a young man riding a skateboard down a street: City workers install bollards as the Terrebonne St. bike path is extended to Cavendish St. on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020.

© Allen McInnis
City workers install bollards as the Terrebonne St. bike path is extended to Cavendish St. on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020.

Loyola councillor Christian Arseneault issued a mea culpa Tuesday about the controversial Terrebonne bicycle path in Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.


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“We need to admit when we got things wrong, and on this one, we got it wrong, not because it was a bad idea, but because it was a good idea poorly implemented,” Arseneault told the Montreal Gazette.

Arseneault said all three councillors in the Projet Montréal party to which he adheres will vote in favour of a motion to nix the path that opposition councillors Marvin Rotrand and Lionel Perez plan to propose at the next borough council meeting, scheduled for Sept. 8.

Flanked by a group of residents and representatives from St. Monica’s Church Tuesday morning, Rotrand said that while he voted for the idea of the bike path in June, the anger of citizens should have been clear to borough mayor Sue Montgomery from the outset and forced her to rethink the plan or cancel it.

“We say there’s very little social benefit for this little-utilized bike path,” Rotrand said as city workers were installing new posts to the section of the path between Madison St. and Cavendish Blvd. that was extended over the weekend. “It’s badly conceived and we should have listened to the citizens by now.”

Arseneault said he was disappointed at how the issue played out.

“We turned a good idea into something that was really problematic,” Arseneault said, speaking for fellow councillors Peter McQueen and Magda Popeanu. “There was truly no communication, and we have to do our mea culpa and even if it was a temporary project. The least we could have done was communicate with residents in the month between when the file was approved and when the posts went up.”

Arseneault said he’s not sure how quickly the path can be taken down, but said he would like it to be a priority as the workers from the central city remove all the borough’s summertime measures adopted to allow more sharing of streets between cars, pedestrians and cyclists.

“We will be asking (the city’s centre services) to prioritize the rapid removal of Terrebonne … the sooner the better. It pains us to have to dismantle this so soon, but residents are in pain because of our poor communication.”

He added that he still hopes to bring back a bike path on the street in some form that would be more acceptable to residents for next year.

In a statement, Montgomery said she stood by the decision to improve safety for the borough’s cycling community.

“We have worked together with the EMSB to make adjustments for the school community. As we continue to receive feedback from residents, we are making adjustments,” the statement read.

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