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Pedestrians Prioritized in Montreal, Canada: Five Projects Launching in 2015

Pedestrian and Cyclist on La Route Verte, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

In Montreal, Canada, five streets will be transformed in order to provide more space for pedestrians, beginning this summer. These projects are part of the city's new urban planning program. On Sunday, the Mayor of Montreal, Denis Coderre, announced the City of Montreal's intention to allot more space to pedestrians while renovating the streets. In 2015, five districts can count on the city's financial aid to transform a stretch of their streets into pedestrian spaces, whether that be accomplished by closing a traffic lane or by developing shared lanes.

"These re-imagined streets will stimulate neighborhood life, not only by increasing liveliness, security, and the quality of the environment, but also because they will allow Montrealians to re-appropriate public spaces," underlined Mr. Coderre.

Ontario Street, Beaubien, De Castelnau, Stanislas, and Park-Stanley Avenue will share an allotment of $500,000 for implementing these urban design projects. The exact nature of each project has not yet been presented. The City only announced an outline of the new measures. In the neighborhood of La Petite-Patrie, for example, they plan on enlarging the sidewalks so that pedestrians, buses, and bikes can better share the road.

The City made it known that the details of each initiative will be released over the course of the next few months.

View of cars and sidewalk on Rue Ontario, Montreal, Canada

Pilot Projects

While technically considered a pilot project, Mayor Coderre assured that these initiatives, which are temporary for the moment, aim to become permanent, or at least return seasonally.

"This is only the beginning. These are projects that can be reproduced elsewhere and even on a larger scale and with a wider scope," explained the Mayor, who confided that other similar announcements are set to come, to go along with the festivities for the 375th anniversary of Montreal, which will take place in 2017.

In total, 10 districts have taken on projects for this new program. This participation is recognized by the Mayor, who estimates that the five projects that were turned down could end up seeing daylight in the years to come. In Montreal, twenty streets are already temporarily, seasonally, or permanently closed to traffic. These pedestrian zones represent seven kilometers of the city's streets.

With these new projects, the city intends to extend these pedestrian roads by 1.5 kilometers.

The Five Targeted Streets:

  • Rue Ontario, between Rue Valois and Avenue Bourbonnière in the neighborhood of Hochelaga-Maisonneuve (Place Simon-Valois will be extended);
  • Rue Beaubien, between Rue Saint-Denis and Boyer in the borough of Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie (installation of a pedestrian lane);
  • Rue de Castelneau, between Rue de Gaspé and Avenue Henri-Julien, in the neighborhood of Villeray (installation of a new public square);
  • Rue Stanislas, between Rue Londres and Rue Stanislas, in the borough of Saint-Laurent (closing part of the street to traffic to make space for a green area);
  • Avenue Park-Stanley, between Rue Berri and Avenue Durham, in the borough of Ahuntsic-Cartierville (transformation of the street into an entertainment area between two parks).

Announcement Made too Soon?

However, the official opposition, Projet Montréal, considers that M. Coderre's announcement was made too soon.

"It was a hasty announcement made in an attempt to steal the show from Projet Montréal on the day they held their meeting," emphasized François W. Croteau, Mayor of Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie. "If he had made an effort to study the folders, he would have been able to give more details. It is important to understand that these are not Denis Coderre's projects, but rather projects led by the employees of different neighborhoods."

Intersection of Rue Saint Denis and Rue Ontario in Montreal, Canada

Croteau specified that in Baubien, the project will allow them to re-create a balance between pedestrians, cyclists, and buses on the road. While Croteau admits that the Mayor's announcement is an overall positive sign, he maintains that the City's financial assistance for these pedestrian projects is nevertheless quite meager.

"The announcement comes with a limited scope. In La Petite-Patrie, we are talking about $80,000 of financial aid for a project that will cost 1.5 million dollars," he said.

What is your city doing to make streets more pedestrian-friendly? Have politics made these initiatives possible, or rendered them more complicated?

Original article, originally published in French, here.

Credits: Images by Dylan Passmore and Axel Drainville. Data linked to sources.