• John Jantak

Pincourt says no to referendum on Duhamel multi-use path


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Pincourt resident Carmen Pilote asks Mayor Yvan Cardinal whether the town would consider holding a referendum regarding the possibility of changing Chemin Duhamel back into a two-way roadway.

Pincourt Mayor Yvan Cardinal dismissed the possibility of holding a referendum to ask residents whether they favour restoring Chemin Duhamel back into a two-way roadway after the issue was raised during a special town council information meeting held at the Omni-Centre on Tuesday evening, June 20.

Resident Carmen Pilote, who presented a petition with 512 signatures from area residents opposed to the permanent one-way change at the regular monthly council meeting last week, said she was disappointed with the mayor’s firm stand on the issue especially since it was done without any consultation among area residents who have been directly affected by the change.

Many residents support the change

Despite complaints made by Pilote and several other residents during the meeting about the one-way status of Duhamel, Cardinal pointed out that many citizens support the change because it allows them to use the former southbound portion of the road, regarded as a multi-use path, safely without having to contend with two-way vehicle traffic.

Cardinal also said the conversion of Duhamel has enabled more people, from children to seniors, to use the path and the town has no intention to revert the roadway back to its former two-way status because of the overall positive feedback the town has received since the conversion.

He added that since the permanent reconfiguration of Duhamel into a riverside promenade will be paid for by all the town’s taxpayers, all citizens should have the opportunity to use the revamped path even though residents along Duhamel and the various side streets within the area are directly affected by the change.

Duhamel residents never consulted

While the mayor did not dismiss the petition outright, Cardinal said if it really was such a contentious issue, the petition would have been presented to the town earlier.

“I’m not too happy about this because a lot of people have said they do not want this and the mayor didn’t take notice to what people have been telling him. It’s only going ahead because he wants it regardless of what the people have been telling him,” Pilote told Your Local Journal.

Residents had not been consulted beforehand about the one-way conversion of Duhamel which officially came into effect almost one year ago as a pilot project to determine its effect on traffic and impact on the area, said Pilote.

“That’s why I only started the petition last October,” said Pilote. “I thought that maybe people are going to like the path and they’re going to regret signing the petition. But when I started to approach people they said they were waiting for me to bring them the petition so they could sign it.

Pilote added that before the conversion of Duhamel last year, there seemed to be more mutual respect between the cyclists, pedestrians and motorists and that the current spate of problems amongst the various users only began to manifest itself soon after the conversion took effect.

Overall positive feedback

Cardinal disputed Pilote’s claims saying the overall feedback since the conversion has been mostly positive. He said many residents, especially parents with young children on bicycles and toddlers in strollers, said they feel more secure using the multi-use path and not have to contend with oncoming vehicles.

While the overall feedback may be positive, some supporters of the promenade also complained that the mix of cyclists and pedestrians has unintentionally created problems between both groups of users. Some cyclists are apparently creating dangerous situations by recklessly speeding along the path and disregarding pedestrians.

Some people suggested the town should consider installing speed limit signs and speed bumps to try to get cyclists to slow down. The permanent reconversion of Duhamel which was supposed to take place this year has been postponed until 2018 because of an ongoing labour dispute between construction workers and the provincial government.

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