Did you know that a simple email to your district, or a call to 311 could be enough to transform your alley messy and dangerous place to live with limited access to local traffic by bollards, bells of cement or planters?
I was talking with the mayor of Mercier–Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Pierre Lessard-Blais, last week, and it taught me something that I deem fit to share with you. No need for a coalition of neighbors organized a small company to improve his alley: a single person can make a difference just by making a query.
It can vary according to the districts and the authorities but, as a general rule, if you ask that your lane is secure, it is often all it takes for those responsible to take action. On the other hand, if nobody asks anything, nothing happens.
As soon as the morning after this conversation with the mayor Lessard-Blais, I was writing so this message to my district: “Several families with young children under ten years of age living around my alley, including my four year old son, as well as the small neighbours in the top three and five years. Cars circulate sometimes quite quickly in the alley, including behind the shops of the rue Sainte-Catherine, which is dangerous not only on this stretch itself, but also on the sidewalks where lead vehicles. Would there be any way to secure the lane to make it more conducive to children’s games and socialization between neighbors?”
In the few minutes that I devoted to the writing of this e-mail will probably be my time the most wisely invested the last few months. The tiny effort to speak to my district could improve my neighborhood for years; if not this summer, next year.
My lane is, for the moment, ugly and neglected. It is a kind of storeroom. Last spring, I had spent an hour there picking up garbage, but I did not have the “civic courage” to do the same thing this year. Why force me to a piece of street where no child plays, and where nobody is standing? This is stupid because, like a lot of streets, it has potential: it could become a sort of agora… if it felt safe.
“It is possible to make an application to the district so that a lane is secure, even if the latter is not included in a project, green lane”, has confirmed to me that Maude Cuff, advisor planning at Hochelaga. “The committee for mobility of the district meets once per month to review the applications submitted.” In short, good news: if your lane is hard, your borough may be waiting just for you to give a reason to act. So I hope that once my lane “secure”, my neighbours and me, little by little, we, we”appropriate”, we embellirons, the verdirons, in a virtuous circle that will benefit everyone.
My next e-mail to the borough will be asked if there is a way to obtain one or more of the wall, with coating paint, made by artists of the neighborhood, the question of setting the color in the alley – a number of programs exist to finance such projects. And my following e-mail (because it’s going to become a habit) will claim a bike rack in front of me in order to spare the old fence of wrought iron. Ask and you shall receive…