Cars that do not stop at the crosswalk and do not respect the speed limit, Stéphane Meikle no longer calculates the number he sees each day, sitting in front of his house to watch his seven-year-old son who having fun in the park, across the street. He, his family, his neighbors and their children have been calling for measures for more than two years to secure the rue Asselin and the surroundings of the Jardin de Médicis park.
Located in a peaceful residential area of the arr. from Vieux-Longueuil, the small Jardin de Médicis park is located in a curve of rue Asselin. The speed limit of 30 km / h – which only applies in front of the park, the street passing at 40 km / h a few meters on each side – is rarely respected by motorists. Ditto for the obligatory stop at the height of the pedestrian crossing connecting two portions of a pedestrian and cycle path and providing access to the park.
“You don’t want to be the neighborhood police or unpleasant neighbors. We want to ensure the safety of our children. ”
– Stéphane Meikle
“There is obviously education to do with our children, who do not always cross in the right place, but people often drive at 50 km / h and only slow down at the crossing instead of completely stopping, deplores Stéphane Meikle. We are talking about people from the neighborhood, who do not respect the lives of others. ”
Having already noticed the problem before moving to rue Asselin almost 4 years ago, Stéphane Meikle and Pierre-Jean Desormeaux, along with six other families from the neighborhood, decided to take action.
“In June 2018, we met our advisor, Benoît L’Écuyer,” says Mr. Meikle. We then asked that speed bumps be added on the street and that parking prohibition signs be put up along the park. ”
After a few months, the posters appeared, but no news about the speed bumps.
Despite some attempts by the group of residents to move the file forward afterwards, it was not until July 9, 2020 that they met again Benoît L’Écuyer, as well as councilor Éric Bouchard. The children took the opportunity to hand in a petition of around 40 names, signed by them and their parents, as well as a letter to Mr. L’Écuyer.
The two advisers then assured the group that they were dealing with his case.
Residents are calling for the installation of bollards along the park and a speed reducer at the height of the crossing – speed bumps having been refused for various technical reasons – to encourage motorists to slow down and stop, but are open to other proposals that the City could make to them.
“How about a flashing crosswalk sign?” suggests among others Isabelle Rioux.
“Not necessary”, says the City
Following the July 9 meeting, an analysis of the traffic in the area was carried out by the City using temporary speed displays and the police arrived to observe the situation.
On July 15, the Engineering Department replied to citizens that “the analysis data did not reveal any speed problem”. As the sector already has a pedestrian crossing and a mandatory stop, the City therefore concluded “that the installation of bollards is not necessary at this location”.
However, according to the residents, the analysis and observations made are not representative of reality.
The police officers would have parked their patrol car in a conspicuous place, which would have influenced the behavior of motorists, and would have, among other things, passed once between 12 noon and 3 p.m., “while there is no one on the street”, deplores Stéphane Meikle.
The temporary speed displays would also have been installed too far from the park, in zones of 40 km / h. “The problem is the long straight line in front of the park, where people are accelerating,” explains Isabelle Rioux.
Despite the refusal of the Engineering Directorate, the file was not abandoned on the political side.
“The file, I understand it, answers from the outset the councilor Benoît L’Écuyer, also present during our meeting with the group of residents. Without getting into politics, the first request I filed in 2018 was very clear, but the administration decided to go ahead with the posters only. I have since called for bollards and a physical raising of the cross member. ”
“There is speed here, even if the studies do not say so.”
– Benoît L’Écuyer
“Speed bumps were refused, among other things, because they would cause problems during snow removal,” continues the advisor. However, there are plenty of new kind of speed bumps in Saint-Lambert, and it works. Yes, we have regulations, but you also have to have common sense, ”believes the elected official.
“I have had constructive discussions with Mr. Meikle over the past few weeks and told him that we agreed to have the file submitted to the City’s Traffic and Active Transport Commission,” says his alongside Councilor Éric Bouchard. This is the appropriate forum for such matters. The commission will do its job and the process will then have to take its course. ”
“We want things to move and we don’t want to have to go up to the barricades every year,” concludes Stéphane Meikle.
No political quarrel
Although satisfied with the involvement of several elected officials in their file, the residents of rue Asselin do not want to find themselves at the center of a quarrel between the mayor’s party – represented by Eric Bouchard – and that of the opposition – represented by Benoît L’Écuyer.
“We do not want to embark on a war between elected officials, specifies Stéphane Meikle What we want, as citizens, is to be served.”
“When they gave him the petition, the children asked Mr. L’Écuyer to work with the mayor to solve the problem,” he adds.
A young girl caught by a cyclist
On August 15, the young Adèle, 6, was struck by a cyclist who was driving at full speed as she was crossing at the pedestrian crossing in front of the Jardin de Medici park. His arm is broken. An unfortunate incident which, in the eyes of his mother Isabelle Rioux, demonstrates the relevance of measures being taken to further secure the sector.
Ms. Rioux has no complaints about the cyclist who, after hitting the young Adèle, made sure that the latter returned home, a stone’s throw away. Ms. Rioux generally regrets that cyclists often fail to make compulsory stops.
“Lucky it wasn’t a collision with a car. We were lucky, she only has one broken arm, she says. We want to prevent that from happening again. ”
Ms. Rioux remains convinced that there is a solution to educate motorists and cyclists to be more vigilant.
“The measure in itself does not matter to me, as long as it is permanent and effective.”