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‘Major renovations’ planned for Guy-Concordia station Reported on December 13, 2011 With a well-publicized cockroach problem, extensive water damage and what look like stalactites dripping from the ceiling, Guy-Concordia, Montreal’s third busiest metro station, will receive some much-needed repairs next year. “This is a major renovation,” said Marianne Rouette, a spokeswoman for the Société de transport de Montréal. “Due to the station’s state of degradation, and on the recommendation of our inspectors, we chose to prioritize renovations at Guy-Concordia in 2012.” Calling the station “safe,” Rouette said that the repairs would be part of a recently approved $250 million program to repair stations “at the end of their useful lives.” Work is set to start in January, when the STM will double the number of turnstiles at the heavily used Guy Street exit. Used by the majority of the eight million riders who pass through the station annually, the new turnstiles will connect directly to two Concordia buildings. The station’s other exit will undergo yearlong repairs. As of March, access via St-Mathieu St. will be closed for six months as the exit’s doors, lighting, ventilation, and drainage systems are replaced. The STM’s neglect of Guy-Concordia stands in stark contrast with the area above the station, where gleaming new university buildings and an ever-expanding network of tunnels have put record demand on the metro. “The university doesn’t know much about what is going on with the metro station,” said Jean-Philippe Plourde. “We are always trying to find out more, but we haven’t had much shared with us.” Plourde, the co-coordinator at Allégo Concordia, a program established by the Quebec government to encourage sustainable transportation at the university, wasn’t aware of the pending plans to temporarily close the St-Mathieu Street exit. (Concordia University spokesperson Chris Mota said she was also unaware of the plans.) “Guy-Concordia doesn’t help with the whole image of going underground,” said Plourde. “It can be uncomfortably warm, unclean and people are often sleeping on benches. No one will stop using the metro because of water leakages, but it’s part of a larger problem.” According to Plourde, 14 per cent of Concordia’s 50,000 students and staff still drive to the university daily. “That’s a lot of people for a university with two campuses that are well connected by metro and multiple bus lines,” said Plourde, citing a university survey from 2008. His goal is to lower that number. As an example of the lack of coordination between the STM and Concordia, Plourde points to yellow tape that has stopped riders from using the station’s main Guy exit since October. The university has been renovating the pavilion built on top of the metro station but the exit is scheduled to reopen in January, the same time the transit authority plans to start its own renovations. “Concordia closed the exit for security reasons, because they were worried about all the foot traffic walking under construction,” said Plourde. “You would think that the STM would have used the opportunity to do some work, but they didn’t.” Plourde did not want to comment on the STM’s plans without more specific information, however he expressed concern about the lack of elevators in the renovations. Concordia University student and The Link columnist Riley Sparks (who's written about Guy-Concordia's cockroach problem) doesn’t have much faith in the proposed renos, which include a series of functional repairs to the station’s lighting and ventilation. The STM has been short on details about any aesthetic changes to fix the leaking walls and ceilings. “I’ll believe it when I see it,” said Sparks. “A bunch of metro stations have been under renovation for a while and based on the rate of repairs, I won’t hold my breath. “I don’t understand how the STM renovates stations. They shut down Villa-Maria all summer, it didn’t look great at the start of the summer and it didn’t look great at the end of the summer.” Under the STM’s current plan, access to the St-Mathieu St. exit will be closed from March 5 to August 26, 2012. http://montreal.openfile.ca/montreal/text/%E2%80%98major-renovations%E2%80%99-planned-guy-concordia-station