Several merchants in the Cartier sector expressed their concerns on Tuesday about the development of a shared street in their neighborhood to let the tram pass.

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The spokesperson for the merchants, Marc-Antoine Muños, owner of the restaurant La Scala, on René-Lévesque, estimates that at $4 billion, the project should be “more functional”. “What we are afraid of is that we can no longer make deliveries, that the trucks can no longer arrive. There are all kinds of details.”

The shopkeeper assures us that he is not against the tramway. But he wants the project to be better thought out and he wants to keep the achievements he has. On Tuesday, he was accompanied by a dozen traders who are worried like him. He has also taken his pilgrim’s staff over the past few days and consulted about thirty merchants, all of whom are against the project as presented, except for one, he assured.

Photo Stevens Leblanc

What raises their eyebrows is the 500-meter shared lane on René-Lévesque, which will leave room for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists only at low speed and for local traffic. For them, there is no space on their narrow artery to allow more trucks to stop for deliveries.

The City replies that drop-off areas are provided for this purpose. But this does not convince the owners. They claim, tape measure in support, that traffic will be blocked, which the City denies. “Low traffic volumes in shared lanes make it possible to temporarily immobilize vehicles to make deliveries. In the identified landing zones, it will be possible to immobilize a delivery vehicle there while freeing up sufficient space for other users to circulate (pedestrians, cyclists, motorists)”, specified the spokesperson for the City, David O’Brien.

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Merchants are also concerned about the safety of pedestrians and cyclists who will be traveling in the same lane as cars, even if the latter will have to reduce their speed.

Photo Stevens Leblanc

Business people say they have not been informed and have not been made aware of the consultation sessions held by the City in recent weeks. “We find that we have a great lack of information. It was done last minute, a bit on the sly,” says Mr. Muños, who recalls that the pandemic and the labor shortage have kept traders “very busy” in recent months.

Some call for more formal consultation, such as a referendum. This is the case of Kim Colonna, owner of Petits Creux, on Cartier.

Photo Stevens Leblanc

“We were forced to. I think that if we held a referendum, the project would not pass. […] I do not support the project in its current form. I think we need a public transport project, but it takes another form,” he said, emphasizing the benefits of a metro.

For his part, François Blais, of Bistro B, is worried about the vitality of the Cartier business sector. “Public transport is necessary, but I doubt that a tramway is a necessity for the City of Quebec. But what worries merchants above all is that the tramway will be on the surface, will split our business sector in two and there will be parking challenges and issues of safety and snow removal. As long as you do a project, you can take a little more time and think about it carefully.

The Montcalm Commercial Development Company (SDC) is to hold a special meeting on this subject in the coming weeks. Worried merchants expect the SDC to echo their concerns.

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