It's official —Montreal wants us to leave our cars at home

The new rush hour no-left-turn sign at Mountain Sights and Paré in Côte des Neiges-NDG.

The above headline is me venting, but right now, my fury knows no bounds, and it’s not only because of the countless detours and blockages we are all suffering through this summer.

When, last Thursday, I saw the SPVM police car behind me with flashing lights and heard its occupants blaring at me after I made my daily left turn off northbound Mountain Sights onto westbound Paré, I was sure they just wanted me to move aside to handle a real emergency. After all, I travel the same route to work every day without a problem.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. Unbeknownst to me, I had committed the sin of turning left at the above-mentioned intersection at 9:25 a.m., five minutes before I was allowed to.

I asked the police officer who gave me the $170 ticket when the new restriction was added, and he told me a month before. I hadn’t noticed the new signage because 1) I always concentrate on the traffic light 2) the restriction signs were posted above the traffic light, (usually, they are below the light, where they are easier to notice) and 3) there seemed to be no justification for such a restriction.

The police officer told me the restriction was added because of the area’s residential neighbourhood. I pointed out that Paré between Mountain Sights and Décarie is completely commercial.

I started to ask more questions, but the officer said, “don’t ask me about zoning issues.”

That was the cue for me to contact Snowdon councillor Marvin Rotrand. He was on vacation, but was good enough to leave me a two-minute message, and a promise to discuss the issue further.

In his message, Rotrand pointed out that the Côte des Neiges-NDG borough, in planning the new Triangle area, narrowed Paré between Victoria and Mountain Sights, and “allowed the construction of several new condo buildings on that street.

“As the streets [in that area] became residential rather than commercial and industrial, the idea of reducing traffic became important on Paré,” he explained. “There was a huge volume of traffic turning left off [northbound] Victoria onto [westbound] Paré, and in response to repeated requests from residents, the borough put a ‘no turning left in rush hour’ sign at that intersection.

“Inadvertently, that pushed traffic onto Mountain Sights, where motorists turned onto Paré. There was a constant traffic jam during rush hour, and residents of Mountain Sights, where there are several new condo buildings and a series of apartment buildings south of Paré, began to complain. Borough services determined that the solution was to put an interdiction to turn left off Mountain Sights onto Paré during rush hour, thus trying to force traffic onto [westbound] Jean Talon to go over to Décarie. The council accepted that recommendation three or four months ago. I guess the signs [on Mountain Sights] were only put up a month ago.”

Let’s delve into this.

• Residents on Mountain Sights between Jean Talon and Paré don’t want extra traffic in the morning, but motorists still have the choice to turn right there from westbound Jean Talon.

• Motorists have to go straight on Mountain Sights northward past Paré between 6:30 and 9:30 a.m. as well as during the afternoon rush hour— to another densely populated residential area. Will those residents complain, too?

• Motorists also have the choice of turning right from northbound Mountain Sights onto eastbound Paré during rush hour, to the very area that is now newly residential and where its residents want to be free of much traffic.

• One wonders who chose 9:30 a.m. as the time when the restrictions end in the morning. Most people are at work by 9 a.m., and in my experience, there has been very little traffic on the area of Mountain Sights when I’m in the area at approximately 9:20 a.m.

As Rotrand says, it’s clear that the overall objective is to have cars on westbound Jean Talon stay on that street until they hit Décarie.

That will create a most hellish traffic logjam, as I recently experienced when construction barred entry onto northbound Mountain Sights and Victoria from Jean Talon altogether.

West end residents in Côte St. Luc and Hampstead are now experiencing such hellishness heading east toward Décarie and it is sure to get worse once the many developments on the Décarie axis are completed.

Now, look at the headline again.

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