On March 25th, the administration of the city of Montreal finally gave the green light to a development project aiming to create an elevated bicycle route that will eventually be located under the Saint-Laurent railway overpass on the corner of Bellechasse Street. This area, riddled with potholes, will be targeted for a complete facelift in order to make way for what we expect to be one of the most important bike crossings in the metro area.
“Our intention is to make a true bike highway running from north to south that will begin in Pont-Viau and will lead downtown, securely linking the Clark path with the Saint-Dominique path and the path stretching across the railroad tracks further to the north,” declared François Croteau, mayor of the Rosemont-Petite Patrie borough.
Montreal bike enthusiasts and pedestrians who perilously weave in and out of danger in this unwelcoming tunnel have been waiting for this project for ages. The complete redevelopment of the section of Saint-Laurent Boulevard located between Bernard Street and Bellechasse Street will completely change the look of this area wedged between the Rosemont neighborhood and Mile End, which currently resembles a no man’s land. This method of rejuvenation will above all improve the safety of pedestrians and cyclists who cross it every day.
One of the paths heading north on Saint-Laurent Boulevard, which is entirely dedicated to active modes of transportation, will welcome an elevated path for bikes and a sidewalk for pedestrians. Traffic lights, flowerbeds, and a series of street lights will regulate traffic in this bottleneck used by more than 22,000 vehicles each day. The elevated path will effortlessly link the Clark, Saint-Dominique, and railway cycle paths thanks to a unique traffic circle reserved for bicycles.
Outside of the viaduct, the bike path will be marked by lines on the ground, rather than being a completely separate path, in order to encourage bicycle use in the winter.
“The city favors paths marked by lines in order to facilitate traffic in winter. We would have liked separate lanes, but this formula is more costly and less valued by cyclists who find it unsuitable for passing,” confirms the mayor of Rosemont.
We are therefore talking about a complete practical and aesthetic reworking of this visually mediocre intersection that acts as a passageway linking up with Little Italy. The City of Montreal had to put the brakes on this project two times before. The first was due to repairs being made to the aqueduct, and the second was caused by a lack of initiative during inquiry, subsequently leading officials to be wary of the project. This third time should be the final, according to François Croteau, who expects the new path to be bike-ready at the end of September.
Should the needs of pedestrians and cyclists be viewed as conflicting interests, or do cities accommodate both through supporting sustainable transportation?
Original article, originally published in French, here.
Credits: Images and data linked to sources.