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These are the weirdest intersections in Montreal, according to a traffic expert


Driving in and around Montreal can take a certain amount of finesse, knowledge and experience.

For instance, heading north on Saint-Laurent Boulevard and you may be surprised to find that it suddenly becomes a two-way street.

Cruising up De Lorimier Avenue on the left lane? Surprise, it's now an obligatory left turn onto Rachel Street.

Trying to turn left on René-Lévesque Boulevard? Good luck.

Traffic expert Rick Leckner says there's a plethora of odd intersections across the city.

Here are five he says are the weirdest:

Ville-Marie West (136) exit to A-15 (Decarie Expressway)

"Some of these things go back to the design but some of them are due to poor signage," said Leckner. "Ville-Marie West, getting off for what people normally call the Decarie Expressway...The signage is there, but there's a sign about a kilometre before that, that says Decarie, which is the old Decarie, and they could fix that but they refuse to, and people have unknowingly taken the wrong exit two years later."

The Quebec Transport Ministry explains signage standards dictate that highways are always indicated by their number and not their name.

"Here, the sign indicates the exit to Decarie Boulevard (municipal) and A-15 South," it notes. "The exit to A-15 North is the next one, so it's fully compliant."

Highway 20/Angrignon Boulevard from Saint-Jacques Street

"That is a horrible example of poor design. The fact that billions of dollars were spent to redesign Highway 20, [it] took years and years of traffic pain, and we're in a situation now, which is worse than it was before," said Leckner. "You've got four or five lanes heading west on Highway 20 the moment you dip down from the Turcot Interchange, and yet when you get to the Ville Saint-Pierre interchange, everything funnels into two lanes."

He points out the area boasts traffic jams at almost all hours of the day.

"It's just inexcusable," said Leckner. "After all that construction, after all that money, after all the inconvenience, and we ended up with a situation which is worse than it was."

The Quebec Transport Ministry explains, "the four lanes of the A-20 west split at Exit 63 into two lanes towards the Mercier Bridge and two lanes continuing west on the A-20."

It adds: "The Saint-Pierre interchange is scheduled for reconstruction as part of a major project currently under study, and its geometry will be reviewed."

Jean-Talon Street and Decarie Boulevard

"Within a one-block distance, you have cars getting off the northbound Decarie Expressway, trying to cut across four lanes to turn right onto Jean-Talon [Street]," explains Leckner. "Meanwhile, cars just ahead of that are cutting across lanes because there's so much traffic to get onto the Expressway."

He calls the area, which is under the jurisdiction of the City of Montreal, "a quick criss-cross of traffic...which the configuration simply cannot digest."

"Decarie Boulevard acts as a service road for the Decarie Expressway, resulting in high traffic volumes at intersections on the municipal network," explains Hugo Bourgoin, a media relations officer with the City of Montreal. "Managing these intersections, which are difficult for active transports to cross, remains a challenge."

Pare Street and Decarie Boulevard

"It is a very bad intersection, which not only affects Jean-Talon [Street] and Decarie [Boulevard] but affects everybody coming out of Côte Saint-Luc and Hampstead in the morning trying to cross Decarie and Vezina [Street], Plamondon [Avenue] and Van Horne [Avenue]," said Leckner. "It backs up so badly on Jean-Talon and Decarie; then along the service road, it blocks traffic trying to head north."

The City of Montreal notes there are plans to review the Namur-Hippodrome area to greatly "improve its user-friendliness and safety and make more room for active and public transportation."

L'Acadie Circle

"There's just too much criss-crossing, too many changes of lanes that are required," said Leckner. "Maybe they need to take a look at just, again, improving the signage because if you're on the service road or the Expressway, there are just too many choices to be made with too little advanced warning."

The Quebec Transport Ministry agrees that "this is a very busy area, with a high volume of traffic in a limited space. Signage is adapted accordingly and may require greater vigilance, as in any comparable area."

The ministry adds that since part of the area is under the City of Montreal's jurisdiction, "cities are free to adapt road design standards to their own context and needs."

Other odd intersections that made the shortlist?

  • The entrance to the northbound Jacques-Cartier Bridge from the South Shore (with four possible lanes merging into one at the same time);
  • The entrance to the southbound Decarie Expressway from Girouard Avenue (crossing incoming traffic to get onto the highway); and
  • The ramp to Highway 15 North from Gaétan-Laberge Boulevard (must do a U-Turn).

How do we fix it?

Leckner says part of the problem is what he calls the Quebec transport ministry's "Bible."

"They just go by the guidelines. They don't think out of the box," he said, adding that lawmakers who live in Quebec City don't experience mobility issues in Montreal firsthand.

"Unfortunately, Transports Quebec has a record of not accepting responsibility and not being terribly willing to make changes," said Leckner. "With some minor changes, [things] could be a lot better, and more importantly, a lot safer, but they just refuse to do it."

Quebec's transport ministry defends itself, saying the standards "are the fruit of decades of experience and innovation."

"They represent the best way of doing things in the vast majority of cases, and serve as references for special cases where adapted solutions are required," the ministry tells CTV News.

The transport ministry explains that it follows strict guidelines when creating "safe and compliant road layouts."

Nevertheless, it notes it is open to adapting designs as needed, depending on individual cases.

"These standards were not drawn up to be imposed. They should be seen as a guide to ideal layouts," the ministry states. "Acquisitions, expropriations and relocation of utility equipment are among the elements to be considered, increasing the complexity of projects carried out in this type of [urban] environment."

The design of a roadway can be looked at if it has a high accident rate, the ministry adds.

"It will be evaluated as a priority and solutions will be found pending a complete redesign," it concludes. Top Stories

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