a person riding a bicycle on a city street: C.D.N.-N.D.G. mayor Sue Montgomery defended the Terrrebonne St. bike path, saying her administration had launched a survey to gather citizens' views and was setting up a working group to improve it.


© Dave Sidaway
C.D.N.-N.D.G. mayor Sue Montgomery defended the Terrrebonne St. bike path, saying her administration had launched a survey to gather citizens’ views and was setting up a working group to improve it.

Anger over the Terrebonne Street bike path spilled over at Montreal city council Monday.

Mayor Valérie Plante’s administration called a special meeting of council to extend the state of emergency it invoked in March, at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Residents’ fury over the west-end bike path dominated the public question period, with the majority of the 53 written questions submitted to council complaining about the path or administrative chaos in the Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough.

Last week, C.D.N.-N.D.G. mayor Sue Montgomery suspended the manager of the borough for the fourth time , only to have her decision overturned by the borough council, as on three previous occasions.

The suspension was for failing to extend the controversial bike path westward to Belmore Ave. in western N.D.G., as stipulated by a vote of the borough council in June approving a series of measures related to the pandemic.

Last weekend, city crews extended the bike path westward from Madison Ave. to Cavendish Blvd., a section occupied by two schools and a church.

Rev. Raymond Lafontaine of St. Monica’s Church complained Sunday that the path makes it impossible for elderly and limited-mobility parishioners to find parking, and prevents limousines and hearses from letting off and picking up people during weddings and funerals.

On Tuesday, residents will air their concerns at a news conference at the church, with independent councillor Marvin Rotrand and opposition leader Lionel Perez.

In Monday’s council meeting, Perez said he and Rotrand would propose a motion to remove the bike path at the next borough meeting on Sept. 8. He called on citizens who oppose it to attend that meeting.

Loyola councillor Chris Arseneault said citizens’ concerns are “absolutely legitimate” and acknowledged that communications over the bike path were handled poorly.

But Montgomery defended it, saying her administration had launched a survey to gather citizens’ views and was setting up a working group to improve the bike path .

Councillors voted to extend the state of emergency until next month’s city council meeting on Sept. 21.

The administration had initially proposed to extend it until the end of the month, but opposition councillors said they were not given sufficient information on the cost and impact of emergency measures the city has taken to date.

“We think it’s clear they took advantage of the pandemic to push forward their agenda. The most glaring example is the bike paths,” Perez said in an interview after the meeting.

Temporary pedestrian corridors created in response to the pandemic will be dismantled in mid-October, while bike paths will be taken down in late November.

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