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City of Montreal, STM face criticism over plans to cut down trees for Pie-IX bus lane


The City of Montreal and the STM are facing criticism over their plans for the extension of the recently inaugurated bus rapid transit service, also known as the BRT, because of the plan to cut down mature trees.

When the reserved bus lane on Pie-IX Boulevard reopened last fall, it was a major development that improved public transit from St-Leonard to Sherbrooke Street, and also benefited the Metro system.

But there's a stretch of road left over and overlooked, that still has to be completed between the Olympic Stadium and Notre-Dame Street.

The work means that more than 100 mature trees are scheduled to be cut down to enlarge sidewalks

"The first draft was 144 trees, now it's only 107," said Eric Alan Caldwell, the STM chairman, who said he was hesitant about that part of the project at first.

It didn't take long for the opposition at City Hall to raise a red flag, arguing that the area can't afford to lose any more trees.

"We do not have a lot of green spaces in the area and the ones that we have are in danger. So that's why, for people, every tree matters," explained the city councillor for Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Alba Zuniga Ramos.

Caldwell responds that the STM plans to replace the trees once the construction of the rapid bus lane is completed. The plan now is to plant 240 trees, more than the number that are expected to be taken down.

People in the area are concerned, however, it will take years before the trees grow to maturity,

"We need trees to purify the air from all the pollution," a man who lives on Pie-IX told CTV News.

A consultation process is in place, so no final decision has yet been made.

Caldwell is convinced the final plan will convince all the doubters.

"We'll improve pedestrian safety, traffic, and how we redesign the street,” he said. Top Stories

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