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A bike path on Park Ave.? Cycling advocates say it's about time

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A bike advocacy group is calling on the City of Montreal to install bike lanes on Park Ave., one of the city’s busiest arteries.

That was the message of a Saturday demonstration organized by Velo Fantome, a group known for memorializing cyclists who have died on the road with white bicycles marking the locations of their crashes.

Ten years prior, the group installed their first white bike, known as a “Ghost Bike,” on Park Ave. near Saint-Viateur St. for 55-year-old Suzanne Chatelain, who was killed after swerving to avoid a van’s door.

Nearby, also on Park Ave., there is another white bike for 31-year-old Andrea Rovere, who died in an accident with a truck.

“There has still yet to be physical infrastructure installed for bikes,” said Severine Le Page, a spokesperson for Velo Fantome, who said a Park Ave.

“There are a lot of cars, and they are moving very fast,” she continued. “Unless we have physical infrastructure to slow people down, it’s not going to happen.”

Demonstrators made a human bike lane on Saturday to call for a more permanent fixture.

Organizers also said that, while they are pro-bike, they are not anti-car.

“There’s no animosity towards cars, but people driving cars need to realize they need to give a little more space,” said cyclist Julien Couasnon. Le Page said it was a question of “balancing space.”

“As a cyclist myself, I do not like to be on Park Avenue,” said Mile-End City Councillor Marie Plourde, who supported the demonstration.

When CTV asked if the city would install a bike path, she said she wasn’t able to commit to the demands.

“It’s a complicated matter because you have the 80 bus (line),” she said, which runs up and down Park Ave.

She says the city has asked the province to install a photo radar on the street to get cars to slow down. So far, she said, the answer has been no.

Until there’s movement on the bike path, Velo Fantome says, its members will continue to push the city to improve safety on the street.

“Aside from the cyclists that have died, there have been countless pedestrians who have been injured and people who have died on this street,” said Le Page. 

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