Traffic committee promises to have solution soon
MONTREAL - Premier Jean Charest joined Quebec's new traffic planning committee for a meeting on Thursday, but solutions to the ongoing disaster that is Montreal-area commuting were few and far between.
"We share the frustration of Montrealers who have to live through all of this," said Charest.
The committee says it has plans to reduce traffic and ease the perpetual traffic jams that are clogging highways and thoroughfares in the region before school starts, but with classes beginning next week, those plans were nowhere to be seen.
"We're not going to announce them today because we want to make that a specific exercise and do it when it's well-completed, and that will make our life a little easier," said the premier.
Drivers say they are far beyond the point of being comforted by words and say it is long past time for definite action.
While many drivers have stories about being stuck in traffic for unknown reasons, or of taking half an hour to move four blocks, Bonnie Martin's delay brought tears to her eyes, and that of her son.
"It was a very, very frustrating day," said Martin.
This past Sunday Martin tried to take her seven-year-old son to see the Lion King at Place des Arts, an event he had eagerly been awaiting since receiving the tickets at Christmas.
But as soon as Martin drove onto University St. after coming from the South Shore, she entered traffic hell.
Thanks to construction and detours because of a parade, Martin and son were literally unable to drive the one kilometre to Place des Arts.
What's worse, while following instructions from police who were directing cars, they spent hours stuck.
"At one point, I watched a light change almost 40 times on Ste-Catherine," said Martin.
"It's just unfathomable that you can spend four hours in Montreal traffic because of redirection of traffic."
Needless to say, Martin and her son missed the show.
Not only that, they could not even leave Montreal until 4:30 p.m. because of detours and police direction.
Members of the Parti Quebecois say episodes like what Martin went through are unacceptable and are demanding more from the provincial government.
"Mr. Charest had no solutions to propose to Quebecers, and I think that's unacceptable," said PQ Transportation critic Nicolas Girard.
He also wants the federal government involved.
"I think Mr. Lebel [Federal Transportation Minister] should be there at the table with the other mayors, the other ministers to discuss this issue," said Girard.