ghost bike pedestrianize Parc Avenue Montreal

Photos by Mario Alberto Reyes Zamora

It’s time to pedestrianize Parc Avenue

Parc is a deathtrap in the heart of Montreal’s most densely populated neighbourhood. Enough is enough.

CBC reports that an “accident involving the driver of a truck” caused the death of a cyclist last Monday at the intersection of Mont-Royal and Parc Avenue. A 31-year old postdoc, Andrea Rovere, was “accidentally” struck by Brandon Marchand-Bibeau, who accidentally fled the scene after running over Andrea, with Andrea’s mangled bike still attached to the truck’s chassis.

What a horrible, unavoidable accident that nobody could have foreseen. 

On Tuesday morning, just hours after Andrea was killed, another collision between two cars happened at Mont-Royal and Parc. One of the cars ended up on the sidewalk.

In 2017, Projet Montréal and Équippe Coderre members both attended a cycling protest that included a “die-in” on Parc Avenue — one that commemorated the death of Suzanne Châtelain (who was struck by a bus on Parc, after trying to avoid an accidentally-flung-open car door) — and improvements to road safety along Montreal’s busiest corridors were promised.

(On Sunday morning, a ghost bike ceremony was held at Mont-Royal and Parc to commemorate the life of Andrea Rovere. Were Équipe Coderre and Projet Montréal representatives in attendance once again? Probably.)

While Projet Montréal never followed through with their promise of making it safer to bike on Parc, their oversight wasn’t strictly intentional. They just accidentally forgot to do anything.

Nevertheless, bike activists have accused Montreal’s city council of neglect: despite more than 15 years of activism for better safety measures on Parc, dead bodies and ghost bikes continue to pile up, say activists.

But haven’t those bike activists heard of the phrase “accidents happen”?

RIP Andrea Rovere

I myself can attest to the abject delusion of these so-called “activists”, and can confidently endorse the safety of Parc Avenue. After all, I’m a cyclist myself. And like many of my fellow cyclist friends, I have never been hit or killed by a car on Parc. I bike the street regularly, easily dodging the car doors that open in my path, deftly braking behind pick-up trucks that don’t signal right turns. In fact, I derive great pleasure when moms in singly-occupied SUVs pass mere centimetres from my chiselled biker body. It’s a form of flirting, is it not?

Although I concede that many of my less experienced cyclist friends refuse to accompany me on my jaunts up and down Parc Avenue (preferring the calmer paths of Esplanade and St-Urbain), there’s nothing like the thrill of getting close-passed by an Audi on Parc at 70km/h. I mean, sure, technically Parc’s posted speed limit is 40km/h — but who’s going to bother enforcing that? Certainly not the cops, who are too busy bombing down Parc themselves (that is, when they’re not crawling around Jeanne-Mance in their Dodge Chargers handing out fines to people drinking alcohol without the perfunctory picnic Cheetos). Give credit where credit is due, folks. Sometimes inaction is the bravest action you can take.

Speaking of Jeanne-Mance, I would like to applaud Projet Montréal for not caving into the “cyclist lobby” and their fellow loser urbanists who beg for lower speed limits, intersection redesigns and lane removals on Parc.

In a city like New York, being in favour of a highway that bisected Central Park would be tantamount to political suicide. But here in Montreal, we’re not afraid to divide our central park into two sister ones (Jeanne-Mance and Mount Royal) — giving over seven lanes of public space to cars, so that they can breathe.

Granted, every now and then, an unfortunate incident involving a cyclist or pedestrian will tragically ruin a car driver’s day. But maybe those anarcho-cyclists and incorrigible jaywalkers should be more careful? Parc is a highway after all.

And you know what they say.

Accidents happen. ■

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