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CCMM study | 94% of downtown arteries have been blocked in the last year



The city center is literally “afflicted” by the orange cones and the signage surrounding the construction sites, alerts the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal (CCMM), which fears that the image of the metropolis will suffer. In the past year, 94% of downtown arteries have been blocked at one time or another, according to a study by the organization released Thursday.

“One of the major irritants for bringing employees back is the difficulty of access in terms of getting around downtown. […] It’s as if we had admitted that Montreal is in the process of being defined by the orange cones, ”supported the president of the Chamber, Michel Leblanc, at a press conference Thursday.

He regrets that the “overabundant” presence of orange cones marks the spirits in a negative way in the long term. In total, more than nine in ten thoroughfares (94%) in the city center were blocked “partially or completely at one time or another” between April 2021 and March 2022, and more than 5,500 permits were granted.

In addition, more than 96% of license applications were accepted last year, which illustrates that “the community manages a bit as it wishes,” says Mr. Leblanc. The borough of Ville-Marie thus generated nearly $23.8 million, more than a quarter of its annual budget.


Say goodbye to “useless” cones

According to a census by the CCMM, more than a quarter of the orange cones in the metropolis are downright “useless”, these being either “abandoned” or “without purpose”, but still remaining “systematically used” during the work. . Downtown, for example, 57% of Peel Street is made up of cones, and there are orange signs on 100% of the route.

On rue Saint-Urbain, barriers have been in place for nine years, the study shows. “If there is an illustration that coordination can be deficient, it is this one. We create perpetual obstacles because the industry is not coordinated to do so in a time-limited way,” says Mr. Leblanc.


The Chamber believes that the cones should only be used “for short-term work, or on motorways”. More generally, signage should be more “agile” in the city center, in order to adapt to the “high density” of this sector.

According to the CCMM, a “dynamic pricing policy” based on the occupation of the public domain, in terms of surface area and time of occupation, would make it possible to reduce the obstacles. In other words, according to specific criteria, construction companies that reduce their barriers would pay less for their permits and those that increase them would have a higher bill, like a monetary “bonus-malus” system.

It is also suggested to impose a delivery period “outside peak periods”, in particular early in the morning, which would limit the presence of trucks during the day in the city centre. The organization also proposes to consider “bypass plans” to devote certain areas entirely to active or automobile traffic, when the density of obstacles is too high.

The CCMM also believes that the City’s public calls for tenders should take into account the external costs of construction sites, such as their lifespan, their completion time and their potential for congestion and nuisance. The organization also demands that all the data related to the obstacles be “centralized” on a single platform, which would be managed by Quebec, Montreal and several other partners such as Hydro-Quebec, Bell or Énergir.

Until now, Montreal does not have municipal regulations on the dressing and posting of construction zones, unlike Toronto and Chicago in particular.

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