Anyone not going to Bialik has to wait in single file to be able to turn on to Marc Chagall. Why am I waiting from Rembrandt in bumper to bumper traffic in single file when there should be a two lanes?"
Anyone not going to Bialik has to wait in single file to be able to turn on to Marc Chagall. Why am I waiting from Rembrandt in bumper to bumper traffic in single file when there should be a two lanes?"
Allow me to quote the late Bernard Lang who used this comment to refer to the extension of Cavendish Boulevard : “We don’t need it, we don’t want it and we cannot afford it!”
Well that was several decades ago. The Cavendish extension will occur in my lifetime. But as long as I serve as the councillor for District 2, I will vehemently oppose any discussions around extending Kildare Road to Jean Talon and Decarie. Why? We don’t need it, we don’t want it and we cannot afford it!”
I take my hat off to our city officials who put together an outstanding brief called Transit First: Connecting The Sector in Namur-De La Savane.
The Hippodrome development is the residential heart of the Namur–De la Savane (NDLS) district, which includes part of the City of Côte Saint-Luc, the Town of Mount Royal, and the Montreal boroughs of Saint-Laurent and Côte-DesNeiges–Nôtre-Dame-de-Grace. Enclaved between the Canadian Pacific (CP) rail yard to the west, train tracks to the south, Décarie Boulevard to the east, and a large commercial and industrial area to the north, the development is being promoted as a full, inclusive, carbon-neutral living environment. As is the case for other projects in the area, a major overhaul of the transport infrastructure with significantly better access and egress is required in order to make that work. What is needed is the opening up of major streets such as Cavendish Boulevard, as well as a full range of efficient transit options.
You can read the full brief here. I merely object to item eight, which proposes the extension of Kildare Road.
We do not need a highway running past an elementary and high school (JPPS-Bialik) nor Beth Chabad, which also benefits from a beautiful piece of greenspace they use for weddings in the summer. Buses turn around in that section and children are dropped off at school. The area is already has enough traffic.
Mayor Mitchell Brownstein wanted to share this clarification. "Our brief requests many improved options for movement in and out of our city," he told me. "The recommendation regarding extending Kildare could be through a tramway, and/or pedestrian and bicycle paths. Our priority for cars remains the Cavendish extension, with two lanes in each direction for cars and a tramway in the median down the center linking Saint Jacques to Namur. Imagine if that tramway could go through Kildare to Jean Talon directly as well, either using the perimeter of the rail yards or some other configuration. We also need train stations to make use of the existing Saint Jerome line that passes through our city There is a lot we can do and the four mayors in the region, Mayor Desousa of Saint Laurent, Mayor Roy of Town of Mont Royal and Mayor Montgomery of Cöte des Neiges/ NDG are working together with us to move these ideas forward."
Many years ago the City of Montreal was supposed to extend Kildare. Then Mayor Jean Doré reneged on deal with Mayor Lang who took the matter to the Quebec Municipal Commission. Côte Saint-Luc won a multi-million dollar cash settlement as well as ownership of the area of homes in what was then called North Hampstead Estates (renamed North of Hampstead) near Decarie Square.
Anytime the extension of Kildare came up again thus far in my 14 years on council, it came with a massive price tag attached to it. This simply is never going to happen. Residents of Marc Chagall, Merrimac, Rembrandt, Ilan Ramon and Sir Walter Scott in particular do not want it. Ditto for the congregants at Beth Chabad and the parents, students and staff at JPPS-Bialik.
So please, ignore section eight in our position paper and let’s focus on Cavendish, which this time will be an indirect link through Royalmount!
I recently held a meeting with some residents of the town houses on Kildare Road, between Cavendish Boulevard and Kellert Avenue. With Scott, David and Jo Hong I shared the discussions I had at the last Traffic Committee meeting over an issue they are having with restricted parking signs (Tuesday and Thursday) that went up in front of their homes.
With Jo Hong, David and Scott.
These same signs were removed when construction commenced in 2009 on their homes. Interestingly, there were no restricted parking signs present when work was complete in 2013. For six years that section of Kildare continued to have no such signs. According to Public Works this was a serious oversight on their part.
It turns out that it was a complaint from across the street, asking why they had no parking two days a week and their side did not. Engineering did some research and realized that the signs were removed during construction in 2009, but never put back. Since I was never consulted, I asked for a review and that finally took place yesterday. Public Works insisted that they had complaints for years that the sweeper during spring, summer and fall could not clean the street properly. Their personnel were not aware of the sign situation. At the meeting their operations director said they still need some restrictions in place.
For residents this poses a major inconvenience, notably when guests come over during the day or they themselves want to leave a car on the street instead of going back into the garage.
