Vanier residents say city buses speeding, driving dangerously down residential street

Major construction on Montreal Road is forcing increased traffic through Vanier neighbourhoods.

OC Transpo buses have been rerouted and a number now drive down Deschamps Avenue regularly. 

"I support public transportation, I understand why the buses have to use our street but it’s just to make it more tolerable for us who live here, just to reduce the number of busses, not have as many of them, and have the drivers be more respectful to the people who live here," said Varvara Lobanova, a resident of Deschamps Avenue. 

Lobanova says the increase in bus traffic has been dramatic. 

"I’ve seen buses go back to back, two three at a time, they’re running empty because there’s not as many people taking them. It’s created a lot of issues for us; safety, health, pollution, noise," Lobanova said. 

Residents on the street have captured video of buses not stopping at stop signs. They say it's creating a dangerous situation on what used to be a quiet street. 

"They go through the stop signs, they almost hit me and my dog. There’s so many kids around here, somebody’s going to get hit," said Aline Nicol, another Deschamps Avenue resident. 

Coun. Mathieu Fleury says he’s heard from a number of residents about the issue. 

"We are going down Deschamps Ave, we are going down Marier Ave, we are going down Montfort Street; they’re traditional bus routes. Obviously, I recognize that because of the detour that the 15 is carrying a lot more buses than what the residential streets would typically have outside of a construction period," said Fleury.

"OC Transpo needs to make sure that their bus operators respect the rules of the road. When you’re in a residential street and there’s a stop sign, we’re expecting you to stop." 

Among the concerns is the frequency with which the buses are arriving. Bus signs on the street indicate a 15-minute frequency, but residents say that’s not been the case. 

"It’s not happening at 15-minutes intervals, it’s happening back to back, or five minutes or less," Lobanova said. 

In an email on June 25, the Montreal Road Revitalization Project Team wrote, "Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, we are currently seeing decreased traffic volumes causing Salome trips to run ahead of schedule."

Friday, in a statement to CTV News, Pat Scrimgeour, OC Transpo Director of Customer Systems and Planning said, "There has been no increase in bus volumes. Frequencies vary though out the day from every 7-8 minutes during peak periods, 15 minutes during midday and evening and 20 to 30 minutes later in the evening. While some variation in arrivals may be observed due to traffic conditions, the total number of busses has not changed."

Still, Fleury says he’s hoping there are other steps that can be taken to reassure residents. 

"We need to do a better job of putting in the right traffic calming measures and we’re pursuing that with staff for the time being," Fleury said.  

The route detouring buses on to Deschamps Avenue is expected to be in place until construction finishes in late 2022.