Wider, heated sidewalks, more trees and fewer cars – Montreal has unveiled the Ste. Catherine St. of the future.

The city unveiled its plan Wednesday to revamp part of Montreal's most important street.

The city used words like “innovation,” “audacity" and “flexibility” to describe the greener, more dynamic look of the street, considered one of the longest in North America.

It will also mean a restructuring of the road so it can be better shared between pedestrians, bicycles, buses and cars. Parts of the street could be pedestrianized during major events and busy times of year, and reopened to two lanes at others. An extra two lanes for parking would vary as well.

The sidewalk would expand two metres further into the street.

The street would also boast seating areas, free WiFi, intelligent lighting and charging stations for electric vehicles.

The speed limit would be lowered to 30 kilometres per hour, and at least 60 parking spots would be eliminated between Aylmer and Mansfield Sts.

Mayor Denis Coderre said he would consider building underground parking or a multi-level lot to make up for the loss of parking spots.

This is the first phase of the makeover, between Bleury St. and Mansfield. The $95 million revamp will begin next year and is set to be completed by 2019.

The city is set on redesigning everything on the 2.5 kilometres between Atwater St. and Bleury St.

The makeover stems from ideas brought forth during public consultations last year.

Major infrastructure work is scheduled to take place on the commercial street. The city said it wants to use the time as an opportunity to make improvements.

Coderre also said he wants to avoid the devastation of work and re-work that laid waste to St. Laurent Blvd.

The underground work is crucial to sewer systems and water mains, some of which date to the 1800s, and the city says if it is not done another sinkhole such as the one that swallowed a backhoe in August 2013 could happen again.


Projet Montreal leader Luc Ferrandez had concerns the city didn’t go far enough in its redesign.

“We're talking to tourists about the charm of Montreal, the European charm of Montreal. With those kinds of sidewalks, you won't have terraces. They're too narrow for terraces. You won't see people having an apero or a café,” he said.

Many businesses, however, feel the city's plan will boost the street’s economy.

“When you can shop 12 months of the year on Ste. Catherine instead of worrying about slipping and falling on the sidewalks, the merchants are going to benefit greatly instead of having a five-month shopping season,” said Stephen Leopold, chairman of real estate brokerage Immodev Real.

For more details on the revamp, watch the City of Montreal extended video in the video player above.