Montreal to adopt Vision Zero model to improve road safety
The City of Montreal is planning to adopt a Swedish model road policy that aims to eliminate fatalities and serious injuries due to traffic collisions.
Called Vision Zero, the internationally-recognized strategy involves a number of short-term changes and concrete steps to improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians and is based on three Es: engineering, education and enforcement.
Among the measures, the city plans to:
- Reduce the speed limit on residential roads from 40 kilometres per hour to 30 kilometres per hour
- Reduce the speed limit on arterial roads to 40 kilometres per hour
- Redesign 67 intersections, adding bike boxes, and adding pedestrian countdowns to 76 intersections
- Improve 57 underpasses
- Increase photo surveillance on Montreal streets
- A new awareness campaign in 2017 focusing on shared responsibility on the roads
- Consider banning large trucks on small streets and limiting deliveries to off-peak hours
- Consider reducing the width of car lanes
“Every time there is one death, its one too many and we'll take care of it,” said Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre at a news conference Wednesday to introduce the measures. “You have to look at the infrastructure, the way you build it and at the same time put awareness strategies so we can talk about it.”
That’s what the plan is – all talk – said Projet Montreal interim leader Luc Ferrandez.
“It’s clearly a field where we are behind. We have to act fast and we need someone with leadership that's not just going to announce another press conference. Show us an action plan with dates on it,” he said.
Critics want more bike paths, but also said simple things can be achieved to make streets safer now, including allowing cyclists to use pedestrian lights.
Montreal Executive Committee member Aref Salem said the city’s hands are tied by Quebec's Highway Safety Code.
“We have to go with the government with these demands,” he said. “We presented 26 to the government and they accepted two already.”