The redevelopment of a street taken every day by thousands of students and CEGEP students divides the elected officials of Longueuil and Saint-Lambert. The impasse to improve road safety is pushing parents’ patience to the limit as Quebec begins the second national day to end road safety on the school route.
“It’s a rather unique situation: on a small stretch, we have a CEGEP, three secondary schools and two elementary schools”, points out David Bowles, general manager of the Charles-Lemoyne college and former municipal councilor in Saint-Lambert.
In total, approximately 7,500 children, teenagers and young adults converge every day in the Chemin Tiffin sector, where 50% of the roadway is in Longueuil and the other 50% in Saint-Lambert.
“A large majority use school transport and other public transport, but there are also for all kinds of reasons people who come by car,” says Mr. Bowles, himself the father of four children who attend schools in the area. .
For years, recurrent dangerous behaviors on the part of people who drive a motorized vehicle have been deplored by parents’ committees, in particular parking in the cycle lane, U-turns, compulsory stops made on the sly and failure to respect for the priority of pedestrians at intersections, which discourages the practice of walking and cycling among children who attend schools in the area.
The solution proposed by the school principals is to implement a one-way street on a portion of Tiffin Road, which would enhance pedestrian protection and free up the space on the public road needed to install a one-way bike path separated from vehicular traffic by flower boxes and bollards.
Last fall, the teams of experts from Longueuil and Saint-Lambert recommended to the elected officials of the two cities to implement a redevelopment that integrates a one-way street on a small part of Tiffin Road.
The elected officials of Longueuil have given the green light, but those of Saint-Lambert have so far refused this scenario. A citizen consultation on the project is to take place on March 16 in Saint-Lambert.
According to Pascale Mongrain, Mayor of Saint-Lambert, it is important to secure this section, which is especially problematic during the afternoon rush hour.
Saint-Lambert fears that the development of a one-way street will deflect automobile traffic in the residential streets of the district, increasing noise and danger. “Citizens are already alarmed. They tell us: ‘The traffic will overflow into our quiet little streets.’ These are streets where children play freely. »
Left-turn bans on Tiffin Road could be put in place, “but there’s not enough police surveillance, so we don’t believe it,” says Ms. Mongrain, who adds that discussions are underway to find a solution acceptable to both cities that could be implemented before the start of the summer.
Mr. Bowles is optimistic that a redevelopment will be put in place quickly. “Whether there is a one-way street or not, we school principals will support it and we will do everything to encourage our parents to favor public transport and active transport in order to reduce the number of cars around the school,” he said.
In addition, a pan-Quebec mobilization of parents from schools in the province is taking place this Wednesday to ask Quebec to increase funding for safe facilities for children around schools.
Now present in some fifty schools in Quebec, including in Montreal, Longueuil, Brossard, Quebec, Drummondville and Saint-Flavien, the movement Put an end to road safety on the school route calls for an increase in budgets devoted to road safety , the realization of the 2030 Sustainable Mobility Policy in order to adopt a “zero accident vision”, as well as changes to the “all-by-drive” layout standards for the benefit of the most vulnerable road users. vulnerable, says Ariane De Blois, mother and one of the spokespersons.
“A few days before the tabling of the provincial budget, we are asking for funding that is commensurate with the dangers that our children face every day,” she said. Safety represents a small percentage of the current road expenditure budget. »
The Minister of Transport, Geneviève Guilbault, as well as her colleagues from the National Assembly have also been invited to stop at the Anne-Hébert and Saint-Malo schools in Quebec City when they go to their place of work. in parliament “to see the road insecurity in the central districts caused by through traffic”, notes the movement.
“During a day of mobilization in January, no CAQ elected official had visited a school,” said Ms. De Blois. So we hope they will be able to do it this time. »