It is hard to believe that just more than a decade ago when I would take my regular walks through Rembrandt Park, I’d often hear comments to the effect that the basketball courts should be removed. This came mainly from seniors and even some residents of Merrimac.
Well, in recent years the number of young families living in the immediate vicinity has grown substantially and these basketball courts have gained popularity. The problem is they are in dire need for a facelift and that is what I advocated at the Council table. Parks and Recreation, Engineering and Public Works heard my cry and a renovation job was placed into our Capital Expenditures budget four years ago. There are a lot of requests and we must wait our turn.
Users of all ages kept asking me, “when will these courts be fixed?” I promised it would be done by 2021 and last November we got the green light to go to tender. Engineer Dalia Mohamed, Parks and Recreation Director Cornelia Ziga and our Legal Counsel for Procurement Andrea Charon worked exceedingly hard on this project. The original budget was $70,000 and after receiving several informal equipment quotes, Dalia asked Cornelia to present a business case to our Finance Department, which was approved for an extra $15,000.
I have been fortunate to be able to count on some solid advice from constituents Alex Fyon and Kevin Fuks. Their JHoops organization runs leagues, after school programs, summer camps and more. Kevin has been playing basketball at Rembrandt for more than 20 years. They are very invested in these courts. They will join other regulars like 18 year old Shai Troy, whom I first met when he was two, to form the first ever Rembrandt Park Basketball Advisory Committee.
Next week, along with Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, we will meet with Dalia and Cornelia to get an overview of the project. While elaborate changes are not likely given the fact the budget has already been stretched to the limit we will explore the possibility of building a mini-companion court for younger kids. JHoops is open to a possible sponsorship.
Plain and simply, the existing court is in very poor condition and is at the end of its
lifespan. Among the selected new equipment will be the basketball poles, backboards, front mounted rims basketball nets and players benches.
- Removing the existing cracked asphalt and install six inches of MG-20 crushed stone to
maintain a slop of one percent for better drainage;
- Install new asphalt;
- Install two coats of epoxy paint acrylic surface;
- Install new basketball sets, including the two new poles and two steel fan-shaped basketball boards with double rim basketball goals;
- Install a new 30-foot light projector with two LED fixtures;
- Install two players' benches with backs;
- Install new grass (SOD) around the perimeter of the basketball court.
The work is scheduled to start in June 2021 and to be completed by the end of July. We had nine conforming bids
I will have more to report when Mayor Brownstein and members of the Advisory Committee meet with our staff next week.
For the first time ever, Rembrandt Park got an outdoor skating rink this winter. It was built inside one of our tennis courts.
Alvin Fishman, the city's newly appointed Arena Foreman, has exclaimed that he is very proud of our "Boys in Blue" who work the overnight shift on ice rinks bringing this gift to our residents and community, as we all are.
Bravo to Director of Public Works Beatrice Newman and her team. In recent days the weather has proven to be a challenge to keep the rink operational. Heavy snow and mild temperatures proved to be a problem. We do hope families enjoy this new option over the next few months.
I have received complaints about three street lamps not functioning at Rembrandt Park on top of the hill where the children like to sled and toboggan. The area is dark at this time
Public Works responded to these concerns and dispatched a team of electricians who confirmed there is a broken wire in the ground that feeds the street lamps in question . Unfortunately, nothing can be done about this at this time. We will have to take a look at this in the spring.
Après vérification , les électriciens m’ont mentionnés qu’il y a un fils brisé dans le sol qui alimentent les lampadaires en question. Malheureusement , rien ne peut être fait pour l’instant a ce sujet
On one of my regular District 2 walks recently David, one of my constituents, and some youngsters asked me when the Rembrandt Park basketball courts would be fixed up.
As part of our Capital Works Program, I was promised that this was in the plans for 2021. However, given the financial impact of the pandemic I could not be sure.
After speaking with project manager Dalia Mohamed I can now confirm the work will be done. The city will call for tenders in March and the renovations will occur towards the end of May.
First and foremost, there will be new asphalt installed. That is very important given the surface is in pretty poor condition. They will also paint new lines, install new benches and new lighting to allow for evening activity. The city will replace the existing headboards and nets with new backboards of rectangular shape with the double rim. For the basketball poles they will be sanded and painted with two coats.
Last week I spoke to Alex Fyon of J-Hoops, which runs basketball programs year-round and there could be a possible partnership in the works.
Meanwhile, the tennis season at Rembrandt was extended due to the unseasonably warm weather. For tennis court # 1, the city awarded a contract to install a 15-feet barrier to allow the Public Works trucks to enter the court
I am pleased to report that the 162 bus stop has finally been move back from the corner of Rembrandt Avenue and Kildare Road. It previously stood right at the driveway entrance to the highrise condo at 5790 Rembrandt.
When I met with condo reps on Rembrandt last May it was agreed that in combination with the new stop sign across the street, the bus stop was creating a blindspot for motorists attempting to turn left. Police Station 9 Traffic Officer Simon Poitras and CSL Traffic Committee Councillor David Tordjman concurred. Our Traffic Engineer Spyro Yotis was then charged with the task of trying to persuade the Montreal Transit Commission (MTC) to make this change, something they had refused in the past. We were fortunately successful in the endeavor this time around.
