Over the past few months I’ve come to know the Boul. St. Laurent underpass between the Mile End and Little Italy quite well, adjacent to the parc sans nom. Jacob recently asked readers for their dangerous intersection beefs, and here’s my own contribution.
Today I spent 15 minutes watching numerous cyclists, pedestrians, and cars navigate the dangerous corner on the northern side. The lack of an efficient bicycle route across this divide (see map below) causes cyclists to take to the sidewalk when headed south (against car traffic). Pedestrians around the corner cannot see the cyclists, and vice-versa. Worse, cars moving at high rates of speed up St. Laurent cannot see around the corner, even to see those on the crosswalk until the last moment.
I’ve had a few close calls as cars quickly take the turn onto Bellechasse. Today’s evidence, shown below, of a missed turn indicates the speed at which people take the turn without a doubt, if not an evasive maneuver from a pedestrian or cyclist in the crosswalk.
In my experience, both cyclists and pedestrians are courteous to each other as they pass, slowly going and conscious of the blind spot. It’s as if there’s a common understanding that it’s an infrastructural flaw, an area not intended for heavy bicycle and pedestrian use.
However, if it hasn’t happened yet, there’s definitely high potential for some sort of collision.
View Bike route under railway in a larger map
This map shows the two bike routes. The red route is how most make the train track crossing, on the sidewalk, and is about 1 km shorter. The blue route shows how to cross if one stuck to the bike paths. Both have as starting points the common north–>south commuting route across the tracks, and end on the Clark bike path. Many people just cross the tracks on foot to avoid the underpasses.
The city should address this issue: create a southbound bike lane that allows for a seamless commute across the train tracks. They tried with the nearby St. Urbain route, but accessing that path seems only for Home Depot shoppers (the blue route in the map). If not, a stop sign or stoplight that slows traffic would be highly appreciated. They’re rushing only to sit in the Little Italy traffic anyways.