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Borough confident NDG will get Bixis in 2011
Article mis en ligne le mercredi 18 août 2010
Photo Marie Cicchini
CDN has 12 Bixi stations.

NDG residents are wondering what’s keeping Bixis out of their neighbourhoods. While many Montreal boroughs are adopting active transportation policies and enjoying access to self-service bikes, residents in NDG and other parts of the borough can only look on in envy.

NDG residents definitely want Bixis. District councillor Peter McQueen is a strong supporter of expanding the network and would especially like to see Bixi stations at the Vendome and Villa Maria metro stations, at the NDG Community Centre and at the Maison Verte coop.

In early July, CDN-NDG officials had talks with the Public Bike System Company (PBSC), stating their interest in expanding the bike rental service to NDG. But since the system is based on stations being close together for easy drop-off, and since it would be difficult for Bixi to make the leap to NDG unless the city of Westmount is included, various scenarios are being studied.

“The borough is confident it will have Bixis in NDG in 2011, whether or not Westmount decides to go ahead. And it will be an immediate success,” said communications officer François Puchin. Bringing stations to NDG is not going to be stopped by Westmount. It’s just a matter of time, according to Puchin.

Westmount Mayor Peter Trent did not return our phone call. But Dan Lambert of the Westmount Walking and Cycling Association said that self-service bicycles are part of Westmount’s 10-point 2010 sustainable development plan, as reported by The Gazette.

But Westmount is in no rush. There are concerns about compromising its roads because Westmount is so densely built and needs parking spaces. Secondly, Mayor Peter Trent doesn’t know how much it will cost and, according to him, citizens aren’t showing enough interest.

Guy Sauvé, a Westmount resident, is so frustrated to see Bixis in many cities in the United States and Canada, in London and in Australia, but not in Westmount, that he decided against renewing his subscription. “Our mayor says it’s too complicated to come up with an agreement. He must be living in another world!” he commented on the Web.

Bixi Vélo says not to give up. “The more the system becomes popular, the more you create opportunities to add new Bixi stations in Montreal,” wrote the company’s spokesperson on the popular Bixi Facebook group.

PBSC, mandated to develop a public bike system for Montreal boroughs, is working on the next phases of the network. It is exploring viable options to complement busses and metro and suburban trains that service CEGEPs, businesses and shopping centres. On Aug. 2 it announced satellite pilot projects in four Montreal boroughs: Lasalle, St. Laurent, Verdun and Ahuntsic-Cartierville. No new stations were announced for CDN-NDG.

The borough is proud to be among those who offer the service, but PBSC has only provided a dozen stations in Cote des Neiges, not nearly enough to cover the entire territory. The borough doesn’t want a satellite pilot project for NDG like the ones announced last week; it wants to be directly connected to the main network.

[Marie Cicchini]

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