A new road is coming to the West Island, but it's not for cars
The 1.2-km stretch will be reserved for buses, cyclists and pedestrians only
A new north-south artery long sought by residents of Montreal's West Island is coming in the next few years — but cars won't be allowed to drive on it.
Once slated to become a highway, a piece of government-owned land north of Highway 40 will instead be transformed into a 1.2-kilometre stretch of road for buses, cyclists and pedestrians only.
It will start on Ste-Marie Road and go up to Antoine-Faucon Street, close to where the Kirkland REM station will be.
Making it a roadway dedicated to active and public transit users gives West Islanders access to the new light-rail train station without increasing car traffic, according to Mayor Valérie Plante.
"We are confident that this is the way to go," she told reporters.
But Jim Beis, mayor of Pierrefonds-Roxboro and a member of the opposition, said the decision is yet another example of how the Plante administration doesn't take into consideration what people want.
"The people in Pierrefonds-Roxboro and in Kirkland have talked about the urban boulevard for decades and again we've gone with something completely out of the box, without even talking to the leaders in these communities, and especially the residents," he said
For decades, the land was seen as the potential site of a westward extension of Highway 440, but the idea has since become "outdated," said Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux, who represents parts of Pierrefonds-Roxboro and Kirkland.
The project comes with a preliminary price tag of $10 million and is slated to be complete by 2023.
One local resident, Angela Montesano, said she's not sure how many active transport users will be taking advantage of the reserved lane all year round.
"I can walk there if I wanted to, but in the winter time, do I want to walk all the way? I don't know. Probably not. I'll take my car," she said.
Montesano has lived in the West Island for about 30 years and drives into the city for work every day.
She said she's willing to try out the new light-rail when it opens but isn't sure she'll make a habit of it.
Faye Rowsome, who lives nearby the site of the urban roadway, told CBC she's not that pleased with the announcement, either.
She's lived there for eight years and would have preferred the new road to help divert some of the busy car traffic elsewhere.
"There's already a lot of traffic," she said. "For the amount of car traffic, I don't think it's going to alleviate ... I don't think it's going to make a difference."
With files from Matt d'Amours