• James Armstrong

Traffic lights solution for congestion in Saint-Lazare


Afternoon rush hour traffic of motorists heading home to Saint-Lazare will soon be regulated by the installation of traffic lights at the corner of Che­min Saint-Louis and Avenue Bédard.

A solution for the chronic traffic problems at the intersection of Chemin Saint Louis and Avenue Bédard is on its way in the form of traffic lights. Saint-Lazare Town Council adopted a resolution authorizing the preparation of plans and specifications and oversight of the project by the engineering firm Induktion Groupe Conseil Inc. at a cost of $21,442.84.

“Basically, now we will be asking for tenders to install traffic lights at that intersection,” said Mayor Robert Grimaudo following the council meeting on Tuesday, May 14. When asked if the choice of a traffic light solution for the intersection was the result of a public consultation study held in 2018, the mayor declined to comment. During the previous administration, the installation of a traffic circle or roundabout was a proposed long-term solution versus traffic lights. The study, carried out by Léger in 2018, found that fixing the problem of that intersection was the top priority in a list of four priorities that included the Equestrian Festival (Au Galop), the use of the downtown core, and the Parc Nature les Forestiers.

According to the study posted on the town’s website, 65 per cent of the 400 participants were in favour of the installation of a traffic circle. When asked why they favoured a traffic circle, there were three responses – it’s the best solution, avoids unnecessary waiting at traffic lights, and is the least expensive option. The 29 per cent opposed to the traffic circle responded that other solutions such as traffic lights were available, there weren’t any real problems at the intersection, and that a traffic circle was very expensive and dangerous.

“I’m not 100 per cent sure whether or not this will resolve the traffic situation but this was council’s decision,” said Grimaudo.

Financially healthy town

The audited financial report for 2018 was presented during the regular May council meeting.

“We are in great financial health,” said Grimaudo with a smile. “Basically, the financial report is a report card on the town’s finances and we scored very well.” With an accumulated surplus of $98,162,938 and long-term debt of $26,880,006 the mayor had every reason to smile.

“The surplus is cash flow,” he added, “particularly when there is an emergency.” He said the town had been able to negotiate low interest rates for the debt. He described the town as having a total value of almost $3 billion. Compared to that, he noted the long-term debt amount was low. With a population of 20,314, it costs $1.03 per $100 of evaluation per resident, according to the report.

“Part of that debt is sectorial, meaning only a certain part of the town is paying that part of the debt,” said Grimaudo.

Changing Chaline Valley stop signs

As part of the work site planning for the stabilization project in Chaline Valley, council approved a resolution permitting the installation of all-direction stop signs at the intersection of Charbonneau and Chaline Streets, Carillon and Duhamel Streets, and the intersection of Montée Saint-Robert, Saint-Dominique and Lotbinière Roads. The speed bumps currently in place on Chaline Street between Charbonneau and Calypso will be removed for the duration of the work. The resolution also recommended to the Ministry of Transport to install all-direction stop signs at the intersection of Route 340 (Blvd. Cité-des-Jeunes) and Saint-Dominique Road.

Marijuana money

In other business, council approved the reception of a grant from the Ministère des Affaires municipales et de l’Habitation (MAMH) for a maximum of $49,441 to cover the costs of anything related to the legalization of cannabis for the years 2019 and 2020.

“It was totally unexpected,” said Grimaudo adding that every town and city in Quebec had received a similar grant from the provincial government based on population.

“It’s to cover the cost of any modifications to by-laws or security costs related to the new cannabis law,” said the mayor. “It comes with very few conditions.”