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Coney Island? Many of Montreal's construction cones aren't serving any purpose


The City of Montreal is holding a one-day summit to figure out why there are so many orange cones around construction sites and, as it turns out, many of them are useless.

The city found that 3,500 cones are sitting on work sites not serving any purpose, often abandoned by contractors.

Left on the street, Montreal's mobility squad is required to collect those cones because they are still impeding traffic.

The city is in charge of issuing permits, but only about 30 per cent of worksites are municipal, and others could be private contractors or utilities.

The administration is considering some changes, including placing a 12-hour maximum on installing or removing construction cones to fight so-called "phantom sites" where, for example, cones remain on the street for three weeks when the work permit is only for five days.

The mobility squad handed out about 6,000 fines last year related to construction sites. The city is considering more and harsher deterrents, including potentially increasing the fine amount.

"The fact that the mobility squad gave last year more than 6,000 fines tells a lot about the lack of responsibility for those private entrepreneurs. They're doing their job, and sometimes they're not concerned about the pedestrians, about the fact that it's important for a city to stay beautiful," said City of Montreal spokesperson Philippe Sabourin.

One of the main issues the city said it wants to change is culture.

"When you have such a high number of closures at one point or the other, with all those orange cones everywhere, you create an impression that the downtown is a bit dysfunctional," said Michel Leblanc, president of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal.

"If you're a tourist, then you walk, it's not that bad. But at the end of the day, when there are that many orange cones, it becomes the identity of the city."

The Montreal Chamber of Commerce found in a report that 94 per cent of downtown streets were either partially or totally closed at some point during 2022 because of construction and work sites. 

"The administration took five years to get to the point," said Saint-Laurent Borough Mayor Alan DeSousa, a member of the official opposition. He accused the Valerie Plante's team of "coming to the party late."

"Having (the summit) in the spring, it's going to be really tight to make changes by the summer," he said. Top Stories

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