Following our story last week on the many new developments in the Decarie area and the fears of increased traffic congestion, several readers called and asked if we have come out against growth and development. Let us make this clear. We are all for growth and development.

The ideological bent in many government circles today that is anti growth and development is wrong. It kills our creative drive and initiative. It does not meet peoples needs. The arc of progress has to go ever higher.

What we are concerned about is the abdication of responsibility by Montreal’s administration to even consider expanding roads and access to these new developments. More than that, the fervent continuing war on cars in the name of the environment.

Every policy that reduces driving lanes, expands sidewalks and eliminates parking causes increased traffic congestion and increased idling. That creates more pollution. It is as clear as day. Refusal to accept that is a tort on the public. And particularly on those 96,000 commuters who spend more than hour getting to work every day.

Electric and hybrid cars may be the way of the future but regardless we will still need new infrastructure. If tomorrow everyone bought only an electric car imagine the disaster everyone lining up for the same two charging stations. Infrastructure must be in place to accommodate change. We cannot move away from all fossil fuel use with a snap of the fingers unless we want to throw our economies into a luddite 19th century.

But as much as someone may want to reduce the reliance on the internal combustion engine, they need to understand that expanded traffic infrastructure is simply an essential service of a growing society. Our administrations have simply refused to even consider it. That stubborn, petulant refusal is what we are against.

We have made the pro-development case many times. But always coupling it with the need for proper planning. Without more and broadened access we diminish the quality of living for all residents. It is time after decades of promises to build the Cavendish link. It is time to consider an express level for Decarie. It is time to widen the 40 and extend the 13. And we must pay attention to the suggestion of local Mayors who want more and quicker public transit connections to and between existing metro stops and the building of a new public transit facility integrated into Decarie Square. With that we will also need more public parking.

In cities like Dallas they have built 8 lane highways in anticipation of growth. We may not need that size, but we have to make a start instead of always trying to play catch-up. That is a prescription for disaster.

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