Three new trains are a definite must on the Vaudreuil-Hudson line, says coalition
© Chronicle photo Keith McAuliffe
The province’s traffic congestion costs $1.5 billion a year, according to Transport Minister Sylvain Gaudreault.
After the Agence Metropolitaine Transport (AMT) alleviated commuter’s concerns in Candiac and St. Jerome, and the PQ government announced its plans to extend the metro’s blue line to Anjou, West Island’s Train de l’Ouest coalition says “it’s now our turn.”
The group announced earlier last week at Valois train station it wanted to see additions to West Island’s public transit network, including three new trains during peak periods each way in 2014 with additional parking at key stations and better bus-train liaison.
“We’re not going to leave it aside. We’re not going to forget it. We’re going to keep pressing until it happens. We’re hoping they’ll say yes,” said Train de l’Ouest spokesperson Clifford Lincoln.
Train de l’Ouest is also demanding the AMT to prepare a definitive development plan for the Lucien-L’Allier station as an intermodal transport hub and for the Quebec transport organization to make public of their plans by December 2013.
Given the reduction from three lanes to two on Highway 20 to make room for a new express bus lane, and the impending impact of work to the Turcot Interchange, commuting in and out of the West Island is set to get even more complicated if it hasn’t already.
“The place is a nightmare to drive in and out of the cities. With the reduced lanes, you have immense backup during peak hours. We need to take some cars off the road,” said Lincoln.
The coalition has the support of Baie d’Urfé Mayor Maria Tutino, who agreed public transport in the West Island must be rectified. She noted the city’s industrial park, a sector which attracts over 5,000 employees, is in desperate need of additional modes of public transportation, and could benefit from added train service.
“We need to get people in our park. The town can do everything possible to invest in infrastructure to get workers in the park, but we may lose them over time if we can’t get them here in an affordable way,” said Tutino, who sits on the AMT management committee.
Tutino said it’s time for the government to finally commit financially to a traffic problem Transport Minister Gaudreault says is costing Quebec $1.5 billion annually.
As for the bigger picture for public transportation in the West Island, Lincoln hopes the fate of the “Train de l’Ouest” project is determined by December when the AMT will present their recommendations to the Ministry of Transport. If approved, the project would be slated to begin next year.
The Train de l’Ouest project is largely considered as the primary remedy to the West Island’s traffic woes, and one which is long overdue.
“It’s been over discussed, over studied; the end result is always the same, the solution is always the same - the Train de l’Ouest is an integral part of an integrated solution. Train de l’Ouest will be a reliable metro system. It’s time to start investing,” said Tutino.