Traffic wars in Kirkland

I always laugh when I hear about people in suburbs complaining about traffic. It seems everyone wants giant highways heading into downtown, but they don’t want anyone but them using their streets.

In Kirkland, there’s a street called Henri-Daoust St., that acts as a shortcut between Antoine-Faucon St. and Brunswick Blvd., a bit west of St. Charles Blvd. It’s a simple two-lane street that serves as a small artery for the area, and is used by the STM’s 201 and 261 buses. But it was also used by a lot of people in western Pierrefonds to get around traffic on St. Charles.

Because western Pierrefonds is an area that is continuing to expand with new developments, the problem is only getting worse.

So residents on that street demanded traffic-calming measures, preventing cars from using it as a shortcut, at least during rush hour.

Complicating matters is that one end of the street is in Pierrefonds, a borough of the city of Montreal, while most of it is in Kirkland, an independent city. Pierrefonds had no interest in preventing its residents from using the street, and Kirkland could not legally block people.

Finally Kirkland decided to prohibit cars from turning left from Henri-Daoust onto Brunswick during the morning rush hour (and the reverse during the afternoon rush). Once drivers were aware of this restriction, they would stop using the street.

And, as it turns out, that’s exactly what happened. More than 1,000 drivers stopped using the street as a shortcut, according to the city.

But residents still weren’t happy, and they went door-to-door trying to convince people to push the city for more action.

The city reacted alright, by telling residents they were removing the signs prohibiting left turns, effective Dec. 15. Residents say it’s “revenge”. The administration is being called “bullies”.

I don’t know whether this move is badass, or just being a total dick. It certainly seems a bit of a juvenile way to get one’s point across, if that’s the goal.

But the pamphlet being passed around by residents (PDF) clearly states that they don’t like the no-left-turns sign, that it wasn’t their idea but was only reluctantly accepted.

The truth is there is no way to make everyone happy. There are things to be done to calm traffic to make neighbourhoods more livable, but people who live in the suburbs have to come to realize that their way of life isn’t sustainable. Other people also want to live in the suburbs, and they will want to use your street.

And not every street can be a cul-de-sac.

33 thoughts on “Traffic wars in Kirkland

  1. ProposMontréal

    And that,S why I live downtown and work in the West Island. I’m reverse from everybody !!
    and since I’ve been working in the westisland for over 17 years now, I can say that they are a bunch of chialeux !

    Reply
  2. Vahan

    Sometimes suburnanites are so two faced. They always yell out catchphrases like safety of our children and quality of life, yet have you ever seen the front of an elementary school on the morning and after school. These SUV driving maniacs are coasting through stop signs, double parking, honking, talking on the phone while driving and generally being assholes just to get their lazy assed offsprings to school so they could rush off to their shitty jobs to pay for their one upmanship lifestyle. Also they always drop off their rude pukes at the mall, to waste the day there because you know the streets are too dangerous. One more thing, if you are ever in a restaurant on Thursday or Friday nights and there is a bunch of loud, straight highlighted haired, over made up women, I’ll bet you anything they are suburban “girls” on a night out, bad mouthing their goateed husbands.

    Reply
      1. Vahan

        There is a difference between anger and pointing out stupid and self absorbed. Go ahead hit a mall in the ‘burbs this weekend, an ideal weekend of caring and sharing. Try to drive into a mall off the highway and see how your fellow suburbanites will be accommodating. Look for a parking spot and then once parked, watch out when you try to walk towards the mall, because your fellow caring “not on my quiet street” neighbour is probably rolling to a stop, on his/her cellphone, while the kids are jumping out of the S.U.V to join up their wanna be gangsta look-a-like friends. So whatever you are doing at the malls is simply trickling down to your streets. You reap what you sow. No I am sure that is not what you do right? The car transforms people, you are in a bubble of false security.

        Reply
        1. Gazoo

          And this is different throughout the city, island, province?!
          This all happens just about everywhere Vahan, not just in the burbs.

          Reply
  3. AlexH

    Here’s the real problem: the main roads don’t flow well enough for people to stick with them.

    This is a great example of what happens when the main roads become congested, or don’t flow well. People head to smaller surface streets, looking for ways around the traffic. That traffic, it should be pointed out, would appear to be caused by traffic lights set up to help the flow from commercial / shopping centers in the area, as well as the somewhat restrictive connection to highway 40. There are no other simple ways to access Highway 40 (or anywhere else for that matter) from this area, with drives congestion.

    What appears to be needed is a new boulevard on the west side of the area, running from about the end of Boulevard Pierrefond (and up to Gouin for that matter) and down through to the Chemin St Marie exit. It would pull a fair number of cars off the St Charles road area, give everyone an alternate route, and certainly allow people who are heading west on the 40 to avoid the issue completely. For that matter, I could see it justified to connect all the way down to Highway 20 near Woodward.

