MONTREAL – The restaurateurs and retailers lament the poor accessibility to the Old Port. These see a drop in traffic worrying that does not seem to be disliked by the City of Montreal.
“[The piétonnisation of the street of the Commune] was made in a manner outrageous, seven days per week, without consultation,” growls the general manager of the restaurant Jardin Nelson, Jean-Marc Lavoie.
Three weeks ago, Mr. Lavoie would have sent out a letter explaining the situation to the City without having received an answer, which assured him of the change.
His colleague of the Counter 400, Sasha Brand, ” says in this regard : “[The decision-makers of the City], you’re going to kill us. There is nothing more than attendance”, he said since the piétonnisation the street from the Common on June 11.
The restaurants and shops of the Old Port are struggling to achieve a rate of traffic satisfactory. “It is at 20-25%. You should be able to run at 150% because it is in the middle of the season. Everything is done in spite of the good sense to not allow us to get out of it. In September it will be 10%, then in October, we will be closed,” is afraid Bruno Zarka of the restaurant Deli on the Vieux-Port.
Streets blocked, pedestrian streets
A short walk in the company of Sacha Brand allows you to see that pedestrians and cyclists have a lot of space to roam. “De La Commune street is wide enough to allow one lane for cars, a pedestrian and a bicycle, but without people to dawdle,” he said.
Mr. Brand proposed that a loading zone be established to facilitate access to the regular customers and persons with reduced mobility. “When you do three-quarters of an hour, we don’t want to park at the gap. When you are with young children or elderly parents, then it is simple to drop off his passenger and go to park later”, explains Sacha Brand.
UberEats and Cie
Delivery services such as UberEats, Skip and Doordash have to calculate an extra 20 minutes to the normal delivery. This period of time accounts for the walk that needs to traverse the deliveryman to the parking lot to pick up the meal from restaurant.
“We find ourselves in a situation which reduces our capacity, which reduces the influx because we don’t have tourists, and it prevents people from Montreal to come by car,” explains Bruno Zarka.
Call to the discussion
Mr. Brand wants the street to the Common has an amendment to its land use plan and piétonnisation. “See us before, not when the damage is done. It is already in decline in sales, don’t we add more barriers.”