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January 6, 2019 - January 12, 2019

First focus group on Rembrandt/Kildare Road stop sign attracts different viewpoints

Last September we added a new stop sign at the corner of Rembrandt Avenue and Kildare Road. We did so to address the concerns of Rembrandt residents who have often been stranded at their stop sign often endlessly.

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Due to the high volume of cars turning onto Kildare eastbound from Cavendish, we want to avoid a potential back-up onto Cavendish as a consequence of cars stopping at Rembrandt. In addition, Ministry of Transport requirements for adding a stop sign on this approach are not met.

Soon after the 2017 election I asked our Traffic Committee staffed by two engineers and chaired by Councillor David Tordjman, also an engineer, to study the request put forward by Rembrandt    residents for a stop sign.

It was agreed that we would review this measure within the first year of implementation. Thus far residents of Rembrandt are quite pleased.  The response is mixed from those on other streets.

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At the table as we discuss the issues.

In order to get a better handle on how people feel I called a focus group meeting at City Hall on January 7. Councillor Tordjman was present. We had representation from all five condo high rise building on Rembrandt as well as people residing on Kildare Road, Merrimac, Ilan Ramon, Sir Walter Scott and Marc Chagall.

“The solution implemented simply doesn’t fit the problem,” commented Mark Sadegursky, a resident of Ilan Ramon for the last 15 years who, among other things, recommends Rembrandt and Merrimac be turned  into a one way street.

Stop Warning - Rembrandt and Kildare (2)

We have recently added a standard illustration on Rembrandt which informs the people leaving the street that there is only a stop on the right side of the intersection. 

“I've spent time at the intersection since the additions and I have seen the pros and cons,” reports our traffic engineer, Spyro Yotis. “Cars from Rembrandt are not waiting as long to get onto Kildare, but there was indeed a danger. Since we added the illustration cars seemed to have gotten used to the configuration.”

Mark Sidloi, the president of the Meadows Condominium on Merrimac and Kildare, feels the stop sign is a fair measure.” It's not a huge inconvenience, certainly not over and above the traffic that is on that corridor on some days during the time prior to the stop,” he said. “And it can be a lifesaver to the people on Rembrandt.”

Jason Ullman of Marc Chagall believes it has created gridlock for motorists such as himself when they leave for work during the busy JPPS-Bialik drop off period. Among things he suggested was for the extended sidewalk on Kildare Road to  be modified and three-lane traffic   introduced, remove one of the other stop signs on Kildare (at Merrimac or Sir Walter Scott) and to make Rembrandt/Merrimac a one way.

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David Tordjman responds to questions.

Councillor Tordjman explained the process we have followed thus far. He recognized that there been a traffic flow issue at certain times in the morning and promised that Kildare Road (between Marc Chagall and Cavendish) will be part of a closer analysis which will include all of the stop signs presently in place. Phil Troy, who lives on Kildare Road, strongly urged our Urban Development team to undertake some simulations. 

Martin Bogante said that he has resided on Marc Chagall for 18 years. “This stop sign has, for the first time, enabled me to make a left turn without taking my life into my own hands,” he said. “There is a big difference between inconvenience and safety."

Ilan Ramon resident Howard Liebman said in an email: “We simply can’t regulate every hundred meters of road surface with bumps, bollards, stops and other measures. Safety is paramount and we need to teach driving skills and courtesy at the provincial level.”

Finally some residents cited that the Montreal Transit Commission (MTC) bus stop at Rembrandt and Kildare represents a danger and they suggested it be moved or eliminated.  It just so happened that one member of our group that night works at the MTC and he has already connected us with someone who can look into the issue.

I was glad to have Gregory Libman as part of our group. A bright young CEGEP student who drives to school each weekday morning, he provided a valuable youth perspective.

I must mention that with excavation work about to begin on the second Equinoxe highrise on Marc Chagall, there will be many more trucks coming down Kildare over the next 18 months or so. This would certainly impact the accuracy of any simulations.

This was a good exercise and provided us with some valuable input for future deliberations.


Top CIUSS official responds to CSLC René Cassin Test Center concerns and provides hope for improvements

A senior official from the CIUSSS Centre-Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal  was kind enough to respond to my recent blog regarding the closure of the CLSC René-Cassin Blood Test Center over the Christmas holidays, long lineups upon the return of operations and misinformation emanating from the answering service.

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Francine Dupuis

Deputy Director General Francine Dupuis  was personally responsible for the opening of this service a few years ago when she served as  Director General of the CSSS Cavendish. "I felt sorry for the elderly who had to wait so long at the hospital for tests that could be taken care of by their CLSC," she noted. "The ministry never funded this activity and we had to squeeze money from other programs to open the Test Center, which tells you how much of a priority it was."

Mr. Dupuis said that when she read about my unpleasant experience, it saddened her. However, at the same time, it   allowed her to look into what was done and how the service can be improved.

I had raised the fact that the  notice on the window stated that the Test Center was closed from December 24 to January 2 inclusively. It was unclear for many if that meant it would reopen January 3.  "The word 'inclusively'  means that this day is included. The confusion rose from the fact that the other CLSC services were offered,  but the posting did not make the difference, hence the confusion. It could have read:  'This is a reminder that the CLSC will be open at 8:00 on Wednesday January 3  for general services, but not the Test Center. The Test Center will resume its activities on Thursday January 4 at the usual time, 7:30.' On the telephone, the person who answered should have made the difference very clearly. I am looking into this, so that our messages leave no place to confusion next year, both verbally and in writing."

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Hours could change next Christmas.

Ms. Dupuis also shared some promising news. The CIUSSS plans to open more days next year. "As you pointed out, the Jewish General Hospital is not the best place to have your blood tests done," she said. "We have started with more limited days because the attendance was much less important in the first few years and also because we were not budgeted for the staff. Seeing that it is getting more popular, which is good news, we want to increase the staff and the hours of services. Moreover, we will try to offer the service every day,  but on December 24 and 25 and January 1 and 2. This is not an official promise,  but I am trying to see how we could budget it, knowing that it is of increasing importance for the population we serve. The new  GMFs  - family medicine groups - will also offer the service, which will give more than one option in the community."

Regarding my suggestion that benches be installed for those waiting to get into the Test  Center, Ms. Dupuis said those requests should be addressed to the management of the Quartier Cavendish since the Ministry of Health’s lease does not include space outside the clinic on that floor.

I want to thank Ms. Dupuis for taking the time to send me such a detailed response.