Île-Perrot mayors supportive of Ste. Anne’s left-turn restriction
PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK
Public transport buses have been temporarily exempted from the left-hand turn ban during rush hour to give transit companies time figure out their new routes and adjust their schedules for different stops.
The anticipated traffic nightmare forecast for the inauguration of a new traffic restriction took effect on Monday afternoon, September 17, in Ste. Anne de Bellevue never happened.
It was the first day when motorists became obliged to adhere to new regulations that forbid left-hand turns from Saint-Pierre Street north onto the Highway 20 onramp between 4 and 6 p.m. from Monday to Friday.
“It was an excellent first day,” Mayor Paola Hawa told The Journal. “It went better than I expected. The streets in the village were empty. Ste. Elizabeth Street was completely clear. I can’t complain. We’ll see how things work out. I’m sure we’ll encounter some glitches.”
The city’s public security department and police officers from SPVM Station 1 were on-hand directing traffic and informing drivers of the new restrictions. Police were also set up at the commuter train station, Ste. Anne’s Hospital and the Valacta Dairy Production Centre parking lot on Anciens-Combattants Boulevard to make sure motorists weren’t trying to skirt the new regulations by making illegal U-turns.
Buses, which are also included in the left-turn ban, have been temporarily exempted to give public transit officials time to readjust their schedules, said Hawa. “The Presqu’Île sector buses need more time to figure out their routes and adjust their times for the different stops,” she said.
The one-year ban is a pilot-project meant to ease traffic congestion in the south sector of the city of Ste. Anne’s. Gridlock has been causing unprecedented safety concerns for area residents. City council is worried emergency crews will face serious delays when responding to situations in and around the village that could endanger people’s lives.
Île-Perrot mayors supportive
The mayors of L’Île-Perrot, Notre-Dame-de-l’île-Perrot (NDIP) and Pincourt said while they aren’t necessarily pleased at how the new restrictions will their affect citizens, they understand why they were put in place.
Mayor Pierre Séguin spent some time in Ste. Anne’s during the Monday afternoon rush hour assessing the situation. “There were a lot of police so it helped make the circulation very fluid. I don’t know what’s going to happen over time,” said Séguin.
He knows there are residents who commute every weekday to John Abbott and Macdonald Colleges in Ste. Anne’s who will be adversely affected, especially those who live nearby on Île-Bellevue and Île-Claude. “They now have to go to Morgan Boulevard in neighbouring Baie D’Urfé and make a U-turn at the underpass to re-enter Highway 20 West,” Séguin said.
The mayor is also pragmatic about the new reality. “It’s a small inconvenience. If there’s an emergency, making a seven-kilometre detour isn’t as bad as dying in a fire because the firemen can’t get to your house. Mayor Hawa is telling the Quebec government to make Highway 20 a proper highway as it was originally supposed to be,” said Séguin.
“Mayor Hawa is doing what she feels is best for her population,” said NDIP Mayor Danie Deschênes. “The city has a problem. I think she’s managing the issue correctly in terms of needing a proper highway. If we had one, we wouldn’t have to make a detour now to enter Île-Perrot. This decision is making conditions worse on Highway 20 but I definitely understand her position. I think I would do the same.
“The mayor has made this decision for the security of her citizens. It’s up to the provincial government to find the proper solutions. If people weren’t stuck at the traffic lights for three or four kilometres on Highway 20 in Île-Perrot, we wouldn’t be talking about this issue,” Deschênes added.
Mayor Yvan Cardinal said all the mayors of Île-Perrot, including Terrasse-Vaudreuil Mayor Michel Boudreau, were invited to a meeting arranged by Mayor Hawa who informed them of her intention to put the traffic restrictions in place.
“We said there are a lot of citizens on the island who will be affected, especially students who go to John Abbott College,” said Cardinal. “I respect the decision of Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue. It’s their responsibility to do what they want on their territory.”
He added that Mayor Hawa, along with all the mayors on the island of Île-Perrot, have been invited to participate at the next Highway 20 committee meeting by Vaudreuil Liberal MNA Marie-Claude Nichols to further discuss the situation and find solutions to the problem.