Have Your Say: Pedestrians,
cyclists and drivers

Residents choose their mode of transportation on a particular day for reasons they consider legitimate

January 27, 2021

Recently, a local paper published several letters, which have tended to criticize drivers or cyclists. In our opinion, people behind the wheel of a car or on a bike are not good or bad. Choosing to drive does not necessarily mean the driver is uncaring about the environment. Many drivers are also cyclists, and most cyclists are also drivers. Residents choose their mode of transportation on a particular day for reasons they consider legitimate.

Our pedestrian and cycling association wants to help ensure that Westmount residents have the choice to walk or cycle safely – something which unfortunately is not the case at this time. While Westmount has sidewalks on both sides of every street, they are sometimes slippery in winter, making it particularly difficult for seniors to walk safely.

As for cycling, Westmount currently has few bike paths and only the de Maisonneuve and the Glen paths are protected by plastic posts in summer as opposed to year-round concrete protection found on some bike paths in Montreal. Without protection, most residents do not feel safe cycling around our City and few parents allow their children to cycle to school.

As cities around the world have demonstrated, once authorities provide safe infrastructure, residents use it. BTW, cycling up Westmount hills is easy with increasingly popular electric-assisted bikes.

Faced with abundant space to drive and park, occasionally slippery sidewalks in winter and scarce bike paths year-round, it is not surprising that most residents choose to drive (solo 90% of the time). We feel the City should provide better snow cleaning and more protected bike paths so residents can choose their preferred mode of transportation.

While our association encourages both walking and cycling, since the start of COVID, we have focussed on walking. In the spring, we urged the City to provide social distancing corridors and recently we asked the City to keep streets like de Maisonneuve safe for residents wanting to walk while social distancing until COVID is no longer a threat.

This winter, we are monitoring the safety of sidewalks because so many residents, especially seniors, need to get out for a walk. The City has committed to further improving sidewalk snow cleaning, so we are trying to help the City achieve that goal.

Dan Lambert
Association of Pedestrians and Cyclists of Westmount

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of WestmountMag.ca or its publishers.

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