New Mount Royal road configuration angers drivers and cyclists

The road over Mount Royal has some new features and many drivers are not happy about the apparent double standard in enforcing the rules of the road.

The city of Montreal has turned a short section of Camillien Houde Way into an alternating one-way road, with traffic lights at each end to tell drivers when to proceed.

Cyclists are separated from cars and must ride on the shoulder, which several said they don't enjoy.

The new traffic lights were turned on Wednesday for the first time, and police officers were on hand to direct those unfamiliar with the new layout.

The lights alternate about every two minutes, and some drivers said they had to wait for several cycles before they were able to proceed.

But although cars must stop, cyclists do not, something which outraged drivers waiting in line.

While waiting at the light, which is red for several minutes at a time, one man stepped out of his car to ask a police cadet why they were ignoring cyclists going through the red light.

"The cyclists are burning the red light and you don't feel like giving them a ticket?" the man said to a police cadet.

Montreal Police Const. Veronique Dubuc told CTV Montreal that cyclists travelling on the two clearly marked shoulders of the road are not considered to be on the road, and so do not have to stop at lights.

Police cadets are also not authorized to hand out tickets.

 

Cyclists say layout is hazardous

Many cyclists riding up and down the mountain said the new layout was hazardous.

Daniel Plante said the shoulder of the road was poorly maintained and was unsafe to use for many people on two wheels because it contained "gravel, sand, holes, rocks."

"Instead of going down on the pavement with the cars you're stuck on the shoulder, and honestly I think there's going to be some injuries because of that," said Plante.

The city of Montreal came up with the idea for new traffic lights and an altered configuration for the mountain roads in May.

Officials went back to the drawing board after last year's pilot project to block through traffic over the mountain was soundly rejected by a massive outpouring of citizens during the public consultation process.

With notes from Julian McKenzie