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COVID-19 : Montréal to offer safe active transportation circuit this summer

15 mai 2020

Montréal, le 15 mai 2020 - The fight against COVID-19 has changed travel in Montréal. As summertime approaches, Montréal will offer an ambitious new project: a network of safe active transportation circuits. Montrealers who have chosen active transportation will be able to travel along safe temporary routes designated just for them in order to reach city parks and main thoroughfares while complying with distancing directives issued by public health authorities. Once completed, the safe active transportation circuits will become one of the biggest active transportation networks in the world.

“This summer will be different from the ones we are used to. Because a large part of Montréal's population will be staying in town this summer, it was our duty to offer them a safe and pleasant city where they can travel around worry-free and discover all the wonderful things the city has to offer. Montrealers will be able to use these temporary paths to travel safely to city parks and enjoy a better shopping experience on our commercial streets. The space that has been freed for safe active transportation circuits will not only ensure compliance with physical distancing, it will help make our commercial streets more dynamic when businesses reopen and need our support,” said Mayor Valérie Plante.

The first phase of these new paths will begin in June, in line with directives issued by the Direction régionale de la santé publique de Montréal. A second phase will follow this summer.

“By developing safe active transportation circuits, streets can be reconfigured for Montrealers so that pedestrians and cyclists can have part of the public space and the entire population can safely access parks, shores, schools, essential services and businesses. The paths will help support commercial streets as they reopen, promote discovery of Montréal's historical and cultural heritage, and ensure compliance with distancing measures, which we will have to continue dealing with over the coming months,” said Éric Alan Caldwell, executive committee member in charge of urban planning, mobility, and the Office de consultation publique de Montréal. 

Two phases of work

Montréal's safe active transportation circuits join other active transportation initiatives like the Express Bike Network (EBN).

Beginning in June, Montréal will start redeveloping Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Rue Saint-Denis, Avenue Christophe-Colomb, Avenue du Mont-Royal and Boulevard Gouin in order to add 61 km and five pedestrian/cyclist corridors to connect Parc du Mont-Royal,  Parc Maisonneuve,  Parc Jarry,  Parc Frédéric-Back and Parc de l'Île-de-la-Visitation. Avenue du Mont-Royal will be made pedestrian during the first phase. 

A second phase will follow this summer, during which 51 km and six additional pedestrian/cyclist corridors will be built, more commercial streets like Rue Wellington will be made pedestrian, and new health corridors will be set up. 

In addition to this ambitious mobility plan are planned redevelopments in various boroughs totalling 88 km of local streets designated for pedestrians and cyclist. A number of forward-looking projects will be carried out as a result of this joint mobilization between the city and its boroughs, and will be announced by the boroughs at a later time.

Summer travel by the numbers

Temporary pedestrian and bike paths will be created this summer due to COVID-19: 

  • 112 km of safe active transportation circuits

  • 88 km of redeveloped streets for pedestrians and cyclists (slow streets, shared streets, family/active streets, pedestrian streets, temporary bike paths, etc.) are being planned by the boroughs 

These projects are in addition to permanent infrastructures that had already been planned for this summer:

  • 24 new kilometres on the Express Bike Network (EBN)

  • 33 new off-EBN bike paths

  • 70 new kilometres of local bike networks planned by the boroughs 

A total of 327 km of new pedestrian and bike paths will be created this summer, in addition to more than 900 km of existing paths for pedestrians and cyclists on the island of Montréal.

This summer, pedestrians and cyclists in Montréal will have access to more than 1,200 designated paths where they can travel safely.


Action details by circuit

  • Mont-Royal – Rachel: Avenue du Mont-Royal to be made pedestrian; creation of a pedestrian/cyclist corridor on Rue Rachel in Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie. These corridors will link Parc du Mont-Royal, ParcLa Fontaine and Parc Maisonneuve.

  • Christophe-Colomb: A multipurpose corridor will be created on Avenue Christophe-Colomb. This circuit will link the St. Lawrence River to the Rivière des Prairies. As well, through local linking, Parc Frédéric-Back et Parc Jarry will be connected to the network.

  • Sainte-Catherine: Rue Sainte-Catherine Est will be pedestrian again this summer. Rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest will also be redeveloped. Details will be shared by Ville-Marie soon. 

  • Saint-Laurent: Addition of a one-way bike path as well as a pedestrian zone. New patios on the road on Boulevard Saint-Laurent, as permitted by public health authorities, due to relaxed regulations. 

  • Saint-Urbain: Like Rue de Rivoli in Paris, the bike path will be doubled to improve distancing on this busy street.  

  • Saint-Denis: Beginning of the  Express Bike Network (EBN). In partnership with the Rue Saint-Denis commercial development corporation, the city will find solutions to permit occupancy of public property and design the space safely.

  • Ontario – Hochelaga: A transit mall is being designed.

  • De la Commune – Vieux-Montréal: Rue de la Commune to be made pedestrian; addition of a bike path. At the same time, Ville-Marie is working to make the streets of this historic neighbourhood into “shared streets.” 

  • Wellington: Rue Wellington in Verdun to be made pedestrian

  • Canal de Lachine – Notre-Dame: Active mobility corridor to be created on Rue Notre-Dame, in Le Sud-Ouest, between Rue Peel and Place Saint-Henri.

  • Camilien-Houde – Côte-des-Neiges – Queen-Mary: Improvements to Cyclovia Camilien-Houde to allow for extended hours and traffic on weekends, and additions to be integrated into pedestrian corridors on both main streets in the Côte-des-Neiges neighbourhood.

  • Gouin: Like the Stroller Project in Rivière-des-Prairies–Pointe-aux-Trembles, Montréal wants to make Boulevard Gouin one way to free space for pedestrians and cyclists. This circuit will also open up neighbourhoods that are hard hit by the current crisis.

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