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March 20th, 2018

Railway Crossings: the NDP tables a petition

Everywhere in Canada, people’s ability to travel freely within urban areas is restricted by railroad tracks. The lack of safe railway crossings remains a major obstacle to mobility and has serious implications for people’s safety. Today, Hélène Laverdière, MP for Laurier-Sainte-Marie, presented a petition with 2,300 signatures calling on the Minister of Transport to finally take action by installing new railroad crossings that remove existing barriers in urban areas.

“On May 17of last year, the Liberals missed an opportunity to act on this issue,” said Hélène Laverdière. “They voted against my bill to facilitate the construction of more railroad crossings and improve the mobility of pedestrians and cyclists. It is, after all, their responsibility to be aware of people’s mobility needs and to ensure that safe active transportation options are available to them. This petition is an important reminder that people are continuing to mobilize around this issue.”

The petition was started in 2017 by the Conseil régional de l’Environnement de Montréaland the Collectif citoyen pour des passages à niveau. For over 25 years, citizens, community groups, elected representatives of the three levels of government, businesses and merchants have all been asking for more railroad crossings — especially in the Plateau Mont-Royal and Rosemont-la-Petite-Patrie neighbourhoods. However, Canadian Pacific has chosen to ignore them, while up to 500 people cross unsafe railroad crossings on a daily basis.

“It is unacceptable for a government to ignore the legitimate expectations of thousands of its citizens, who are simply asking for a better urban environment,” said Hélène Laverdière. “The Minister of Transport cannot continually respond that his hands are tied. He must find the necessary resources and put the interests of the public before the interest of rail companies.”