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Cyclists a nightmare for some
Article mis en ligne le jeudi 27 mai 2010

A resident with reduced mobility raised public safety issues over speeding cyclists hijacking the sidewalks along Decarie and also decried the limited access to buildings for the handicapped and the elderly at the May 3 borough council meeting.

Joseph Basciano complained to the police in March about cyclists on the sidewalks. “Although I sympathize with cyclists who have no bike pathways, that’s not an excuse for them to hijack our sidewalks and put the handicapped, the elderly and children in danger. I wish those people could use more common sense and understand that there are people who need to use the sidewalk more than they do.”

The answer to his complaint to the police was that they need to focus most of their cars on Cote des Neiges rather than on Decarie because there are stores and would-be shoplifters there. “But there are stores and would-be shoplifters on Decarie too, so why give me such an answer?” asked Mr. Basciano.

Councillor Marvin Rotrand didn’t have an answer to that question but used the occasion to make an appeal to cyclists who might read about the issue in the local newspapers. “Please wear helmets, be respectful of the rules of the road and try not to ride on the sidewalks. We have to cohabitate. There are different modes of transport including active transportation like walking. Through our new transfats policy we are encouraging people to walk and cycle more. It’s impossible to make everybody happy all the time.”

Rotrand did not fully agree with the resident. It’s true that some people break the law, he said, but most people are actually responsible. He said that the police department has been working on the resident’s specific complaints.

Basciano also complained that accessibility to public buildings is being neglected by the borough administration. About 45 % of the buildings along Decarie and Queen-Mary are not accessible for wheelchairs, he said, and most of the problems could be resolved by giving grants and tax deductions to establishments that want a ramp or would be willing to pay $500 to have one.

Councillor Rotrand pointed out that the City already has a universal access program for municipal buildings. He also noted that the Société du transport de Montréal (STM) is replacing all its older buses with an all low-floor fleet that can accommodate people with reduced mobility. The new buses will have more efficient and reliable ramps than the old ones.

The resident also complained about accessibility to the Metro supermarket on Queen Mary Road. Rotrand replied that the mayor wrote to the private company to ask whether they will address this issue and are willing to make the store handicap accessible.

[Marie Cicchini ]

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