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Schukov: West Island drivers are treated like children

Schukov: West Island drivers are treated like children
09 Sep
4:23

Montreal drivers may be aggressive but why are we being treated as children by not allowing right turns on red lights on the island?

A pedestrian crosses the intersection on St-Jean Blvd. near Pointe-Claire city hall. Allen McInnis / Montreal Gazette

As I have always said, the West Island is one of the best places to live on the island because it is so low-key when it comes to headline news. The main subjects of controversy are usually real estate or traffic. So here I go off on the latter (again):

But first I (only) seemingly digress: I just came back from visiting friends who live in downtown Toronto. (It already sounds like my friends must be crazy, right?) Anyway, I am waiting at a red light, while pedestrians cross in front of my car. A lady walking her bike is just in front of my hood, and the light is still red when behind me the driver anticipating the change honks me. Like, I am supposed to jump the gun and run over the biker in front of me. Then the light turns green and the car in back zooms past me.

My wife is enraged by the rudeness, and alludes to me in unabashed lingo that the driver is a fundament. The driver of course fled the scene, no doubt avoiding flak.

I said, “No problem. We’ll catch up at the next red light.”

Sure enough, within seconds we were frozen right next to the jerk. (A lady looking only straight ahead.)

My wife leaned out her window and yelled, “You a&##*@ ! Is this how you treat visitors from Montreal?”

The lady looked at my wife sheepishly and replied, “I AM from Montreal.”

My wide shook her head and said, “I’m not surprised.”

And we all went on our merry way.

(True story.)

We hear it all the time; ‘”Montreal drivers are rude.” Personally, I wouldn’t whitewash them that way. I would say they are aggressive. And that, only in my opinion and my life-long experiences, really translates to: They are better drivers than most big city folk. (Most think they are speedway aces.)

Conclusion: Montreal drivers need to be sent to Miss Manners School. Toronto drivers should be forced to go back to driving school.

So what does this have to do with West Island traffic? For one thing, the government treats us like we are children by not allowing turns on red lights. Again, referring to Leafville, Toronto Central gridlock is a far bigger gong show than anything Montreal can dredge up. And while Hogtowners are allowed to turn right on a red amidst swarms of pedestrians and bicycles cutting across their path, it all works. Traffic moves a bit better with legal right turns.

Montreal drivers are better drivers. They should not be hog-tied by a rule as stupid and old as illegal yellow margarine. (Which was repealed, by the way, not that long ago.)

So, it’s legal off island. It works. Go another few miles with it: Legalize right turns in the West Island. See what happens: Nothing. Traffic will run smoother. (Are you going to try to tell me it could get worse?)

Example: What is the longest wait at a traffic light in the West Island? I think it’s the lights from hell on St-Jean Blvd. and Douglas Shand Ave. How nice would it be to be able to turn right and go north away from the library? Or from the south, turn towards the library and the big aquatic centre? If you can allow right turns in downtown Toronto where everyone should be on learners permits, why not the West Island? (We are clearly more civilized because we can buy beer at corner store at all hours.)

So, before I leave the topic of Quebec governments not knowing their collective left from their right, this headline:

Quoting from Baie-D’Urfé fears more traffic because of Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue project; Darya Marchenkova; Montreal Gazette, Aug. 21, 2018: “In a one-year pilot project, drivers will be prohibited from turning left onto Highway 20 westbound from Anciens-Combattants Blvd. (The ban applies between 4 and 6 p.m. Monday to Friday.)” All I will say is this: Have we not learned anything from the debacle that was Henri Daoust Blvd.? (That experiment was also withdrawn.)

And as far as the resulting complication of increased traffic in Baie-D’Úrfé: People (and municipal transport planners) just refuse to get it; there will always be more and more traffic down the road, so to speak, as the population increases, until we start leaving our cars at home and take public transport.

Source: https://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/west-island-gazette/schukov-west-island-drivers-are-treated-like-children

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