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Construction of controversial NDG bike path set to begin this week

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The re-imagined Terrebonne Street bike path is making its return this week.

The path in NDG proved to be so controversial the first time around officials were forced to remove it. The borough went back to the drawing board but changing people's minds is a hard sell.

No parking signs lined Terrebonne Street from Cavendish Boulevard to Coronation Avenue on Sunday as the city is preparing for phase one of construction on the new bike path set to start this week.

"It's going to be a nightmare for NDG residents," said Irwin Rapoport, the Terrebonne Neighbourhood Association co-leader.

The path will be on both sides of the street and Terrebonne will be converted into a one-way street with traffic heading east between Cavendish Boulevard and Girouard Avenue and west between Cavendish and Coronation Avenue.

"How is this actually proving itself to be environmentally conscious when you put all of these people all in new directions to travel around our area?" said Marieyvonne Kiely, an NDG resident.

The Terrebonne Neighbourhood Association has been trying to get the project cancelled since last November and its members want the borough to hold a public consultation.

"We are not against bike paths at all. A lot of our members are cyclists and a bi-directional bike path could easily have been installed, maintaining the two lanes of parking and having a driving lane," Rapoport said.

Parking will only be allowed on one side of the road, reducing the amount of spots available by about 300. Residents worry about access to the three schools on Terrebonne and to Saint Monica's Church.

Parishioners say the church needs parking for funerals and weddings and if they don't have them, they are worried the church could close.

"It's going to be so difficult that a good chunk of them will probably go to another church that's more convenient for parking," said NDG resident Clare Keays.

The hotly contested path has left neighbours divided. The NDG Pedestrians and Cyclists Association says its been calling for a safe network of bike paths in the community.

"We're thrilled to have something, especially where there are schools that people can finally take their kids and cycle to school with them or to their activities," said the association's Rachel Michie.

In a statement to CTV News, the office of the borough mayor Gracia Kasoki Katahwa said, "Our role as elected municipal officials is to offer safe options for all road users....we have opted for a solution that will guarantee safety for all."

It went to say: "We will remain vigilant, agile and attentive to the impact of this new configuration."

Work will be done in three phases and is expected to be complete by July 15 but residents say they won't stop their fight until the project is rolled back.

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