A compromise has been reached. They will only maintain restrictions between April 1 to December for the sweeper. Instead of two days, it will be part of one day. I spoke to Public Works and they are recommending Tuesdays from 9:30 am to 2:30 pm as the sweepers start in early spring and leaf season goes to the end of November. I will now wait for the Traffic Committee’s formal recommendation to come to City Council and the situation will be resolved.
One foot note: Montreal Transit Commission mandated bus lines will be introduced island-wide in the next year or so. That could impact on parking for everyone, including this stretch. We have no power on such decisions. We will keep everyone posted.
First and foremost, a Task Group has been established once and for all to deal with the troubling intersection of Cavendish and Kildare. Preliminary discussions have focused on the safety of the intersection and a proposed action plan. This group is composed of council members, city administration as well as Montreal Police Department representatives. Hats off to Councillor Glenn J. Nashen for moving this dossier forward and to staff Jordy Reichson and Charles Senekal for their support. This is something I have been pushing since the day I was first elected. We are presently awaiting data regarding vehicle and pedestrian counts. I am pleased to report that city council has allocated at least $500,000 to improve the intersection. This is from funds we received via the gas tax. We hope to engage the services of a traffic consultant who would produce at least two options for us to consider.
Meanwhile, the city has engaged the firm Beaupré Associés for professional services for the construction of a park/public space on the northwest corner of Cavendish and Kildare. Work on the final plans is in progress and the project is scheduled for the summer of 2016. In order to protect the properties adjacent to this space, a temporary fence to serve as a pedestrian passage was installed from Park Place to Kildare.
I received news today that the new Shell gas station/car wash/Bonisoir location at the corner of Cavendish and Mackle, may not open until March 30. I will keep everyone posted.
Jewish People's and Peretz School (JPPS) is set to move into the Bialik High School building on Kildare Road on February 29.
While not in my District, Pierre Elliott Trudeau Park is a facility we all take great pride in. It is about to undergo substantial renovations. The city’s consultant, Stantec Experts‐conseils, is finalizing the tender plans and specifications. The project includes the reconstruction of the pathways, the replacement of the lighting, new playground equipment, new landscaped areas and furniture, a new water feature and an upgrade to the electrical supply for special events. A call for tenders is planned for this month and the work is scheduled to start in the spring 2016. That means we will need to identify an alternative venue for Canada Day this year.
A very noticeable water valve leak at the corner of Kildare Road and Cavendish Boulevard will be repaired on October 27 and 28. A total of 574 tenants in four buildings will be affected as the water needs to be cut for about 11 hours. This will not be done before 7:30 p.m. and plans call for it to be back by 6 am. Letters detailing the procedure, including a boil water advisory, will be distributed.
Those living in the following apartments will be affected: 5740 Cavendish (Chartwell Le Castel Royale), 5720 and 5740 Rembrandt and 6600 Kildare (The Seasons). Some houses may be affected as well.
Our Urban Development Department has been working diligently on this dossier for the past week. It will ensure the proper signage is posted. As well, Public Security will work on any traffic control we need. Since this is a major cross-section, we need to have a specific signage plan in place.
The following letter went out to residents:
I was very proud more than a decade ago to introduce the concept of District meetings. Once a year or more I invite residents of District 2 for a Town Hall style meeting related to issues within the confines of my constituency.
At the most recent June session there was a lot of discussion, as usual, about the busy intersection of Kildare Road and Cavendish Boulevard. Rembrandt Avenue resident Steve Acre spoke specifically about the fence along Kildare. He noted that when a car goes south on Kildare and makes a left on Cavendish, the height of the fence and the presence of vines on it result in obstructive views. In some cases it has been difficult to see if another car is coming from the opposite direction.
Director of Urban Development Charles Senekal was at the meeting as was Mayor Anthony Housefather. In recent weeks work was completed to lower several feet of that fence and cut off the vine. We believe this will indeed improve the situation.
When I was first elected more than 10 years ago to Côte Saint-Luc city council, I pledged to stay in close contact with my constituents of District 2. Besides my regular walkabouts, daily email and telephone interaction and attendance at community and city organized events, I introduced District information meetings. At least once a year I invite residents to a Town Hall style meeting where we focus on issues specifically related to the district, with special guests on hand to help answer questions. I am pleased to say this has met with success.
On June 8, I organized what I called a District 2 Round Table. There was no “table” per se, but the City Hall Council Chamber was arranged with a very large circle of chairs. My guests were Mayor Anthony Housefather, Councillor Glenn J. Nashen, Director of Urban Development Charles Senekal, Station 9 Police Lieutenant Bryan Cunningham and JPPS-Bialk Head of School Maureen Baron and Bialik Principal Avi Satov.
I was pleased to see some 50 residents in attendance. Over the course of close two hours, information flowed both ways.
