Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Residents continue to express range of frustrations over ongoing Turcot construction

The sound barrier along Prud'homme Ave. Photo: Malaka Ackaoui 
By Isaac Olson
Residents in eastern NDG are sick of the traffic, the construction and the sound barriers that are pressed against their homes, lining the Decarie Expressway’s trench while crews continue to peck away at the Turcot Interchange reconstruction project.

Frustrations flared during the March 27 meeting of the Turcot N.D.G-Westmount Neighbourhood Committee which was held in the St. Raymond Community Centre. These meetings are designed to update the public about ongoing work in the area while giving citizens an opportunity to raise concerns of their own.

One of the more prevalent concerns is that for pedestrians and cyclists, especially children, in eastern NDG as bottle-necking traffic continues to put pressure on the surrounding neighbourhoods. Parents have continually expressed worry that there aren't enough safety measures being implemented in the St. Raymond district as kids walk to and from the new school at the corner of Upper Lachine Rd. and Oxford Ave. Montreal representative James Byrns said the file is progressing, but his vague, detail-lacking response brought cries of dissatisfaction from the audience. NDGers want more to be done to calm traffic and keep children safe in St. Raymond.

Another big concern is the walls looming over the neighbourhood on both sides of Highway 15. The MTQ is looking to expand these walls along Addington St. and Prud'homme Ave. On Prud'homme, the concern is an expansion would block access to the green space along the highway's trench.

Malaka Ackaoui is a member of the committee and neighbourhood resident. During the meeting, Ackaoui and Jill Prescesky continued to question the intrusive sound barriers along Addington St. and Prud’homme Ave. The tall, plywood walls, stuffed with insulation, cast dark shadows on a community that never asked for the walls in the first place.

Citizens have continually asked the Quebec’s Minister of Transport (MTQ) “not to install this type of visual pollution,” states Ackaoui, but the MTQ persists. These walls are supported by by the city and the director of public health (DSP), she notes.

“We believe they are concentrating on noise, but ignoring other important and psychological health issued that are related to such a wall,” she stated, noting residents came together in October 2016 to demand the wall be removed along Addington St. due to its "ugliness and inefficiency."

“After distributing fliers asking residents to express their opinions on the installation of a temporary noise barrier, the majority expressed their concerns regarding the proposed walls. Seventy percent voted against it on Prud’homme and some 40 percent on Addington.  Despite these figures, they persist on ignoring our requests.  What a conception of democracy!”

The Prud'homme Ave. wall may extend north
to block this green space as it runs along the curb. Photo: Malaka Ackaoui 
Ackaoui provided Montreal Reporter with these bullet points about the proposed wall extension along Prud'homme Ave.

·         The proposed wall is supposed to stay at least until 2020!  It is extremely ugly and not as efficient for noise reduction as MTQ pretends.

·         This proposed wall extension will hide all the greenery facing the homes on Prud’homme Ave.

·         A visually unpleasant environment makes it more difficult to sell homes or rent apartments
·         Some landlords have already reduced the amount of monthly rent they expect for their apartments due to the Turcot construction problems.

·         The green space behind the wall will become a potential hiding place for mischief. 
·         The wall will prevent children from playing safely in the green space.

·         Dog owners will lose the walking space with their animals.

Dan Lambert speaks during the meeting on March 27. Photo: Isaac Olson

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