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Autoroute Ville-Marie

General goals

  • Optimize the development of the area in order to restore links between Old Montréal and Faubourg Saint-Laurent
  • Improve the image of the area and allow for a more pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly environment

Planning issues

The Autoroute Ville-Marie, built in the 1970’s to provide fast and efficient access to Montréal’s Centre, cuts across a very strategic area bounded by the Quartier international, the Old Montréal historic district, Faubourg Saint-Laurent and Faubourg Québec.

The entrenched segment of the Expressway creates a major break in the urban fabric and in a number of north-south streets between Rue Saint-Urbain and Rue Sanguinet. In this context, the development of the Quartier international, which has led to improvements in one of Centre’s most destructured areas, provides an eloquent example of the benefits of building above the Expressway.

Square Viger allows for a certain continuity of the urban fabric, but its inward-looking layout often makes it appear unsafe. In addition, the fact that it is adjacent to Rue Viger and Rue Saint-Antoine, which function as service roads with heavy traffic, makes access difficult and reduces its appeal.

As a result, this area presents a relatively unfriendly environment containing more than six hectares of vacant lots, whose development is vital for the image and cohesiveness of the Centre. In this environment, pedestrians are often forced to walk in uncomfortable conditions: the unattractive tunnel that connects the Champ-de-Mars metro station to Rue Saint-Antoine Est is a good example. The two-way bicycle lane on the western sidewalk of Rue Berri further adds to the discomfort.