Borough pushes back against Montreal's plan to close some streets to traffic
MONTREAL -- Some Montreal boroughs are pushing back against the city's proposed plan to close several streets to cars and make them pedestrian-only.
The city proposed a stimulus plan for businesses, as they begin to reopen, that would include closing nine city streets to traffic and making them pedestrian playgrounds.
But that plan has been scrapped by borough council in Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie, which rejected the idea of closing parts of Masson and Beaubien Streets.
Parking is a big concern for local merchants, and most restaurants are reluctant to invest in terrace furniture after a tough spring, said Kheir Djaghri, the director of Promenade Masson's commercial development group.
"The consequence is that all the parking on the commercial artery has been taken away. This is very problematic for us merchants," he said.
Businesses have already taken a massive hit due to the pandemic.
"The way it's going, it seems as though we're not going to make it through," said Mohammed Rahman, who said takeout orders at his restaurant, Tandoori Maison, have been just barely paying the rent.
"It's very hard, and I'm not the only one in that boat. There's a lot of others in the same situation."
Rahman doesn't like the idea of a pedestrianized street.
"I think it's my opinion, if they take all of the parking away, we'll be affected by a lack of clients too," he said.
Other merchants, though, were excited by the idea of a pedestrian street and say they're not keen on a proposal to compromise by closing the street to car traffic on weekends only.
"Am I going to buy some tables for two days? It's a solution, but I don't think it's a better solution. I think we can do more than that," said Rachel Chevalier-Richard of Cafe Lezard.
"I think the City of Montreal has got to help us. They have to do something."