We recently installed a larger stop sign at Kildare and Rembrandt. I did receive some requests for a crosswalk, but our Traffic Committee stated that we do not wish to encourage pedestrians to cross at the corner. Instead they should either do so at Kildare and Cavendish or Kildare and Sir Walter Scott.
I am pleased to report that a new security measure will soon be put into place at the corner of Rembrandt Avenue and Kildare Road.
Last September we added a new stop sign at that section heading towards Cavendish. Motorists on Rembrandt had been locked in, particularly during rush hour, for many years. Our Traffic Committee did a number of studies for taking this measure. I had promised to review it in the spring. Councillor David Torjdman (Traffic Committee Chair) and I met with Police Station 9 Traffic Officer Simon Poitras and did so with a group of Rembrandt Ave. condo reps. I then went with Officer Poitras to observe the intersection. Not only did Officer Poitras agree that the area is safer now with the stop sign, but he supported a suggestion from our meeting related to the Montreal Transit Commission.
The 162 bus stops directly at Rembrandt and Kildare. This creates a partial blindspot for cars turning left from Rembrandt. After interventions from our Traffic Engineer Spyro Yotis the MTC has agreed to move the stop back 15 meters. This will make a big difference and improve the situation even more. The MTC does not adhere to requests like this often. We hope the work will be completed by the end of August.
In keeping with my promise to study the traffic flow on Kildare Road, west of Cavendish, particularly at the corner of Rembrandt Avenue I spent 45 minutes with Montreal Police Station 9 Traffic Officer Simon Poitras on the scene during a Monday morning rush hour.
History will note that after the last election I requested that the CSL Traffic Committee study the possibility of adding a stop sign to slow down speeders and give motorists on Rembrandt a window to turn towards Cavendish - particularly during rush hour.
Last week Councillor David Tordjman (Traffic Committee Chair), Officer Poitras and I met with representatives of Rembrandt condominiums to discuss how the new stop sign has worked and sought suggestions on how to improve the safety of the corner even further. A lot of good ideas were shared and they will be discussed at the next Traffic Committee meeting. You can see the summary here.
Officer Poitras did say at our meeting that at first glance he was concerned that by having a stop sign at only one side of Kildare (the other is not long enough) it might give drivers a false sense of security. Following our session he went out on his own to study the corner and upon reflection he was comfortable that the new measure is working. He then called and invited me to join him. We noticed that cars coming from Rembrandt were all looking both ways very carefully before turning left. A lot of vehicles were driving fast, some doing quick (and illegal) stops at the new signs. Beware! Officer Poitras will stake out the corner. On the other side we noticed that the 162 bus was stopping well before the driveway where its sign is posted, which is a good thing because its actual stop does create a blind spot. And that existed before we added the stop sign.
We do need to reduce the speed limit on Kildare, from Cavendish to Merrimac and we hope the Montreal Transit Commission will consent to moving their bus stop back several feet.
I will keep everyone updated on this dossier.
Last September we added a new stop sign at the corner of Rembrandt and Kildare Road going West. We did so to address the concerns of Rembrandt Ave. residents who have often been stranded at their stop sign endlessly.
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 the approach are not met. Thus the reason why another stop sign was not installed.
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 Ave. 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 Ave. are quite pleased. The response is mixed from those on other streets.
In order to get a better handle on how people feel I called a small 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 stop sign was discussed at the last Traffic Committee meeting. Council has not made any final decision on its future. For now the status quo remains in place. I insisted that residents of Rembrandt should certainly be consulted again and I asked Councillor Tordjman and Police Station 9 Traffic Officer Simon Poitras to join me at a meeting with representatives from the condomiums on Rembrandt. We did so on Monday night, May 27.
The purpose of the meeting was for Councillor Tordjman and Officer Poitras to share any concerns of the Traffic Committee and the Police. At the same time, I invited the condo reps to express their views and provide us with some ideas on how to make that stop safer.
Councillor Tordjman stated from the start that the possibility of any accident occurring at that corner existed prior to the installation of the new stop sign as well.
The Traffic Committee will continue to monitor this intersection. A traffic flow study will be undertaken to measure the volume of traffic and the times they are approaching each intersection.. We have decided to do this after Labour Day when school is back in full swing. It will give us a better portrait of the situation.
We had some excellent suggestions from then condo reps. These will be shared with the Traffic Committee.
One comment that resonated came from resident David Haltrecht who said “Since this stop sign was installed I feel safer! Before that the situation was far more dangerous. Motorists turning left from Rembrandt got impatient and would make illegal turns, wading their way right into traffic.”
I will keep everyone posted.
For the last several months, our Urban Development, Public Works and Public Safety Departments, have been working diligently with the administrators of the Condo Elysée on Rembrandt Avenue and how to assist them while major garage work occurs over the next four months.
The Elysée data base of 84 cars license plate numbers have been submitted to Public Security. Residents in the immediate area can expect to see a lot of cars on the street. Those residing in the other condos would be well advised to use their own garages all of the time, even if they are only going in and out for a few minutes.
Public Safety has been very helpful in collecting vehicle information. Public Works will ensure that the recycling bins are attended to. A big thanks as well to Spyro Yotis, our traffic engineer.
Work like this on a street with many condo buildings can be disruptive. The administration of the Elysée has been very well organized. Hats off to Agneta Hollander and Steve Acre in particular.