NDP bill aims to improve public safety by creating grade crossings

OTTAWA – Hélène Laverdière, NDP MP for Laurier—Sainte-Marie, has introduced a Private Member's Bill calling for the construction of grade railway crossings to improve pedestrian and cyclist mobility.


“This bill resulted from a concern for public safety,” said Laverdière. “People on their way to work or to the subway are often unwilling to go far out of their way to take a tunnel or overpass to cross a railway. There are some places in Montreal where up to 500 unprotected crossings occur each day. The construction of grade crossings would reduce trespassing on railway tracks and the resulting hazardous consequences. Further, across the country, grade crossing closures have cut off access to rivers, which must remain publicly accessible.”


Around the country, elected municipal officials have tried unsuccessfully to pressure railway companies to build grade, or level, railway crossings. In KootenayColumbia, the town of Golden has faced similar issues with CP Rail.


Ms. Laverdière’s Bill C-322 would authorize the Minister of Transport to compel the construction of road crossings to ensure public safety and improve traffic flow in municipalities, and to ensure access to natural resources in rural areas. The Minister currently has the authority to close a grade crossing, but not to order the construction of one.


"My bill will amend federal legislation in order to facilitate the creation of grade crossings and untie the government's hands. The current situation is cause of concern. When railway companies hold all the power, it is time to act," said Ms. Laverdière.


MP Wayne Stetski was pleased to act as a joint seconder to Bill C-322.