Mayor Housefather, whom many wished good luck to in his bid next October to become the next Liberal Member of Parliament for Mount Royal, provided some insight into the city’s court case with the owners of Meadowbrook Golf Course. Our wish remains to keep this property green. The owners had sued the city a number of years ago when we rezoned the property as greenspace.
LAND ON MARC CHAGALL AND MACKLE
More than a decade ago, a sales office was setup at the Quartier Cavendish and units for two 17 storey towers to be located on Marc Chagall Avenue and Mackle Road were put up for sale. The buildings would never come to be, with the project cancelled and the owners seemingly disinterested in making anything happen. When their model home was demolished seven years ago, it was clearly case closed. The subject of this land came up often at past District 2 meetings, with residents of the two buildings in between – Le Rothschild and Le Marquise – not particularly pleased with the prospect of one day having two large facilities towering over them. Well, in the interim as part of a new master plan for the area we brought down the number of storeys buildings on that lot could be. Last week, news broke that the land is officially for sale. Submissions are being requested by July 14. This 115,843 square foot parcel of land has the potential to build high-rise condominiums, apartments and senior housing that can be constructed in multiple phases. The city zoning permits a residential usage, a density of 3.90 and a height between nine and 12 floors. Will there be a buyer? I guess we will have to wait and see.
NEW PARKETTE AT CAVENDISH AND KILDARE
As part of the original plans for the still relatively new housing development at Quartier Cavendish, there is a large stretch of vacant greenspace at the corner of Cavendish and Kildare. We zoned this for a parkette, an area intended to have some nice benches, pathways, trees, flowers, shrubs and a fence or two. We will be announcing the name and theme for the park soon. A number of residents from Park Place were in attendance at the meeting to reiterate concerns they have about the non-stop influx of people crossing over the greenspace and through their private parking lot and past their homes as a short cut to the Quartier. I have been there on a number of occasions to see this for myself. Council has discussed this problem and there is now consensus to place attractive fencing across most of the stretch. I also favor a gate, something the residents on hand would like to see locked at all times so that people going to the Quartier after getting off the bus will have to walk along Kildare Road and then the Avenue. We are very cognizant of the concerns. Final plans for the makeup of the parkette will be made very soon, with construction set to begin towards the end of September.
THE CAVENDISH BOULEVARD EXTENSION
Is there a subject that has been discussed more in Côte Saint-Luc than the extension of Cavendish Boulevard towards St. Laurent? While the late Mayor Bernard Lang was adamantly against this (“We don’t need it, we don’t want, we can’t afford it,” he would always say), our council very much wants to see an indirect route from Cavendish to Royalmount in TMR and then to St. Laurent. Mr. Senekal is part of a technical committee which meets about twice a year to discuss this very issue. Mayor Housefather made it clear that the only thing stopping this project from happening is money. The Agglomeration Council of the Island of Montreal has set aside $44 million, which is hardly enough. There are some plans which suggest work could begin as early as 2017, but the mayor made it clear this will only occur if the Quebec government comes through with the necessary funding. The Federal government will need to play a role as well, so having our mayor in Ottawa won’t hurt this dossier.
CITY HALL PARKING LOT
The parking lot at City Hall will be given a total facelift this summer. Mr. Senekal explained that a few options are being presented to Council for final approval. A new configuration, we hope, will allow for additional parking spaces (something we know is needed for patrons of the library. We want to ensure maximum safety as well. One of the other objectives is to have a double passing lane in the drop-off zone.
ISADORE GOLDBERG PARK
Isadore Goldberg Park is located in between the apartment buildings on Kildare Road and Sir Walter Scott. A lot of young families bring their children there to play. It has been the goal of City Council for some time to relocate the park to the open area on Marc Chagall near the walkway to City Hall. However, due to certain safety standards we learned that was not possibly to simply move all of the existing equipment. Therefore, to construct a brand new park is a far more costly endeavor. With the mayor’s support, I would like to see this put into our 2016 budget. In the meantime, our Public Works Department has been mandated to spruce up the existing park. Although we had started weeding and replacing the sand last year, we are going to finish up that task in the park this summer. We will also be repairing the swings and replacing them once the sanding is done. Director of Public Works Beatrice Newman has already done a small tour of the park with her foremen to assess the equipment and benches that remained. We removed equipment deemed unsafe.
Lt. Bryan Cunningham from Police Station 9 shared some important information. At Quartier Cavendish, he said that many elderly people are being targeted by shoplifters. He explained the common scenario. One person strikes up a conversation while another will come from behind and conduct the theft. He stressed that people should be careful in the food court, where pickpockets are rampant. Turning to thefts in cars, he warned people not to leave their garage doors open. Thieves enter, take the garage opener from the car and have access to the home. In some cases, cars and bikes in the garage have been stolen. The police and their summer cadets are on the lookout for these thieves. Mayor Housefather wished to emphasize that out of all of the police districts in Montreal, Station 9 has the lowest crime rate. Residents shared various concerns with Lt. Cunningham where they’d like to see police issue more tickets. This includes the crosswalk on Marc Chagall neat the Bellagio highrise condominium and Kildare and Cavendish. I commended the police for cracking down on cars that run the stop signs on Kildare Road and Merrimac and further along at Sir Walter Scott.
