Montreal firefighters union says traffic-calming measures are slowing down response times

MONTREAL FIRETRUCK

The Montreal firefighters' union is sounding the alarm over response times being slowed down in part by the increasing number of traffic-calming measures.

An access to information document obtained by CJAD 800 shows response times have increased on average by 16 seconds over the past eight years. In some boroughs, it's as much as 32 seconds.

Union spokesman Richard Lafortune said the biggest obstacle is all the roadwork and resulting traffic but another major problem is all the new speedbumps, wider corner sidewalks and other traffic-calming measures.

"We do understand that some of these measures are necessary to increase security of the people but we do know they have an effect on firefighters' response times when an emergency occurs," said Lafortune in an interview with CJAD 800.

Lafortune said some measures are poorly located or designed and they should be consulted about such urban planning. Lafortune said he doesn't believe public safety is at risk.

"For now to avoid breakage and injuries, if we can, we are taking detours that still represent a good response time, sometimes slower, but everyone and equipment is safe," said Lafortune.

"We are the ones who are taking those streets to respond to our firecalls so I think our opinions should count."

Montreal fire service officials deny there's a link between the longer response times and the traffic-calming measures, adding that there are "many variables." They do say that they are working with a safety committee to strike a balance for solutions.