First public consultation on Mount Royal pilot project draws sharp critiques

At the first of two planned public consultation sessions over the city’s controversial plan to temporarily restrict access to the service roads across Mount Royal,

Though relatively few people turned out for the consultation — only around one hundred were present in the cavernous ballroom at the Hôtel Bonaventure — those who came were overwhelmingly opposed to the planned pilot project.

Before the public were permitted to pose questions and comments to the representatives present for the consultation, representatives from the city delivered a nearly forty-minute-long presentation outlining the specifics of the plan, which will see the Camillien-Houde and Remembrance access roads across the mountain closed to private vehicles from the beginning of June until the end of October.

The office of public consultation highlighted as well that these will not be the only opportunities for citizens to make their feelings on the pilot project known, indeed, online surveys and in-person consultations will continue to take place over the coming months, during and after the pilot project’s run.

Many of those who expressed displeasure at the pilot project complained that it will take much longer for them to get downtown from Côte-des-Neiges.

One woman claimed a trip for her would be lengthened from 3 to 20 minutes once the pilot project began.

Another man opined that the city may not be getting accurate data form the traffic studies it plans to conduct before and during the roads’ closure.

As he questioned officials on the usefulness of the project, one man said, “it seems to me that this is a solution seeking a problem.”

Not every person present for the consultation was focusing solely on vehicle access across the mountain, however.

One woman raised the issue of access for mobility-impaired people to Mount Royal Park once vehicular parking is limited, suggesting that wheelchair-rentals on the mountaintop be made available. Another suggested that washroom facilities be added and expanded in the mountaintop park once vehicular access is limited.

Officials were more receptive to some questions and comments than others, welcoming suggestions surrounding accessibility issues, but cautioning cross-mountain commuters to wait until traffic studies are conducted for a clearer picture.

A second public consultation session will be held next week on May 15th at the Église Notre-Dame de Neiges.