While traffic has been lighter than expected around the Turcot Interchange, residents in Montreal West argue their neighbourhood is looking more and more like a highway every day.
Traffic has increased in the area since closures on Highway 20 started Sunday.
“There is no such thing as ‘against’ traffic anymore. It’s everywhere,” said Montreal West resident Kevin Alladin.
He works in the West Island, but says he still feels the effects of the closures.
Residents insist the problem is that drivers are using Montreal West as a shortcut.
Instead of facing traffic at the Turcot Interchange, many exit at the Ville Saint-Pierre Interchange, ending up on Westminster Avenue before using smaller side streets to get downtown.
“Drivers knew it was coming, but they’re trying to find an alternate route through the city,” said Alladin.
“It’s making the side streets and streets that aren’t used to carrying that volume of cars much more difficult.”
The amount of traffic on residential streets is a surprise even for Montreal West mayor Beny Masella.
“I don’t even know why people are on them, frankly,” he said.
“People are just coming in to town and looking to get out and on side streets and they shouldn’t be there.”
New speed warnings have been installed on Brock South Avenue, Ballantyne Avenue and Ronald Drive.
“I hate to say that public transit is a problem,” said Alladin.
“If they’re adding trains on the train line and the gates close, there’s going to be that much longer a line. There’s just constant traffic at the level crossings.”
Masella agrees having three AMT train lines pass through Montreal West is a double-edged sword.
“It’s not just people from Montreal West coming to get the train. We have people from NDG, Côte Saint-Luc, Hampstead all looking for ways to get to the highway,” he said.
The town has been pushing for a redesign of the level crossing.
While that would be a long-term, million dollar project, Masella said he is also trying to impose immediate changes, including installing a new traffic light.