[ Robert Silverman ]
[ English Texts ]
[ Cybernetically, Bicycle Bob Xe-Dda.p ]
Frustrated Bicyclists to Extend
Trans-island Bike Route

On Sunday, April 18th, at 1 P.M. Montreal bicyclists will begin building the long-delayed second section of the Trans Island Bikeroute. The bike route constructions site will begin at the eastern end of the first section, near the corner of Iberville and Masson. The frustrated bicyclists will be carrying a fence, shovels and earth to begin construction of the second section of the Trans Island Bikeroute. This second portion will extend alongside the eastern edge of the C.P.R. tracks from Masson to the north entrance of the Angus Shops project a few meters south of St. Joseph. The third section of the Bike Route is already under construction by the C.P.R. as part of their giant residential and industrial project just north of Rachel east of their train tracks.

Montreal bicyclists have impatiently waited four and a half years for the extensions of the Trans-island Bike Route. Inauguarted by former Mayor Jean Doré in September 1994. The plans illustrate a bike route alongside the C.P.R. train tracks which Montreal stated that it intended to extend from the St. Lawrence River near Iberville to the Rivière des Prairies in Cartieville. The first three kilometers section runs just north of these tracks from Jeanne Mance to Iberville/Masson. This section of the Route is very popular as it is near a heavily populated area of the City, is scenic and, exceptionally, has no intersections with automobiles.

After the election of Pierre Bourque -former head of La Table Velo- and Vision Montreal, in 1994, the City seemed to lose interest in the Bike Route, while the bicycling community, delighted with the cyclability of the first section, clamored impatiently for extensions to the south and north. However, there are now signs that the City is beginning to show a renewed interest in the Trans-island bike route which is also part of La Route Verte, the magnificent network of bike routes throughout the Province of Quebec, piloted by Velo-Québec. At the weekly meeting with the then-candidate mayor Pierre Bourque in the district of Patro le Prevost, in response to a question about the Bike Route, which lies just south of where Bourque was speaking, Bourque stated that work would recommence in 1999. And at the question period held before the March City Council session, Ms. Egoyan, in response to a question from a Monde à Bicyclette activist answered positively.

Le Monde à Bicylette estimates that the fence separating the cyclists from the train tracks that the C.P.R insists be built as part of the Route, and the earth needed to build the 700 meters missing link, would cost a maximun of 200,000.

Also, it should be noted that in the recent Quebec budget, 18 million $ was allocated for the Route Verte. Surely, some of that money could be used for the construction of the extensions of the Montreal portion of that, the Trans-island Bike Route. We presume that the City of Montreal has made a formal request for some of that money for the local Bike Route.

Le Monde à Bicyclette is organizing this cyclodrama to illustrate the absurdity of the long delay in the Route's extension, the simplicity and low-cost of building the extensions, the pressing need for the cyclists and the people to use it.

Bicycling Magazine has just awarded Montreal as North America's best bicycling city. The rapid completion of the Trans-island Bike Route would certainly indicate that our city truly merited the award.

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By Robert Silverman.

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© Robert Silverman 2000