By Rhonda Massad
On March 12 at the request of the Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and the Fight against Climate Change, the Office of Public Hearings on the Environment (BAPE) released its report on the completion of the Highway 19 project with lanes for public transit in Laval and Bois des Filion.
The mandated investigation and public hearing began in September 2014. The commission found that pursuant to hearings and review of 43 briefs filed by interested groups, municipalities and citizens, that an improved link between Highways 440 and 640 on the axis of Highway 19 and Highway 335 is still justified.
Justification lies in the expected high population growth over the coming years on Laval territory and that of the North Shore.
The committee indicates that further comparative analysis is required between the two-lane highway and urban boulevard scenarios, including one with junctions and interchanges. It is recommended that this analysis should be conducted before the Ministry of Transportation of Quebec retains a final plan.
The report suggests the Quebec Minister of Transport (MTQ) do an in depth study to include carpooling lanes and public transit lanes based on the recommendations of The Laval Regional Council for the Environment (CRE).
Both highway and urban boulevard scenarios require a redesign of the multipurpose path to ensure the safety of pedestrians and cyclists as well as the ease of citizens using active transportation from the poles of Laval. It is also suggested that the project ensure sustainable development and ensure a smooth integration into the community.
The MTQ will consider the prospect of limiting the speed to 70 km/h between Boulevard Thousand Islands and Highway 640, which would allow farm machinery to drive on roads and pedestrians and cyclists to cross to the height of the Brissette overpass.
The commission of inquiry found that the Highway 19 completion project is not currently part of the list of projects of over $50 million in the study or planning by the Government of Quebec.
“At the end of the day it is the provincial government that decides. Do they have the budget to make such a heavy investment?” vice-chairman of Laval’s Executive Committee, David de Cotis stated in an interview with The Suburban, “We have not heard much from the provincial government. It was a favourable topic during the election and now they have commented so we will wait and see.”
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