Far from being insensitive to the concerns of the merchants on Avenue Cartier, the president of the RTC believes that some of them are not sufficiently informed about the tram project, from which they will nevertheless “benefit”, she assures.
“The unknown can be frightening,” Maude Mercier Larouche said during a press crowd on Wednesday, the day after a remarkable exit by around thirty dealers on Avenue Cartier.
They fear the impact of developing a common road at René-Lévesque, near Cartier, to facilitate tram passage. They anticipate traffic flow issues, delivery difficulties, and a lack of parking in the area.
While some of her concerns may be “justified at this point,” Frau saidme Mercier Larouche believes that when people are “better informed” they will be more committed to the project.
“I’m not saying they’re misinformed… they’re not. I think they are filled with a dose of information. Some didn’t have all the information and I can tell you that a few traders have come forward [mardi] were not present at the meeting that took place in March with Cartier merchants in the sector,” the president of the RTC frankly stated.
“You know, if you don’t know something, that’s well proven in human psychology, it causes more worry. We, we want to listen to these concerns, there will be other meetings, we will multiply the meetings,” she stressed, adding that it is “wrong to say that there has been no effort” on the part of the city to accommodate them.
Dealers will benefit
Mme Mercier Larouche confirms that the city has been conducting “strategic monitoring” of similar projects elsewhere in the world, leading her to conclude that the implications for traders are generally positive, despite their prior fears.
“A project like this is being looked at superficially if we say that with Cartier’s public square we want to create a lively environment, attract people, it will bring economic vitality to the industry. The traders, I think they have to look ahead and project themselves into the future of the project because they are bound to benefit,” she argued.
No long tunnel
Those calling for a long tunnel to Avenue des Érables – for the tram’s underground portion – will be disappointed to find that the city of Quebec has no intention of changing its mind and revising its plans due to insufficient funds for that Project budget is already almost 4 billion US dollars.
Mme Mercier Larouche repeated what Mayor Marchand had already said publicly. “Currently the project that is in the saddle is the one with a short tunnel. No changes are planned at this time.”
The trader says he is in solve mode
For his part, the mayor of Québec says he understands the concerns of dealers in the Cartier sector about future streetcar development and assures that the city is on course to find a solution.
“I understand the concerns and it’s normal for someone who has a shop front in an area that is to be redeveloped [en ait]’ Bruno Marchand said on Wednesday. “Solutions have to be found on delivery,” he agreed. These are easier to find for companies far from René-Lévesque. The mayor ensures that the dialogue with those affected continues.
Respond to some comments
However, he qualified certain claims made by dealers, in particular about the loss of parking spaces. The 500 squares that will be removed from the boulevard are not all in the common section of the street, he stressed.
As for road safety, sharing spaces and calming traffic in the area is a guarantee of safety, he says. “With a shared road, cyclists and pedestrians are better protected. There will be fewer accidents, this has been documented worldwide.
Finally, like the President of the RTC, he pointed out that some of the dealers who had come forward had not participated in the public consultations. “Shall we consult further? Yes. But if we do and you don’t come, I don’t have to blame you. But don’t say, “Quebec City isn’t trying.” Don’t come and blame Quebec City.”
– With the collaboration of Stephanie Martin