Plante unveils vision for car-free development in old Hippodrome site but opposition says hold your horses
The Hippodrome was once the site of fast-moving horses, but Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante is hinting that things around the former racetrack are going to slow down.
Long slated to become a new housing development, Plante on Tuesday unveiled a new part of the plan during a city council meeting on Tuesday: the new neighbourhood will be car-free.
NDG-Cotes-des-Neiges Mayor Sue Montgomery applauded Plante, saying it’s time the city committed to greener planning.
“We have a golden opportunity right now to make a neighbourhood of the future,” she said. “Adding more cars to our roads is unsustainable and there are people who actually want a car-free neighbourhood. It’s healthier for the planet, it’s healthier for residents to walk and bike. It’s located right beside a couple of metro stations, so why not seize the opportunity to create a neighbourhood that’s healthier for residents and the planet?”
Plante said part of the idea behind the car-free neighbourhood is to balance out the extra traffic expected in the area when the Royalmount Megamall project goes up nearby.
The area in question was acquired by the city in 2017 and plans call for roughly 8,000 housing units.
Francesco Miele, deputy leader of opposition party Ensemble Montreal, said the city should have held consultations before presenting such an ambitious plan.
“We can design a neighbourhood that’s not oriented strictly towards car but we can’t say that we won’t have cars at all before even listening to the citizens and understanding what we are going to be bringing,” he said. “How many units? Is there going to be a school? A daycare? A clinic? If we don’t know what’s coming, how can we say there won’t be vehicles at all? It’s dogmatic and it doesn’t make sense.”
Consultations for the development begin this fall.