Montreal, Canada intends to double the length of its biking network over the course of the next few years - a project that could cost about 150 million dollars. The opposition, however, doubts the Coderre administration’s capacity to lead so many projects.
The metropolis has begun to map the development of the bike path network, as anticipated by the city’s transportation plan - the current of which dates from 2008. While the city currently counts 680 kilometers of bike paths, Montreal wants to eventually have 1,280 cyclable kilometers.
“Carrying out plans for the 600 kilometers of projected bike paths is projected to cost approximately 150 million dollars,” claim documents submitted to officials.
The project was presented to an executive committee, but to move forward, it must also be approved by the municipal council of the agglomeration, or by the cities linked to Montreal. The map will then be submitted for approval by the Minister of Municipal Affairs, Pierre Moreau.
“It is certain that the cyclable network of Montreal needs to be expanded. Several segments are missing and there are areas of the city that are badly served. However, we doubt that the Coderre administration will be able to deliver on this announcement,” said the neighborhood councilwoman Marianne Giguère, from Projet Montréal.
In the transportation plan of 2008, Montreal planned on adding 400 kilometers of bike paths between then and 2015. But, the metropolis only completed about 250 kilometers of that number. The opposition underlines, furthermore, that the metropolis only realized 30 kilometers of new bike paths in 2014, whereas it had hoped to completely double that amount. “At this pace, it will take 20 years to complete the 600 kilometers the city announced,” adds Giguère. In this vein, the councilwoman deplores the absence of a schedule for the city’s extension project.
The President of Vélo-Québec (Bike Quebec), Suzanne Lareau, finds that the metropolis’s ambitions come from a good place, even though she admits that Montreal, over the past years, has not attained its objectives with regards to expanding the city’s cyclable network. ”We see that the city has a real intention to continue the rhythm of development. I hope that that will come to be the case,” Lareau indicated. She specifies that the city informed her of its projects in December, and that the goal was to complete the additional paths in the next 12-15 years.
A map of anticipated paths was prepared and was submitted to elected officials on January 14th, but it was not possible to obtain a copy. “The center of town was prioritized,” said Suzanne Lareau, who had seen them. “Currently, it is a black hole. South of Maisonneuve, there is practically nothing. Every time that I go to the center of town, I am always blown away to see how difficult it is to get around by bike.”
Suzanne Lareau also believes that the metropolis should develop a bike path on Saint-Laurent Boulevard, between Vieux-Montréal and Bernard Street, an axis that is often used by cyclists despite the lack of a dedicated bike lane.
The document submitted to officials underlines that “new infrastructures put in place need to give the most direct possible access to employment centers, to public services, and to commercial, touristic, and educational areas.
The revision of the cyclable network began in January 2014 and lasted the entire year. One of the goals written in the plan is to “minimize travel time for cyclists by identifying direct, rapid, accessible, and safe routes.” Previously, cyclists have complained about the absence of direct routes to key locations.
Do you think that Montreal will be able to realize its goals for the city’s bike path network? How has your city attempted to be more accessible to sustainable modes of transportation, like cycling? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below.
Original article, originally published in French, here.
Credits: Images and data linked to sources.