    It’s one of those situations where as the burbs grow, there is a need for more roads to support them. The road I suggested would allow buses to run down directly to the train at Highway 20, which could also ease congestion by giving people and efficient and quick method to reach downtown from their “burb” houses.

    Reply
  4. Jason

    Here are my 10 ideas to help with the mess:

    1. Create a road that extends Antoine Faucon west until it reaches the Timberlea Trail area. The road can then go south until it connects to rue Meaney. There is a house missing if you look at the satellite maps. Make that same road go north until it connects to rue du Palomino/boul. Pierrefonds. Even a gravel road would be better than nothing.

    2. Create a new overpass over the 40 between rue de Berne and rue Daniel. The two streets are more or less half way between the St. Charles and Chem. St. Marie overpasses.

    3. Remove the house that is sitting at Chateau Pierrefonds/Chateau Kirkland and connect the streets. This will of course remove the gates as well.

    4. Remove the “no left” AND “no right” turn signs at both ends of Henri Daoust. (50% of the way there already!)

    5. Create a new urban boul that goes North/South, starting at boul. Gouin and ends at Lakeshore road (via Ave. Woodland). This new road will intersect: boul. Pierrefonds, the newly extended Antoine Faucon, rue des Deux-Maisons/boul Elkas, chemin St. Marie, the 40, an extended rue James Shaw/Alice Carriere, ave Elm. Maybe a even few more roads.

    An example of such a road: http://www.sigmawave.com/jason/new_road_2.jpg

    6. Remove a house on rue Poitiers (in Pierrefonds) so it can connect to rue Snair (in Kirkland).

    7. Redo the Antoine Faucon / St. Charles intersection so that it functions just like the Brunswick/St. Charles intersection. This means that there is no more priority right turn onto St. Charles and there are now two turning lanes.

    8. Remove the entrance to Tim Horton’s from Antoine Faucon.

    9. Connect boul. Morgan to chemin Morgan.

    10. On Antoine Faucon, during the winter months when we are not allowed to park on the street overnight, convert the parking lane into a reserved bus lane. East in the morning and west during the afternoon.

    Reply
      1. Jason

        The point of my 11 ideas was to have all of these road connections available so that no single street gets overloaded. You on the other hand have brought up a very valid question. In fact, I will ask an even better question. How do we reduce car traffic over the whole of Montreal? The only answer I can come up with is more and better public transit. Of course, that will only help so much. We will never get car traffic down to zero. Some people will need their cars to get from place to place.

        If we take myself for example, I don’t drive to downtown with my car. Why? I have two different trains I take as well as the STM 470 Bus from Pierrefonds. My schedule permits me to use public transit. I only drive within the West Island because public transit there sucks. It used to take me over an hour to go from St. Charles to boul. Sources by bus (for example, from the Wal-Mart to Guzzo). It now takes less than 10 minuets by car.

        Reply
      2. AlexH

        I think you have to accept that, in the West Island, at least part of every journey will involve either a car or an express bus. In order for either to work out, you have to have ways to get close enough to the people, and get them out at a reasonable speed.

        Yes, those cars coming out will still hit the same traffic jam that we see today. But the issue in the areas indicated would improve dramatically at rush hour, and would also improve the rest of the time as well. It would also allow for a new public transit corridor (from gouin to highway 20) that would end at the train station. That would encourage both the use of the bus/train combination, and make getting that line up to speed with more service a much higher priority item.

        If they could get the trains to an “every 30 minutes” frequency, they could even make much of the West Island bus routes centered onto this. A nice “one stop bus shuttle” from Fairview to here would likely also encourage use of the train rather than the long route through St Laurent to the metro, or along highway20 to LG metro. It’s a win for everyone.

        Reply
    1. Jason

      12. Create a commuter train using the Doney Spur Train Line (its starts at highway 13, near highway 40, heading west to around St. Jean). It can stops at St. Jean, Sources, Delmar, Douglas-B-Floreani and finally at the Bois-Franc Train station. Either the Bois-Franc would be the terminus or the train would continue all the way to Central Station. Of course the terminus at Bois-Franc would be there only if the Metro is extended to Bois Franc. While you are at it, create an underground tunnel connecting train station at St. Jean and the Fairview Bus Terminal and perhaps an entrance within Fairview itself. As an option, also create the station at Fairview but underground, right under the bus terminal that is there.

      13. Extend rue Sommerset south all the way to the 40, then create an overpass/underpass that connects Sommerset to ave. Stillview.

