Turcot project should please everyone, but doesn’t

This week in St. Henri there was a public consultation meeting for the Ministry of Transport’s Turcot project, which will see the Turcot Interchange (Highways 15, 20 and 720) reconstructed primarily at ground-level (saving money for maintenance, clearing some views and helping easing tensions of driving through an intersection built on decaying stilts).

The project would also see reconstruction of Highway 15/20 through Ville Emard (which would be lowered significantly now that giant ships aren’t passing through the Lachine Canal anymore), and more interestingly Highway 20 through Turcot Yards, which would be moved next to the Falaise St-Jacques along with new train tracks:

Turcot Yards redevelopment

This would free up a giant lot to be developed (though nobody’s come up with a good idea of what to do on it).

Though the MTQ has been holding consultation meetings, there are organized protests against the project, most notably from the Village des Tanneries, a small neighbourhood in western St. Henri whose residents are afraid their homes will be expropriated by the government and they’ll be stuck without fair value for them.

Other concerns include:

  • That the Falaise St-Jacques, a protected eco-territory, will be made inaccessible by putting a highway and railway next to it. (Of course, it’s already inaccessible, mostly because it sits on a cliff.)
  • That residents in neighbouring cities and boroughs (Westmount, NDG, Montreal West, Lachine, Sud-Ouest, Ville-Marie, Verdun, etc.) are not being sufficiently consulted by their municipal and borough governments.
  • That not enough is being done to ease traffic on local streets, especially in Montreal West (where a new highway access from Brock Ave. is being planned), Ville Emard’s Cabot neighbourhood (where accesses are being reworked to the 15/20 at de la Verendrye to simplify access to industrial areas for trucks), and NDG (where the MUHC is being built at the old Glen yard with no apparent direct access to the highway, and where the St-Jacques onramp to Highway 720 East is being made more complicated).

But when it comes down to it, the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. A giant space will be made available and nobody will have to cross a highway to get there. The highway will have a natural barrier on one side, eliminating the need to make those ugly artificial sound walls on that side. And it’ll be much cheaper and easier to maintain the highest-trafficked highway interchange in Quebec.

It should be an extremely popular project. Unfortunately, citizens are getting short-changed at public meetings. This is entirely the boroughs’ faults. They’re saying it’s the MTQ’s problem and cutting off debate at council meetings, without mentioning that the MTQ is coming to the boroughs to take the pulse of citizens’ issues.

Let’s not let bureaucracy get in the way of progress, shall we? Let’s work together to make this work and see the creation of a new neighbourhood when this is all done… in 2015. Maybe.

5 thoughts on “Turcot project should please everyone, but doesn’t

  1. Neath

    You should mention renegade bloggers as well :P. One thing that just jumps out at me is them saying the new interchange will lower maintenance costs. Hello? This is the organization that has been lowballing maintenance costs, let alone even making proper assessments of highway overpasses, for over 40 years. The word “spaghetti” enters into their talk about the current interchange a lot. You have a bunch of ramps going exactly where they are supposed to go, but somehow that is bad. Take a closer look at the plan and you will see there will still be plenty of elevated stuff there, except maybe the new word will be “lasagna”.

    The “Cabot” area of Cote Saint Paul is an industrial/residential area where the locals got shafted by the city years ago when they tried to get a fair price for their land which is in a heavily contaminated area. Businesses will close and not just because the land will be expropriated but because traffic will be avoiding key places like the plague for years during the construction phase. If you think Saint Lawrence street is a disaster this year just wait to see the effects of Projet Turcot on businesses in especially the South West.

    Anyway, I would like to like the plan to be honest, but have zero faith that the “to be developed” area will not end up being a new industrial zone. And there are satellite issues, 4 interchanges are to be replaced and that will divert traffic simultaneously over the whole south west side of the city. Will the new interchange become the future east west dividing line for the island? There is just an enormous amount of possible negatives that sprawl around this plan – it s uncanny. 6 years is plenty of time to screw a lot of stuff up. and on it goes…..

    Reply
  2. Jacques

    Benefits – what benefits? improving car flow means more cars – more pollution
    Never mind I’ve been offered 64 cents on the dollar for my triplex.
    That means loosing 3 yrs salary. Bankrupcy here I come – I’ll be in dept for the rest of my life.

    Reply
  3. Neath

    Exactly. It s the Catch 22 of urban freeways, even if you could actually improve it, say a typical commute from Pointe Claire to downtown and, realistically, 30 seconds is an improvement, many borderline train takers would get back on the road. Urban sprawl didn’t work. Everyone knows it, but like global warming, it s kind of overwhelming to face it dead on.

    Reply
  4. Amis de Meadowbrook

    Les Amis de Meadowbrook is getting together with groups that support the Falaise with a plan for a Trame Verte.

    We have been working on the idea of a green belt in the south west of Montreal with Patrick Asch of Heritage Laurentien.

    It’s possible to link up the Parc des Rapides, Douglas Hospital grounds, Angrignon Park, the Falaise, and Meadowbrook. Residents of the west and south west would be able to enjoy bicycle paths, cross country ski trails and walking trails. This could bring tourists in and provide other benefits to this area. Eventually this could also be extended to Lachine.

    This is quite urgent, because of the rebuilding of the Turcot Interchange, which could affect the Falaise. There are also plans in the works to develop Meadowabrook Golf Course.

    If any one knows of community groups and other individuals in the south west that would be willing to support this idea, please e-mail:

    savemeadow@yahoo.ca

    Reply

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