(Eastman) Every morning, parents from Val-de-Grâce Elementary School bring their children to the Eastman side of Route 112 in the Eastern Townships.
Posted at 6:00 am
To get to the school, 50 meters away, the group must first cross two lanes of heavy traffic, including numerous dump trucks, often speeding at 55 or 60 km/h.
“If we’re there for five or seven minutes and no one is going to let us cross, I have to raise my hand and signal drivers to stop,” says Mélanie Tanguay, a mother of five who lives across the street from the school.
Mme Tanguay was recently scolded by an impatient driver as she crossed her son who was on crutches. “It’s crazy ! My kids have been almost run over several times in front of school. Our sense of security is zero,” she says.
The problem of the dangers of Route 112 in front of the Val-de-Grâce Elementary School, attended by nearly 300 children in the heart of the Eastman community, has been known for years: even children who live a mile or two away are dropping out of school on foot or riding a bike, regrets Laurent Auger, an Eastman citizen.
“If you don’t drive fast enough in a car, you’ll be overtaken, even if it’s an overtaking zone,” he says. Currently the road is clearly not safe, certainly not for children. »
Do you have a plan?
Eastman Mayor Nathalie Lemaire says she wants to make things better. “But Route 112 is the responsibility of the Quebec Department of Transportation, which is the only entity authorized to make changes to it,” she said.
She notes that the problem of MTQ roads where the speed limit is too high for communities and citizens isn’t unique to Eastman — it’s widespread across the province.
In an ideal world, Mme Lemaire would reduce the speed limit from 50km/h to 30km/h, add a protected pedestrian crossing in front of the school and add conspicuous markings on the ground in the school area and other physical interventions to clearly alert motorists to slow down. .
At the request of the community, representatives of the MTQ came in May to take a look at the situation.
They said a traffic study would need to be done before they could see if 30km/h was possible.
Nathalie Lemaire, Mayor of Eastman
Lucie Lanteigne, community councilor and chair of the Eastman Township’s Active Transportation Committee, notes that a pedestrian crossing was installed on Route 112 years ago, but it is not in front of the school and is little used.
There is also an intersection between Route 112 and Chemin George-Bonnallie not far from the school, which is dangerous to walk or bike across as there are no stops on Route 112. Despite repeated requests from citizens and the community, the MTQ refuses to install them.
Security or Speed?
“We were told that a stop is not there to slow traffic,” says Mr.me Lanteigne. And there is always this question of the “flowability of transport”. Can you explain to me why we must compromise the safety of our children and the quality of life in our community to allow drivers to get to their homes 36 seconds sooner? »
Nomba Danielle, spokeswoman for the MTQ’s Direction générale de l’Estrie, notes that a meeting to discuss active transport was held in Eastman last month.
“The municipality has been examining a list of issues for the ministry to address, including the issue of reducing the speed limit in the school area of Val-de-Grâce primary school,” she says.
A city resolution passed in Eastman to secure Route 112 is being investigated by MTQ.
“The ministry is willing to work with the community. We will analyze the request and then we can give an answer, ”notes M.me Danielle.