Bixi stations being removed for Formula E race
Published Friday, July 21, 2017 2:17PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, July 21, 2017 8:03PM EDT
People who live and work near Montreal's Formula E racetrack have already lost parking, and ways in and out of their neigbourhood are slowly being reduced.
As of Saturday they will lose bicycles too.
The city of Montreal is removing eight Bixi stations because they're located on the roads being used for the electric car race next weekend.
Five of those stations will only be replaced in the middle of August.
The ongoing construction of the track and increasing isolation of this neighbourhood is frustrating residents who want to know why a race that will last two days is creating a month's worth of problems.
"You show up at the bus stop it's not there. Also even with what's happening on St. Denis St., this is the fifth diminishing of car parking spaces in the past month so for us as residents it is truly becoming more and more difficult to be able to keep living in downtown," said resident Pierre Barrieau.
"While it is the policy they want people to live downtown, at the same time it doesn't really make any sense what they're making us go through."
More than a dozen bus routes in the neighbourhood have been subject to detours since July 18, and multiple streets are gradually being closed to traffic as the race date approaches and protective walls are built.
The Bixi stations affected are located at:
- St. Denis & De Maisonneuve
- Ste. Catherine & St. Hubert
- Sanguinet & De Maisonneuve
- Papineau & René Levesque
- Viger & Wolfe
- Wolfe & René Levesque
- St. André & St. Antoine
- Ste. Catherine & St. Denis
A special Bixi depot has been set up at Berri and De Maisonneuve that will operate from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. until the middle of August.
Last week the E-Race took place in New York before a sold-out crowd of 18,000 spectators.
The electric car race is a relatively new sport that has also faced complaints about road closures in Miami and London.
Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre is hoping the Montreal race will become a major tourist attraction, much like the Grand Prix and said it is well worth the $24 million the city is spending to host it.
He believes it will showcase to a potential audience of 19 million people who could watch the race all over the world.
Though it is a relatively new event, it offers high-quality racing and good family fun for a relatively low admission price, said automotive journalist Jonathan Gitlin of Ars Technica.
He said it’s the next generation of car racing and may draw new racing fans.
“Some people might find that they actually quite like car racing, particularly when it doesn’t come with some of the downsides of the traditional sport. You don’t have to travel to a track in the middle of nowhere. You don't have to worry about the fact that that your sport is contributing to destroying the environment at the same time,” he said.
The city of Montreal won’t reveal how many tickets have been sold so far.