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Nov 18

Active transportation advocates argue for year-round access to Jacques-Cartier Bridge bike paths

A group of cyclists and pedestrians staged a protest on the Jacques-Cartier Bridge Saturday to pressure the federal Crown corporation responsible for managing the structure to ensure the bike and footpaths on the bridge remain open year-round.

The bridge serves as an important link between Montreal and the South Shore, according to Mike Muchnik, a spokesperson for the Association of Pedestrians and Cyclists of the Jacques-Cartier Bridge.

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    “Many people — in fact 3,500 people was the last estimate — use the bike path every day while it’s open in the summer months, the spring and the fall,” Muchnik said. “But it’s never been open in the winter, and least not in the last 30 years.”

    READ MORE: More than 1 million Montreal cyclists on the road: Vélo Québec report

    Muchnik argued that commuters who use the multi-purpose path to get to work shouldn’t have to look for alternate means of transportation just because it’s winter.

    By staging a protest, the group hoped not only to promote active transportation but also gain political support for their cause, pointing out that several cities maintained their bike paths throughout the seasons.

    “The city of Montreal promotes winter cycling, and the city of Longueuil plows many of their bike paths,” Muchnik said.

    READ MORE: Montrealers celebrate the joys of winter cycling

    The newly formed group sent a proposal to the bridge corporation in the hopes the two can work together in the future to ensure access to safe modes of active transportation year-round.

    A news release on the  website for the Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges, states the bridge corporation will be launching a pilot project aimed at keeping the paths open. The project requires some engineering work to be done in 2017, with testing on sections of the bridge slated for 2018.