      Reply
      1. Jean Naimard

        Oh PUH-LEE-ZE!!!

        The Downey spur is less than 2 km away from the Rigaud line, and is a much more roundabout route to downtown. It runs near no residence so it would serve nobody at all (certainly not the plant workers, who certainly don’t live downtown).

        Now, if you want a rail line, the hydro corridor along Salaberry would be the place to put one.

        Reply
    2. Gazoo

      point 4 this has been done as of Thursday december 15th.

      point 6 good luck on that one!

      point 8 and good luck yet again on that one. The owner of the Tim’s will surely close
      that access off with bells on!

      A for effort though.

      Reply
  5. Derek Cassoff

    What about finally moving ahead with extending the 440 from Laval through Ile Bizard to connect with the 40 west of Ste. Marie? I’ve seen old maps where this in indicated as a “soon-to-be completed” route. This would serve two purposes:

    a) offer another north-south alternative to the 40 for the fast-growing West Pierrefonds sector;
    b) create a true bypass highway north of the city, which may take cars and trucks heading to Laval and points north off the T-Can before you hit the congestion of St. John’s, Sources and the 13.

    Or you can try to convince everyone to buy a train pass like me. My best investment yet.

    Reply
    1. Gazoo

      They can not even keep the roads and bridges they have now in decent shape. Anyone who believes they will go ahead with the 440 extension anytime in the next couple of decades, there is some land just west of Antoine Faucon that can be had for dirt cheap.

      Reply
  6. Jean Naimard

    It’s about farking time that Québec removes from municipalities the power to prohibit through traffic through stupid measures.

    The Waste-Island was laid-out poorly; imagine: only 3 north-south avenues!

    Louse Harel never had it so good when she masterly crafted the forced mergers which were to avoid that sort of stupid NIMBYism! Alas, stupid John James Charest decided to suck-up to the Waste Island despite them ethnically voting for him to the tune of 95%!!! And realizing the stupidity of his idea, he tried to make it less attractive by enacting what is normally anathema to any warm-blooded anglo-saxon: taxation without representation. Yet, despite that, the english voted to demerge from Montréal!!!

    Better: Québec should force municipalities to pierce new streets to connect unconnected neighbourhoods (at their expense, of course). A few possibilities:

    rue Valentine to rue Meloche.

    Rue Hazelnut to rue Garland.

    Rues Acres, Somerset, du Syrah & Portway Crescent.

    Avenue Hermitage and rue Montford.

    Auto Plaza and rue Devon.

    Avenue Selkirk & rue Strasbourg.

    Rue James Shaw to whatever the unnnamed squiggle north of it is named, as well as to rue Monsadel.

    and rue Church to itself a bit further east.

    Avenue des Véroniques to rue John Henry Menzies.

    Rues Henri Jarry, Alice Carrière to Montrose drive.

    Rue St-Tropez to Olympic drive to chemin Sherwood.

    Rue Alta Vista to chemin Hollis & croissant Wood.

    Rue Gervais to Penn Road & Chartwell Crescent to rues Rondeau & Béthune.

    Those cut-off areas seems to be more recent; it seems that this kind of douchebaggery is a relatively recent phenomenon.

    Now, let the howling start!!!!

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Montreal West, an independent city, has blocked the road that connects it to Ville St Pierre (former city, now part of Lachine borough).

      To be clear, the road is not “blocked” completely. It’s simply restricted to emergency traffic only.

      The difference between that and the Kirkland situation is that Kirkland doesn’t want to block traffic with a barrier. What it had considered was simply making it illegal for cars to enter the town via that street at certain hours, and police said they wouldn’t enforce such a rule because it constituted entrapment.

      Still, a good point. Maybe Kirkland can learn from Montreal West. Or maybe both cities can just grow up.

      Reply
      1. Peter

        “To be clear, the road is not “blocked” completely. It’s simply restricted to emergency traffic only.”

        As I’ve said many times before, none of the residents on the Lachine side of Devil’s Hill drives an emergency vehicle, which means the road is for all intensive purposes blocked or, as we like to say, barricaded.

        Reply
  7. lynne

    The problem is that the developers keep building, and the roads stay the same.
    The city is reaping the benefits from all the taxes that are collected from these new developments but the access to these new developments are not being upgraded and the city is not going to build more roads, as roads cost money and don’t bring in tax revenues.

    Reply
    1. AlexH

      It drives back to our famous Mayor Bike and his desire to put everyone on public transit, no matter how impractical or how expensive it is to do. He has never seen a roadway that he can’t imagine smaller, with less traffic flow, with less access, more pedistrain crossing, more unsynchronized traffic lights, and more “traffic calming” measures.

