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Both sides protest over controversial Park Ex bike path

Residents on both sides of a bike path controversy made a lot of noise in Park Extension Monday morning.

An upgrade to a bike path on Querbes Avenue will make it safer, but it will also replace some 250 parking spots.

"We want a better solution, one that includes a secure bike path and parking for the residents," said local resident Sia Spanoudakis. She said her parents have a parking spot for people with reduced mobility in front of their home that will be removed.

Others support the bike path, saying it will improve safety – as the current path is painted on the road but not protected.

"This cycle lane is really not protected from cars, from trucks," said demonstrator Paul Jaques.

The upgrade would move the bike lanes closer to the sidewalks and further away from traffic, a change some have been demanding for years.

"Nothing has been done, so it’s long overdue that we have one secure bike path. This is the first one. It’s very symbolic, it’s very historic," said Xavier Kronstrom Richard.

The debate has gotten louder out on local streets, but continues inside the borough offices, where's fierce opposition to this project. Critics say this proposal is one of the most controversial among residents in recent memory.

"It's causing people heartache, frustration," said city councillor Mary Deros, who has been a councillor in Park Ex for over two decades.

"You have people coming home at night from working at the hospital in nights jobs. They're concerned," she said. "We're not against bike paths -- bike paths were already painted on the streets, they were working fine."

Borough Mayor Laurence Lavigne Lalonde said the plan was well considered.

"Fifty per cent of people don’t own a car. I have to think of those people as well," she said. "It’s not something that was out of our head just like that this morning, 'Oh let’'s do a bike path.' We have one, it’s not safe. We want to make it safe. Every time someone dies on the street, everyone throws the mic and says 'Why didn't you act before to secure the streets?' Now we are acting before."

She said anyone with reduced mobility losing an accessible spot can call the borough to find a fix.

Work on the path will start in a few days and finish in a few weeks. Top Stories

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