New downtown action plan includes new schools, more public transit
Published Monday, August 14, 2017 6:22PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, August 14, 2017 6:29PM EDT
Montreal’s downtown area will be the site of four new primary schools and one additional secondary school, part of a new action plan for the area unveiled on Monday.
Last year, Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre said he wanted to increase the population of downtown by 50,000 people over the course of 15 years. The new schools, which would open their doors by 2030, are just one element of a plan that also includes improving public transit, more social and family housing , protecting green spaces and stimulating the downtown economy.
While downtown has been the scene of a condo boom, the plan specifically calls for 1,000 more housing units with three bedrooms or more over the next 10 years with a goal of attracting 3,000 new households with children.
Two of the schools, which would be built in the Peter-McGill and Griffintown areas, would be built within the next five years.
“We need more social housing,” said Coderre. “There is a shortage in Peter-McGill for example and Peter-McGill is downtown. We need to focus on that. We need some French schools, we need some English schools. We need to address the situation and clearly that’s part of our priority.”
In terms of public transport, a key element will be the integration of the planned REM light rail system into the existing infrastructure such as metro station. By 2030, the city hopes to increase public transit capacity by 100,000 trips per day.
Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal President Michel Leblanc called the plan “very convincing.”
“Right now, Montreal is on a roll. You see a lot of investment, the private sector is there, investment opportunities are there,” he said. “But there was lacking a sense of how to develop downtown to make sure there’s fluidity.”
Leblanc praised the plan’s focus on public transit and on ensuring future downtown development is done cohesively.
“There’s a focus on making sure on the ground, on commercial streets, we improve the experience of going downtown to shop and to work. That’s key,” he said. “With all those investments, we have to make sure on street level it’s a good experience for families and for workers.”