      In simplistic terms, the tax dollars are going to pay for bikes, which are just not going to work out as a public transit alternative in the West Island.

      The West Island is seriously lacking in major North / South main streets, and even lacks to some extent the medium sized East / West connectors to make them possible. In part, this is planned “quiet neighborhood” moves, but it is also errors made by the various smaller cities in the past to allow residential development on what should have been more open boulevards. Streets like Meloche should make it all the way to the main Boulevards but do not. Most of those connectors are also “single ended”, that is to say that if they do connect to something major, it’s only in a single place, which basically gives the traffic only a single way to flow in and out of an area. That they all seem to focus onto St Charles only makes the problem worse.

      Simple, the Mayor of Montreal does not seem to think it a good idea to build any more roads, they are pesky, annoying, and just make it so citizens can actually get places. He would rather focus on taking people off of sidewalks and putting them on bikes, and figuring out ways to shrink down expressways until there is absolutely no way into the city. The West Island is pretty much screwed, because he doesn’t seem to be looking over there at all.

      Reply
      1. Fagstein Post author

        He has never seen a roadway that he can’t imagine smaller

        Has there been some widespread smallening of city streets I’m unaware of? Aside from streets in which bicycle lanes have been introduced, I can’t think of any.

        In simplistic terms, the tax dollars are going to pay for bikes, which are just not going to work out as a public transit alternative in the West Island.

        I don’t think anyone is seriously suggesting that people in the West Island commute by bicycle. Most West Island transit initiatives are based on increased bus service (particularly express buses) and commuter trains.

        Simple, the Mayor of Montreal does not seem to think it a good idea to build any more roads, they are pesky, annoying, and just make it so citizens can actually get places.

        Can you point to a quote or statement that backs up this assertion about his opinions? I see no evidence that Mayor Tremblay has opposed the building of roads. In fact, it is the other cities, like Kirkland, Dollard-des-Ormeaux and Pointe-Claire, that are preventing the creation of new north-south axes on the West Island.

        Reply
        1. AlexH

          “Has there been some widespread smallening of city streets I’m unaware of? ”

          Any time you add a dedicated bus lane, you “smallen” a street. In St Laurent, all sorts of streets lost traffic lanes to unused bike lanes (Poirier, example). Des trinitaires near Angrinon Metro had areas cut out by bringing the sidewalks out further to shrink the distance on cross walks, which has moved right hand turns from the previous right lane, causing turns to now be made from one lane further in, which can slow traffic. Decarie in St Laurent went from parking on both sides each way with single lane each way to parking on one side with a single lane – and a median that is now blocked off making it hard to get across. Those are just some examples of roads getting “smaller”, in various ways. Over doing bus lanes and bike lanes (they have them on residential streets in St Laurent, for no real reason except to claim “kilometers of new bike paths”) is an issue for sure.

          “Most West Island transit initiatives are based on increased bus service (particularly express buses) and commuter trains.”

          Yes, and without roadways to move those buses on, they don’t “express” much anywhere. You could create dedicated bus lanes, but that would just impact the traffic even more.

          “Can you point to a quote or statement that backs up this assertion about his opinions? I see no evidence that Mayor Tremblay has opposed the building of roads. In fact, it is the other cities, like Kirkland, Dollard-des-Ormeaux and Pointe-Claire, that are preventing the creation of new north-south axes on the West Island.”

          Let me put it this way: Can you think of any NEW, major or significant roads built in Montreal in the last 5 years? How’s Notre Dame east working out for you? Our Mayor does not want to build any new roads, he does not want to facilitate car travel, and that is that. This is the guy who is going to get rid of the bonaventure expressway, and replace it with… an urban boulevard and a bunch more traffic lights, making it harder to get into the city. WTF? It all goes one way with him!

          Reply
          1. Fagstein Post author

            Can you think of any NEW, major or significant roads built in Montreal in the last 5 years? How’s Notre Dame east working out for you?

            Wouldn’t Notre Dame by definition not qualify as a “new” road?

            Cavendish Blvd. was just extended northward to Henri-Bourassa Blvd. Pierrefonds Blvd. in the West Island has been extended westward. These are among the few places where there’s even room for a major new road. New developments in the east and west end and in St. Laurent are also bringing with them new roads to serve them.

            This is the guy who is going to get rid of the bonaventure expressway, and replace it with… an urban boulevard and a bunch more traffic lights, making it harder to get into the city. WTF?

            I don’t know about making it “harder” to get into the city, though I suppose any addition of traffic lights is going to slow down traffic. But the bottleneck is still downtown itself. Building giant highways into it won’t solve the problem, no matter how many lanes they have.

            More importantly, it will free up quite a bit of land and make that area of town a lot more livable.

            Reply

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