Verdun St. merchants worried about losing parking spaces
Some merchants in Verdun say they're worried about their bottom lines after a move by the city to do away with 275 parking spaces.
The spaces on Verdun St. will be replaced by a bike lane on either side of the street and will reduce parking by half.
Hairdresser Eve Sabourin is worried.
"Our people that are disabled or older people that can't walk for one or two or three blocks to come to see us: what are they going to do? What are we supposed to tell them? They've been coming here for like 30, 40, 45 years," she said.
Sabourin started a petition to put pressure on the borough to consult those affected before going ahead with the project. It has gathered 150 signatures so far.
"They didn't consult any of the people concerned by it. They didn't consult the merchants. They didn't consult the people living around," she said.
The borough said it did consult, though: once in 2014 and again in 2016. It also held a public meeting Thursday night, where 18 people spoke out in support of the project and 11 were against it.
"It's been discussed for many years and we decided to implement a pilot project so that we would have time to discuss and see the impact," explained Verdun borough councillor Marie-Andree Mauger. "Because many people fear the impacts, but if we don't try it, we will never know whether it's possible and the balance of the pros and cons of keeping the project permanent."
The borough is optimistic since it's seen an increase in residents cycling and usually only half of the paid parking spots are occupied.
Still, it plans to reduce permit parking on side streets and implement 60-minute parking for shoppers.
"We as residents and businesses to give this project a chance and see if it's going to be as bad as some fear or as good as some expect," said Mauger.
The pilot project is set to start later this month and run until October. If deemed successful, the paths will become permanent.