Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante was defending her record amid criticism she has done nothing improve a corner where a pedestrian was killed.
Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante was on the defensive Monday amid criticism her Ville-Marie borough has done too little to make changes to a street corner where a pedestrian was killed on Dec. 12.
A woman was struck by a dump truck while trying to cross Atwater Ave. The truck had made a left turn from Tupper St. onto Atwater, and is believed to have been coming from the construction site of a condominium complex at the old Children’s Hospital.
In the wake of the woman’s death, a neighbourhood association has called on the city to make the area safer, saying the dangers of that intersection have been known for years.
Bernard Sanchez, the president of the Shaughnessy Village Association, told La Presse his group has tried for weeks to get a meeting with Plante, who is also mayor of the Ville-Marie borough.
Speaking with reporters Monday, Plante said the city is aware of the dangers in the area, but it will take several weeks or even months to come up with a proper solution to improve safety.
“It is an area where there is a lot of traffic. There’s always a concern finding a balance for citizens and the people living around while having access for cars and trucks. We’re always looking for ways to improve that area,” Plante said.
“That being said, that area is not an easy one, and it does take time. We did a big consultation that will (have results made public) this spring, so that’s going to be helpful. We also asked for a report, and Atwater is a busy street.”
She said any solutions the city enacts for Atwater have to be taken in consideration of the whole neighbourhood.
“One thing I want to make sure is if I put measures on Atwater, which is a big street, I don’t want to have trucks on local streets,” she said.
Terri Griffin-Burman, a friend of the woman who was killed, wrote to the Montreal Gazette that the dangers of that intersection have been known for years and are preventable. She said among the problems is a priority signal for pedestrians that lasts just six seconds.
Plante said the solution is not as simple as adding more time to cross, because that would affect traffic flow elsewhere on Atwater, since the lights are synchronized.
“Having a longer time to cross is absolutely necessary,” Plante said. “It may look very simple, but we have to make sure there is some fluidity.
“I’m not putting traffic before human lives, but still, this is a city and we have economic activity and we need to have fluidity. So it’s a balance.”
Plante said the city’s “mobility squad” is often on the scene of that construction site to check on traffic flow and safety, and the Ville-Marie borough recently enacted a bylaw requiring construction crews to set up a security perimeter.