Montreal plans new restrictions for Mount Royal traffic
Published Wednesday, May 29, 2019 9:40AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, May 29, 2019 6:41PM EDT
The city of Montreal has come up with new methods to limit car traffic on Camillien Houde Way.
In a presentation at Wednesday's Executive Committee meeting at City Hall, councillors announced a substantial overhaul to the road that crosses the mountain.
The goal is to eliminate illegal U-turns by drivers and reduce the speed of drivers and cyclists.
The city plans to install new traffic lights near the top of the mountain, making a section of Camillien Houde an alternating one-way road.
That means drivers would have to stop and wait their turn to proceed from the western half of the mountain to the eastern half, and vice-versa.
Mayor Valerie Plante said this would be a "first step with regards to making the road the more pleasant and secure for all."
Other measures outlined by Eric Alan Caldwell, the Executive Committee member responsible for urban planning and transportation, include adding more barriers between traffic lanes on the eastern section of the road, increasing the size of the road's shoulder, and adding more signs near the lookout.
The city will also add another traffic speed indicator and more speed bumps on the western half of Camillien Houde, and improve the crosswalk near the lookout.
The small road between Camillien Houde and Mount Royal Ave. will also be reduced to one lane.
Meanwhile the 'suspended café' that was implemented last year is going to get larger.
Caldwell said the traffic lights would be in place by mid-June.
Opposition leader Lionel Perez said this plan is what the city's administration should have come up with one year ago.
Helene Panaioti, executive director of Les Amis de la Montagne, praised the plan but said it lacks a global view.
"Our issue is that there are also road safety challenges for sharing the road between citizens, between pedestrians and cyclists," she said.
Population hated banning cars
Following the death of Clement Ouimet, an 18-year-old cyclist who died when he collided with a tourist making a U-turn near the lookout, the city of Montreal ran a pilot project to stop motorists from going from one side of the mountain to the other.
The public consultation office (OPCM) released its report in May explaining that Montreal's population hated the plan to ban cars from the mountain.
Thousands of people said the pilot project deterred them from going to the park.
Those who did go to said the project did not reduce problems of road sharing between drivers and cyclists and pedestrians, did not find any significant improvements to their experience, nor did they find the mountain any safer. Meanwhile traffic in neighbourhoods around Mount Royal increased.
The OPCM said that 13,000 people took part, which was the largest number of participants ever for a public consultation in the city of Montreal.
Plante defended the initiative, saying she doesn't regret closing Camillien Houde Way.
"I truly believe that in order for people to to picture themselves or to think differently it's important to make propositions and my party doesn't support status quo," she said. "I think it was important to go far, in a way, so people could decide... Ultimately, for me nothing's been lost."
It's not known if the new plan will go to public consultation.