The large boulevards in front of shopping centers are among the places where Quebec motorists run the most risk of being involved in a road accident, reveals an unprecedented analysis.
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In recent months, our Bureau of Investigation has analyzed data drawn from approximately 435,000 police reports of accidents that occurred between 2014 and 2019. We were able to geolocate them (identify precisely on a map) in order to know the sections of the road. the most dangerous.
Nearby interchanges and highways, such as those at the Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine bridge-tunnel in Longueuil, are the places where we find the most collisions, as we wrote yesterday.
But we also note that the arteries near shopping centers are also sensitive areas.
We understand a little more why Highway 40, near Boulevard Pierre-Bertrand in Quebec City, is the section where collisions are the most numerous. Located between two interchanges, it is not very far from the Galeries de la Capitale and a Costco.
A running track
Among the other dangerous places located in commercial zones, there is Talbot Boulevard in front of Place du Royaume in Saguenay. Between 2014 and 2019, there were 403 accidents that left 24 injured.
Speed problems are known there.
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“The young people with the modified cars gather near the food courts,” explains Sergeant Dominique Simard, of the Saguenay Police Department.
“In the spring, we bring out our“ Fast and Dangerous ”team. There is speed, darting, fast starts and races. It is one of the most critical places ”, continues the public relations officer of the same service, Bruno Cormier.
During an operation in July, a statement of offense for car surfing (a person climbed on a moving vehicle) was even given.
In February, the speed limit was increased from 70 to 50 km / h.
forbidden to his children
In Trois-Rivières, citizens regularly complain about what they observe on Barkoff Street, in front of the Galeries du Cap, confirms municipal councilor Pierre-Luc Fortin.
On the most sensitive section, between rue De Callières and rue Des Ormeaux, we calculate 281 accidents and 62 injuries. On the whole of the boulevard, we are talking about 310 accidents and 69 injuries.
The intersection of rue Des Ormeaux is so dangerous that the councilor even forbids his children to ride a bicycle there.
The City therefore mandated the engineering firm WSP to document the safety and fluidity problems.
As this lane is very close to Highway 40, it is complicated to intervene. The elected officials wanted to install a traffic light at the intersection of rue De Callières.
“We are told by the MTQ [ministère des Transports] that we cannot because we are going to create a problem on the bridge, ”explains Mr. Fortin.
Trois-Rivières has therefore decided to intervene this fall higher up the street. A traffic light will be installed at the Des Ormeaux intersection with a pedestrian cycle and a cycle lane will be drawn on Barkoff.
Many accidents also occur on Firestone Boulevard, in front of Galeries Joliette, in the town of the same name.
Roads have two main functions:
- Transit (getting from point A to point B)
- Access (entering or leaving a business, for example)
When you mix these two functions, conflicts emerge.
Tensions between the Ministry of Transport and the cities arise when the main road, which is often under the jurisdiction of the ministry, passes through the heart of the village where there is commercial activity.
“The two uses don’t coexist very well. For the ministry, it is a road used for transit, so it may be reluctant or opposed to lowering the speed limit, explains Nicolas Saunier, professor of road safety at Polytechnique Montréal. The city is more concerned for the safety of its citizens, it wants to encourage local businesses. It comes into conflict. “
One solution is to build a bypass to separate the two functions. But very often, it becomes difficult to resist the temptation to develop new businesses near this new road.
“And we recreate the problem with the worse effect that we devitalize our main shopping street,” says Mr. Saunier.