Residents say safety measures coming to dangerous Pierrefonds-Roxboro street fall short

·3 min read
A memorial is set up on the shoulder of Lalonde Boulevard where a 15-year-old girl died last month after being struck by a car near the Saraguay Street intersection in Pierrefonds. (Valeria Cori-Manocchio/CBC - image credit)
A memorial is set up on the shoulder of Lalonde Boulevard where a 15-year-old girl died last month after being struck by a car near the Saraguay Street intersection in Pierrefonds. (Valeria Cori-Manocchio/CBC - image credit)

In a special meeting Monday, Pierrefonds-Roxboro borough councillors voted to adopt traffic-calming measures to help slow vehicles on Lalande Boulevard, where a 15-year-old girl was struck and killed by a car last month.

Residents who live near the narrow, house-lined road in the West Island have long called it dangerous and have asked for safety measures.

"We go for walks with my kids and it's terrifying," said Kristel Andrews, a nearby resident. She says cars whiz down Lalande to avoid traffic lights on Gouin Boulevard.

Starting this week, changes coming to the street include a speed limit of 30 km/h (down from 40), more speed-limit signs and two strategically placed speed bumps.

"We know that all of that does help and we're looking at implementing that as early as this week, starting with some of the signage," said Pierrefonds-Roxboro Mayor Dimitrios "Jim" Beis. He says the speed bumps and an electric speed radar will be added within the next few weeks.

But Andrews isn't convinced these proposed short-term solutions are enough to stop speeding motorists.

"I just don't think people care," she said, noting that cars appear to go 100 km/h in the 40 km/h speed zone. She says adding multiple speed bumps and having more police in the area will make people "too afraid to go fast."

More long-term solutions afoot

With three schools nearby, residents say there are always kids riding their bikes and plenty of pedestrians on the street.

"It should be a scenic place for people to walk by to enjoy the view and the river," said Antoinette Toni, a resident who's lived in the neighbourhood for 48 years and currently lives on Lalande.

She thinks the borough's short-term plans are a "very, very good idea," but more needs to be done to make the road safer for pedestrians.

"Make a sidewalk and a one-way only," she said. "The road is too narrow here, you can't really have both traffics here."

Kate McKenna/CBC
Kate McKenna/CBC

There is no sidewalk on the stretch of road, but instead a gravel shoulder that cuts into the manicured front lawns of the waterfront homes. There is no parking on the street, which has wooden electrical poles along its northern edge.

The mayor says the borough is planning on hiring an engineering firm to provide more long-term recommendations and solutions, whether they be making the street a one-way or allotting part of it to pedestrians and bikes only.

"Right now the immediate need for us is to really secure the area and give the residents at least some sense of security," Beis said.

'Shouldn't be waiting for a tragedy'

The borough, police and engineers have been reviewing potential changes to the boulevard for years, Beis said, but space constraints and environmental restrictions have stood in the way of changing the infrastructure.

Meanwhile, Melissa Onofrio, who moved to the neighbourhood just one year ago, says she's wondering if she made the right decision

"The street, at night, it's a race-car track," she said.

Onofrio believes adding two speed bumps could be beneficial, but overall, the proposed actions come a little too late.

"It's a residential area, it's a residential park, there's children everywhere," she said.

"You shouldn't be waiting for a tragedy."

As of Monday, Montreal police say no charges have been laid against the 59-year-old man who careened into the 15-year-old girl on the shoulder of Lalonde last month. The SPVM says the investigation is ongoing.

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