Denis Coderre wants “pragmatic” solution to Plateau traffic problems

Published in The Gazette

Measures should be based on “consultation” and “respect”, he says while introducing borough candidates

Plateau Mont-Royal residents have “an alternative” to the traffic-calming decisions taken by the borough’s current administrators, Montreal mayor candidate Denis Coderre told reporters Saturday.

Not that Coderre would automatically reverse decisions taken by Projet Montréal to create more one-way streets, cul-de-sacs and additional parking meters, while doubling the price of resident parking stickers — actions that the former federal immigration minister says has fostered tension and division in the Plateau.

“We’ll review it, that’s for sure,” Coderre said of Projet Montréal borough mayor Luc Ferrandez’s efforts to reduce traffic congestion.

“What I’m looking for is A: consultation and B: respect. The street belongs to everybody. It is important for the cyclists, for the people with cars — everybody has to learn to live together. And frankly, because of the dogmatic approach we were living (with) for the last years, it created some major problems.

“So I’m pragmatic. If it’s a good, idea, it’s a good idea. if it’s not, we’ll change it. But we won’t pass it through fast. We’ll make sure that everyone’s part of the solution.”

Coderre gathered by the noisy market outside the Mont-Royal métro station Saturday to unveil his team’s slate of seven candidates running for municipal or borough office in the November elections.

Like Coalition Montréal Plateau mayoral candidate Danièle Lorain — a comedian and spokesperson for the women’s shelter Maison Marguerite — Team Coderre campaigned on improving “consultation.”

And like Lorain, Coderre Plateau mayoral candidate Gilbert Thibodeau — who ran in Hochelaga for the federal Liberals in 2011 — said he would review Projet Montréal’s parking-related decisions, which he said have enraged certain residents and Plateau merchants’ groups.

“It’s clear that this polarization is a problem,” Coderre said. “Clearly we have to find a better away.”

Projet Montréal recently faced criticism for being dogmatic, levied by former members Piper Huggins and Carl Boileau — both councillors now running under the Coalition Montréal banner.

Catherine Maurice, a Projet Montréal press aide, said the party’s Plateau officials have consulted the public on traffic issues, and were forced to raise the cost of parking stickers or face a budgetary deficit.

“We are extremely transparent,” she said.

Coderre also raised the issue of the role of political press aides — who are paid by the city, but are working and campaigning on behalf of parties during the run-up to the elections. He said the three press aides who support his party are now taking unpaid leaves of absence.

“I would ask my opponents to do the same thing,” he said.

Maurice, who identified herself as Projet Montréal’s only press aide paid by the city, disagreed that such a step was necessary: “We are following the rules to the letter.”

Coderre’s Plateau team includes:

Gilbert Thibodeau (borough mayor): management systems consultant, 2011 federal Liberal Party candidate in Hochelaga riding

Eleni Fakotakis (city councillor, Jeanne-Mance): management specialist and former borough councillor for Mile-End between 2005 and 2009

Antonio Rodrigues (borough councillor, Jeanne-Mance): family councillor

Alain Clavet (city councillor, Mile-End): volunteer committee member of the non-profit Petite maison des arts

Sandega Yeba (borough councillor, Mile-End): coordinator involved with economic development group Montreal International

Carmelle Marchessault (city councillor, DeLorimier): lawyer and director of legal services at l’Ordre des infirmières et infirmiers du Québec

Nam Truong (borough councillor, DeLorimier): 22-year-old dancer, co-owner of a sushi restaurant

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