Rotrand demands explanation on planned opening of bus lanes to cyclists

One of Montreal's many reserved bus lanes.

Snowdon councillor Marvin Rotrand has written a letter to top officials at the STM, the Montreal transit agency, regarding the planned opening of many reserved bus lanes to cyclists.

“The idea doesn’t come from the STM, but its current board, which appears essentially to be a rubber stamp for Projet Montreal, and which is rubber stamping the scheme even though there is no benefit for transit riders,” Rotrand contends. “It is another example of the agenda of the Plante administration of putting cyclists ahead of all other clientele. The literature is clear — slowing down buses in reserved lanes by sharing with bicycles does not benefit transit passengers in any way and slows transit ridership growth.

“Bus lanes are designed to speed transit and that draws people out of their cars. Losing that advantage to accommodate bicycles simply means a slower ride and less reason to choose transit.”

Rotrand’s letter to Philippe Schnobb, STM president, and STM Director-General Luc Tremblay, says that if the decision essentially comes from city hall, “it is worrying that these decisions reduce the independence of the board of directors and could potentially lead to a decrease in the attractiveness of public transportation.”

Rotrand also cited an analysis of documents related to bus-bike sharing, which says “shared bus-bike lanes can accommodate both modes at low speeds and moderate bus headways, where buses are discouraged from passing, and bicyclists pass buses only at stops.”

The councillor’s letter also raised security concerns.

“Buses have wide blind spots, which are dangerous for cyclists. The STM pilot project on Viau with an infrequent bus route has received mixed reviews. I cannot see how the opening of most of the STM’s reserved bus lanes is in the interest of users. I ask you to send me the list of reserved lanes that will be open to cyclists and the criteria that will be considered to determine which lanes will become accessible to cyclists. I would invite the STM board of directors to prioritize the interests of its users first.”

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