded the clothing store, Boutique Vip Couture, on Queen Mary Road, said her business paid for customers’ parking in a bid to encourage people to stay. (Sharon Yonan-Renold/CBC)

He expects customer traffic to “drop significantly” once the lanes are operational this summer.

Carolina Ionel, who founded neighboring clothing boutique Boutique Vip Couture, has similar sentiments.

“It’s hard enough to find parking,” she said, noting that her company often pays for parking for customers so they have more time in the store, which doubles as a salon.

“Ninety percent of my customers come to the store by car. I don’t know how I can accommodate them.

Borough says it will work with merchants

In its press release, the borough says it is aware of merchants’ concerns about parking and traffic flow, and officials will meet with them next week to explain the plan and discuss ways in which the borough will mitigate the impact. lanes on business.

“We have a plan to minimize impacts and are open to adjusting the plan,” the statement said.

There will be an eastbound bus lane on Queen Mary in the morning and a westbound one in the afternoon. (Radio Canada)

The bus-only lane will provide faster and more reliable service to 8,000 transit riders per day without removing parking spaces, the statement said. About 40 parking spaces will become unavailable during peak hours, but additional paid parking spaces will be added on some side streets, he said.

“This is because paid parking has higher turnover rates, which maximizes the number of people who can patronize Queen Mary businesses,” the statement said.

“Transit riders are consumers too and by providing them with more reliable access to Queen Mary, we are encouraging greater foot traffic along our commercial streets.”

Ionel disagrees with the borough, saying she expects her business to suffer after struggling for two years to adapt to the pandemic. She said she pays business tax and traders like her should have been consulted first.

And Moussis said the borough had already removed some parking spaces recently and authorities are making these decisions despite complaints from shopkeepers.

More reserved lanes through the city

The new bus-only lane is part of the Montreal executive committee’s larger plan to increase the number of bus-only lanes in the city and allow cyclists to use 13 sections of those lanes, which are usually reserved for buses and taxis.

The new reserved lanes will be on rue Jarry Est, boulevard Ray-Lawson and chemin Queen Mary.

The Henri-Bourassa Boulevard West lane will be extended, the city said in a statement Friday.

In total, approximately 16 kilometers of new reserved bus lanes will be added, while the reserved lane on De la Commune Street, between McGill and Mill streets, will be removed due to changes to bus routes in this area.

“Transit riders want reliable, on-time and efficient service, and dedicated lanes help meet those expectations,” Eric Alan Caldwell said in the City’s release.

Improvements to existing reserved lanes are also part of the plan.

For example, rue Sherbrooke Est will benefit from a passing lane near the intersection of boulevard de la Rousselière.

Eventually, the network of reserved lanes in Montreal will extend over 306 kilometers and will allow 25,000 trips per day, specifies the City.

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