The Royalmount mall project must undergo several major changes if developers want it to be viable, especially when it comes to alleviating traffic on Decarie, according to a working group study. 

In its report, the group laid out 13 recommendations for minimizing traffic. Among those recommendations are:

  • Extend Cavendish Expressway
  • Increase public transportation and extend the metro's Orange Line to the Bois Franc train station
  • Set targets to reduce the amount of car traffic in the area
  • Accelerate the implementation of the housing project on the former Hippodrome site 
  • Take action on the revised Royalmount concept
  • Adding more bike lanes

"Our government is receiving this report positively and will analyze it carefully while continuing to support the Montreal agglomeration in implementing solutions that will unclog this vital sector for the city," said Chantal Rouleau, the provincial minister responsible for Montreal, in a statement.

The City of Montreal has previously expressed reservations when it comes to the project, but Mayor Valerie Plante said that since the city has no legal grounds to stop it, steps must be taken to alleviate problems. 

"The findings of this report are clear, and we must look now at the solutions proposed to promote better mobility and overall planning of the Namur-De la Savane sector," said mayor Valerie Plante. "Even though there's been work done on this project, the negative impacts are more important than the positive impacts, so at this point the City of Montreal cannot be behind this project."

In 2015, the project was approved by the Town of Mount Royal, the provincial government and the Montreal agglomeration. TMR Mayor Philippe Roy said that the portion of the Orange Line in the area operates at only 32 per cent capacity and, along with a new overpass over Decarie that the developer agreed to pay for, should be enough to carry any increased load.

"We have this de la Savane subway station, one of the most unused stations in (Montreal), so it's going to be brought directly into the project. We feel a lot of people are going ot use the subway to go to Royalmount," he said. 

However, St-Laurent Mayor Alan de Sousa, an outspoken opponent of the project, said the issues go deeper than just future metro capacity.

"The project in itself deals with a lot of transporation issues, none of which will happen in the short term. The Orange Line is lightyears away, Cavendish is years away. The problem that no one seems to be seeing is that any development that's happening is happening now."

The project's developer will unveil a new version of its proposal by fall with the first phase of the development scheduled to be completed by 2022.