Construction in Montreal's Plateau borough bound to frustrate drivers for next couple of years

Driving through parts of Montreal's Plateau borough can be tough at the best of times, but some residents say major roadwork on Pine Ave. has turned their neighbourhood into a dangerous maze.

The neighbourhood east of St. Laurent Blvd. can be difficult to navigate by car with its narrow one-way streets.

For the next two years at least it's going to be a lot worse with major construction on Pine closing the street in both direction both directions between Saint-Denis St. And Saint-Laurent Blvd.

"It seems like a very very long time to cut off such an important east-west artery and to not mitigate neither the transportation, neither the parking; none of it," said Harry Toulch Optomitrists owner Michael Toulch.

Toulch's optometry business is across the street from the work site, and when it's all finished at the end of 2022, the city plans to tear up the rest of the street that runs to Parc Ave.

"Maybe that's what they're trying to do is drive business to the Dix-30 or to Royalmount and away from the area," said Toulch. "I think city doesn't want consumers. They just want me to serve people who can get here on foot."

Even residents who get around on foot say the construction is over the top, and that the neighbourhood has become unsafe.

"There's an elementary school to the east over there, and the mothers are wondering how are the kids going to cross and safely get to the school," said resident Louise Markovsky.

Markovsky added that the detours through the community are so confusing that drivers often get frustrated and drive recklessly.

"They can't figure out what they're doing and then they drive fast," she said. "They drive fast, a kid comes out between a car, an elderly person comes out, a person with headphones comes by, on a bike, on a thing, walking whatever, and an accident happens."

The situation is even worse for people with mobility issues.

"There's major bumps here," one resident said. "We can't go. It's too much for us. We're going to have to go in the street and in the street it's not, it's dangerous."

The city said, however, that the work needs to be done as the pipes need fixing and the end result will be worth it.

"At the end you know it will be safer, greener, and also it will not be deficient," said City of Montreal executive committee member Sylvain Ouellet. 

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