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Montreal fire department concerned about city potentially closing road over Mount Royal


A City of Montreal proposal to ban cars and trucks — including emergency vehicles — from Camillien Houde Way on Mount Royal is raising safety concerns with the fire department.

The Service de sécurité incendie de Montréal (SIM) says making the road over the mountain accessible only to pedestrians and cyclists, and forcing emergency vehicles to use Remembrance Road instead, would slow down response times for 911 calls on the mountain.

An internal document prepared by the fire department's strategic and technical support department, and obtained by CTV News, includes an analysis by the SIM's deputy director on what the impact would be on firefighters' response times.

"After careful consideration, the Camillien-Houde lane should be maintained," the document reads.

The Montreal Gazette first reported on the six-page document, which said there is a notable increase in response time for fire stations 13 and 47, which are east of Mount Royal and use Camillien-Houde Way during interventions.

"The increase is about 2 to 3 minutes, but does not take into account the traffic congestion with the new track layout, to reach the Mount Royal facilities," stated the document, which is dated May 24, 2023.

The fire department's deputy director prepared the document in response to a study by the city's urban planning and mobility department. In his analysis, he said that without access to the road, firefighters would have to leave their vehicles from a far distance "and walk the route with the equipment on their shoulders to reach the user awaiting assistance," and then make the return trip to an ambulance.

In the end, the city was advised to keep the status quo for Camillien-Houde.

If the city chooses to close the roadway, the fire department would like to keep a six-metre-wide emergency lane and ensure it is cleared of snow in the winter months.


The mayor's office told CTV News that several scenarios are being studied at City Hall and that closing Camillien-Houde is one of them.

"The scenarios under consideration are being analyzed by several city departments, including SIM. What is clear is that the chosen option will meet the three priorities set out by the administration from the outset: safety of travel, protection of the mountain's environmental value and access to it," wrote Catherine Cadotte, a spokesperson for the mayor, in an email Tuesday evening.

"Our administration will not compromise on the safety of Montrealers, and we look forward to presenting the chosen scenario this fall."

In 2017, a cyclist was struck and killed by a vehicle making an illegal U-turn on the mountain. The collision sparked a debate surrounding safety, leading to the closure of Camillien-Houde to cars in 2018 as part of a pilot project.

However, Montreal's public consultation office recommended at the time that through traffic return to the mountain.

With files from CTV News Montreal's Matt Grillo Top Stories

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