School corridor at MHM: between garbage and car traffic

To get to theGuillaume Couture primary school in the borough of Mercier–Hochelaga-Maisonneuve (MHM), students must use school corridors described as “unsafe” by several parents of students. A mother denounces the “constant” garbage deposits on rue Beaubien Est, which make trips to school with her daughter “nauseous”.

When she goes to pick up her daughter in second year at Guillaume-Couture school from rue Mignault, Chantal has to go through rue Beaubien Est, between boulevard Langelier and rue Lacordaire. She has been doing this path daily for nearly a year and a half to pick up her daughter from school. “In a year and a half, nothing has been improved,” she shares to Subway.

The path taken by the students to get to the school is not safe, she denounces. “On rue Beaubien Est, there are a lot of car entrances. Students and pedestrians are always on the alert to be able to stay safe,” she says.

A former resident of the Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie borough, Chantal notices in particular the absence of cycle paths and safety facilities for pedestrians in MHM. “As soon as you go to New Rosemont, it’s super secure. Here, it’s as if it were not important, ”she says.

The absence of pedestrian crossings as well as stop or slowdown signs on rue Beaubien Est near the Guillaume-Couture school can also be observed once there.

Contacted by Subway, the school confirms that this situation has been addressed by the parents during several school council meetings. They ask for the improvement of the safety of the school corridors around the school borrowed by the pupils every day.

I fully support the parents’ efforts and the school is working with the governing board since the safety of our students is the responsibility of the entire Guillaume-Couture school community.

Maryvonne Robert, principal of Guillaume-Couture primary school

The borough confirms that it shares the parents’ concerns and wants to reassure the population by specifying that several measures had already been implemented to secure the area around the school, such as the establishment of a one-way street to the west on Avenue DeCharette.

Signage near the Guillaume-Couture school. Photo: Lucie Ferré, Metro.

After the announcement of January 10 by the City of Montreal of the establishment of its Safety program around schools (PSAÉ) in fifty places frequented by children, the borough claims to want to give absolute priority to the safety of children. École Guillaume-Couture is one of the Montreal schools targeted by the program.

“We are working now to produce facilities for the establishment. No compromise will be made […]even if it comes at the expense of parking spaces or a shortcut by car,” said the office of the mayor of MHM, contacted by Subway.

Remember that several developments to improve the safety of three schools in MHM had been carried out in 2020 as part of the City of Montreal’s PSAÉ.

Garbage dumped wildly

In addition to having to keep an eye out for car traffic on her way to school, Chantal notices that for the past year and a half, garbage has been left in front of businesses on rue Beaubien Est between avenue De Repentigny and the Langelier Blvd.

It’s constant. We have to cross the street to have a daily walk that makes sense, it’s so nauseating.

Chantal, resident of the Mercier-Ouest district

Chantal takes pictures of this garbage each time she takes rue Beaubien Est towards École Guillaume-Couture. She made several complaints to 311 and informed City Councilor Alba Zuniga Ramos, a member of the official opposition, of this situation. The latter could not answer the questions of Subway at the time of publication of this article.

Photos of garbage taken on March 28, 2022 and January 2, 2023 on rue Beaubien Est, between avenue De Repentigny and boulevard Langelier. Photos: Courtesy, Chantal.

“The sector is particularly monitored by our teams”, affirms the office of the mayor of MHM, specifying that certain businesses have already received verbal notices and several statements of offense. “The best way to deal with this problem is through peer education,” he adds.

Chantal believes that the creation of an association of merchants in the sector could help to embellish it. The establishment of such an association in the district was also part of the campaign promises of Projet Montréal in 2021, and continue to be defended by Mrs. Alba Zuniga Ramos, District Representative.

“It is likely that the creation of an association of merchants would help to make recalcitrant merchants more accountable to the community,” recognizes the mayor’s office.

The mayor of the borough, Pierre Lessard-Blais, is already in communication with merchants in the sector in order to “test the pulse” as to the creation of this association, even if it “must come first and foremost a mobilization of potential members”, according to the cabinet.

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School corridor at MHM: between garbage and car traffic