A few days ago spray-painted footsteps appeared at intersections in the south-west part of Villeray, with the stencil “Réclamez un passage.” I’m happy to see them. From my home nearby I frequently hear tires screeching as cars stop abruptly for pedestrians and other cars, and at the end of the workday north-bound traffic races from stop sign to stop sign on the side streets. I’ve seen two accidents since moving to the area in May, and a recent car-pedestrian accident inspired workers at a neighbourhood restaurant to petition for all-direction stop signs at ave. Henri-Julien and rue de Castelnau.
Photo taken August 5th, 2009 at ave. Henri-Julien and rue de Castelnau.
Traffic on Faillon, de Castelnau, and other east/west-bound streets in Villeray generally does not face stop signs, and thus the 30 km/h limit is more of a suggestion. This is compounded with a lack of cross-walks, and visibility around each corner is low for north/south-bound vehicles (including bikes) due to parked cars.
While traffic is a problem throughout the city, I never saw so many close calls when I lived in the Plateau, where traffic-calming measures are increasingly present. Why shouldn’t this be the case in other boroughs? A study on traffic calming in Montreal shows that although both the Plateau and Villeray-St. Michel-Parc Extension boroughs have similar traffic densities, the latter is home to many more traffic-related injuries (notwithstanding its much lower population density). The study’s data is a few years old, but I don’t doubt it is still the case.
The stenciled footsteps are alongside the Réseau ACCÈS MONTRÉAL number, 311, which residents can call to file complaints and requests with the city.
Please let me know if you’ve seen the piéton vert‘s work elsewhere.