St. Denis St. merchants send City of Montreal legal notice over bike lane project

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by Adam Kovac, CTV Montreal

Owners of several St-Denis St. businesses sent a legal notice to the City of Montreal on Tuesday warning that construction of express bike lanes could spell doom for the street's merchants.

In an open letter sent out on Tuesday signed by attorneys representing the owners of Concept Zone, Georges Laoun Optician and Mycoboutique Inc. accused the city of kicking businesses while they're down.

"Against all odds, in the midst of a pandemic crisis and after the merchants of St-Denis St. suffered a long construction project (2016-17) which had serious consequences, the municipal administration is moving forward with the work development of the Express Bicycle Network (REV)," wrote lawyer Denis Cloutier. "The timing of this could not be worse. While successive construction sites and the endless pandemic have weakened or closed several businesses, the city decided to go ahead with work whose foreseeable impact under the circumstances is serious for all businesses struggling to survive all these hardships."

Cloutier accused "the mayor of mobility" of reducing traffic on St-Denis to one northbound lane only and of the REV project resulting in "a state of semi-disorganization from Roy in the south to St-Joseph in the north."

"Our clients note the virtual absence of parking spots on the street, the difficulty to circulate there even by bicycle, to stop a vehicle there for delivery purposes and the difficulty of circulating for pedestrians," said Cloutier.

The lawyer said the city's response to merchants' concerns has been lacking, with only vague talk of compensation. 

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