Downtown Montreal to take new form as city plans reopening
MONTREAL -- Visitors to Montreal’s downtown core will be able to notice a few changes in the coming days that aim to prepare the area for the city’s gradual pickup.
Nonprofit organization Destination centre-ville – which exists to promote the city’s core – is deploying security measures in the hopes of making people who work, shop and travel downtown more comfortable amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sanitary bike stations will be set up along de Maisonneuve Boulevard. The stations will be equipped with disinfectant solutions and will be monitored throughout the day, and bikes will be available for free from June through October.
“We anticipate that our network of bike paths will be very crowded this summer, since bikes allow us to respect physical distancing,” Emile Roux, the CEO of Destination centre ville, said in a press release on Friday.
The organization launches a cleaning crew every year, whose goal is to “clean and green downtown Montreal’s streets.” This year, the crew will be equipped with personal protective equipment and in addition to cleaning the downtown core, they will also be installing more than 1,000 flowerpots and planters in the area.
Pedestrian walkways on Sainte-Catherine Street West will be divided into three corridors: one for pedestrian traffic travelling east, another for those travelling west, and a third for a resting area that will include outdoor furniture.
“It is becoming even more essential to offer Montrealers the safe public spaces they need to shop, go to work or just get some fresh air while staying active,” said Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, in the same press release. “These new amenities will allow citizens to easily and safety travel downtown while respecting physical distancing. It is also great news for the businesses downtown which were hit hard by the crisis.”
Earlier this week, Rosemont – La Petite-Patrie announced that it would be turning several stretches of its main streets into “transit malls” closed off to cars, in an attempt to help local businesses safely manage their customers amid the health crisis and, in turn, to encourage consumers to buy local.
Montreal remains the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada, but health officials gave the city the green light to reopen after the province's daily death toll began to decline.