KILDARE AND CAVENDISH INTERSECTION
The corner of Kildare and Cavendish remains the busiest intersection in the city. Over the years we have made many efforts to resolve different problems and kept a crossing guard there at certain hours. Traffic for cars and pedestrians is often a catch-22 situation. Motorists think the wait for a green light is too long; pedestrians feel there is not enough time to cross the street. We always listen to recommendations and on this night there were a few that Mr. Senekal took note of. At the Council table, we have recently brought the topic back for discussion and one of our thoughts is to eventually close off the ability of people to cross Cavendish from the Kildare coming from Rembrandt, instead forcing them to only do so from the side nearest the police station. We will continue to explore different options. There were also requests for us to lower the size of the fence on the south side of Kildare Road as this can inhibit a motorist seeing somebody crossing the street. Steve Acre suggested we cut the height of the fence from five to three feet in order to giv a motorist who is in the middle lane of Kildare making a left turn on Cavendish to go South to be able to see if any car is coming from the opposite direction. "I am afraid if we don't do something soon, and I mean soon, we are putting ourselves in the hands of the almighty not to have a head on collision," he said. As Albert Aaron pointed out, both motorists and pedestrians need to be better educated.
Maureen Baron and Avi Satov shared the news that they are currently completing a feasibility sale to sell the JPPS building on Van Horne and merge the elementary school with Bialik. I have already sat down with Maureen and Avi, in the company of Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson, to discuss the particulars. Such a move could take place as early as next January. Bialik presently has about 350 students, about half the number it did a decade ago. The arrival of JPPS would mean an influx of about 200 more pupils plus staff. There would be a staggered opening and closings each day for the two schools to facilitate drop offs and pickup traffic. A number of years ago I encouraged Bialik to launch a student traffic committee. Not only did they create such a body, but it continues today. As Ms. Baron pointed out, it is the students who educate the parents on proper etiquette when it comes to driving safely, not blocking driveways etc. There was a complaint about parents illegally parking in the Meadows condominium lot. I stated that if someone witnesses such a thing, the make, model and license number should be written down and reported to Ms. Baron.
Councillor Nashen, who like Mayor Housefather actually resides in District 2, spoke about the Volunteer Citizens on Patrol (VCOPs). He created this service nine years ago and it has now grown to 80 volunteers – the majority of the average age of 65. They patrol the city, keep an eye out for open garage doors and anything else they may deem alarming. There is a crew out on the streets now inspecting smoke alarms. Councillor Nashen also touched upon the city’s Emergency Preparedness Plan, noting that we are probably the best prepared in the region for any type of disaster. Such was the case in 1998 when the city stepped up to the challenge during the Ice Storm.
Short-term pain, for long-term gain. That is how I described the work that was carried out on Kildare Road during the month of July and completed in early August. Congratulations to everyone involved, specifically the city’s engineering department and the companies hired to carry out the work.
Two winters ago we had several water main breaks on Kildare Road. While the problems were repaired, it was clear we needed a more comprehensive solution. I gained the city council’s support to have this job moved up in the schedule at a cost of $426,000. Now that the work is completed the pipes shouldn't need to be repaired or replaced for approximately 50 years.
There have been some bonuses added to this project. An additional $26,000 was secured to finally fix the stretch of pavement from Rembrandt to Cavendish. How many motorists justifiably complained about the bumpy road? Well, it is just perfect now.
We were also able to respond to the request from nearby residents to install a crosswalk and two stop signs at the corner of Kildare and Sir Walter Scott. I wish to thank Councillor Glenn J. Nashen, Mayor Anthony Housefather and Traffic Engineer Charles Senekal for their unconditional support on this matter. Charles, in fact, took part in two walkabouts with myself and residents of Ilan Ramon Crescent. Hats off to residents Lorne Lieberman and Boris Myschkowski who worked with me to keep this option open. This is a wonderful plus in the area of traffic safety in District 2.
I have been receiving a lot of warm comments from residents. Here is what Phil Matlin, a resident of Rembrandt Avenue and a new blogger (check out http://perfectmagic.wordpress.com/) had to say.
"A little note to tell you that I think the job done recently on Kildare should be used as an example to all cities, towns, boroughs, especially the City Of Montreal on how to plan and coordinate projects such as these. This major work was done with almost no inconvenience to the residents, at least on the Rembrandt side where I live. Personally, I suffered absolutely no inconvenience. You, the council, mayor, engineering department and whom ever else was involved, deserve our highest praise, thanks and kudos for a job well done."