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Reserved bus lanes not everyone’s cup of tea

Reserved bus lanes not everyone’s cup of tea

NDG - The reserved bus lanes on Sherbrooke St. West will soon be up and running, to be enjoyed by 18,000 passengers, 13,000 of them from the borough, but the solution is not one that can help drivers who can’t make the jump to public transit.

Finding parking in the east is going from bad to worse, said resident Karen Urtnowski at the Sept. 3 CDN-NDG council meeting.

In the whole area between Sherbrooke and de Maisonneuve, there is only one block with parking permits for residents.

Rather than address her question to the local district councillor, Peter McQueen, she confronted Marvin Rotrand, who is vice-president of the STM.

“You have to acknowledge that not everyone can make the modal shift from automobile to bus and metro. We have a plan to increase universal accessibility in our public transit system but we still have a long way to go. It’s not just a matter of wheelchair access. We have all kinds of people with all kinds of medical conditions. There are many people who, if they don’t drive a car, don’t go anywhere, they can’t go to work,” she said.

That morning, Urtnowski, who lives at the corner of Melrose and Sherbrooke, had to drive around for miles to find a parking spot five blocks away, at Hampton and Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, because she couldn’t find anything closer.

The day of the meeting, she had to pay for parking at a meter on Sherbrooke St. “There was no place to park anywhere close to my home,” she said.

She was hoping for some sort of promise of a solution, not the official line of the STM, but Marvin Rotrand rolled the ball into Peter McQueen’s court. “It was a societal choice and in fact Mr. McQueen’s party has an even more ambitious plan to double transit ridership. The main strategy for that, what gets the best bang for the buck, is bus lanes and everybody agrees with that.”

McQueen signed off on the council bus lane proposal based on the information that was provided.

Rotrand suggested that the resident approach her councillor and try to make a case for reserved parking stickers for residents, a program that exists in many parts of the city. “If residents vote in favour of it, parking stickers are awarded, and certain spots are taken out of general public parking. During the busiest hours it becomes reserved for them,” he said.

Marie Cicchini |
Photo : Marie Cicchini

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