The REM de l’Est will not be aerial in Mercier-Est, but it will be in the axis of Sherbrooke Street, confirmed Monday the Minister of Transport, Geneviève Guilbault, when a first preliminary report on the project reviewed is due to be made public this week.
“You will see that we have officially abandoned the aerial portion for the more delicate portion in Mercier-Est, so that’s good news for the citizens,” said Ms.me Guilbault Monday, on the sidelines of a press conference announcing a new train control system on the blue line.
The Minister affirms that there will nevertheless remain air “in the Sherbrooke axis”. “There are essentially three segments left: the Lacordaire axis, the L’Assomption axis which is around Mercier-Est, and the Sherbrooke axis. There would remain air in the third axis: Sherbrooke, towards Pointe-aux-Trembles, ”she explained.
In the “central portion”, she however repeated, “the air will be excluded”. “And in the other axis towards Marie-Victorin, it is already underground”, she persisted. According to our information, the central portion of Mercier-Est could be buried, but this option is not yet 100% assured.
Mme Guilbault at the same time recalled that a first “preliminary report of the committee” piloted by Quebec, Montreal, the Ministry of Transport (MTQ) and the Regional Metropolitan Transport Authority (ARTM) will be “made public by the end of the week “. “I remind you that this is a preliminary report. A final report is expected in June,” she said.
In the office of Mayor Valérie Plante, it is said that this “demonstrates that the working group, in which Montreal participates with its partners, improves the project by remaining sensitive to the needs of the population”. “It is the citizens of the East who come out on top, because they will be able to benefit from a solution that will leave no scars in their communities,” said the press attaché, Catherine Cadotte.
In the official opposition of Montreal, we also salute “the listening of the working group of the REM de l’Est 2.0 project which heard the citizens of Mercier-Est”. “The latter finally have the assurance that integration will not be aerial in the sector. We are impatiently awaiting the publication of the interim report,” says Councilor Julien Hénault-Ratelle.
To date, the segment connecting with the city center remains excluded from the project, as had already been announced. Fully automated, the REM de l’Est has been the subject of heated debate since CDPQ Infra withdrew from the project, several citizens and experts opposing the air mode which, according to them, would create an “urban divide” in the life.
A demonstration in sight
All of this is happening as a demonstration by the Collectif en environnement Mercier-Est (CEM-E) and the Mobilization 6600 organization is scheduled for Monday evening, on the sidelines of the Montreal city council, to ask elected municipal officials to ” reject any aerial train in urban neighborhoods and give the mandate, the time and the means to the ARTM to study the needs prior to any decision as to the mode of transport chosen”.
“Mayor Plante’s end-of-year interview suggests that the option that will be chosen will be directly inspired by that of CDPQ Infra’s REM de l’Est, an aerial train. This is worrying and completely unacceptable,” insisted Daniel Chartier, vice-president of the CEM-E.
He thus refers to an interview given by Mr.me Plante to Marc-André Carignan, on Radio-Canada, at the end of December. “There will be proposals, but first of all, we are keeping part of the aerial structure, because you have to know that we are still keeping the REM model. But the big change is that it doesn’t happen in the city center. And me, I dream that there is still a link that goes downtown. But obviously, it will have to be a model that respects the density, ”said the mayor.
The original REM is still under construction. This 67-kilometre automated network will connect downtown to the South Shore, to the Montréal-Trudeau airport, as well as to the West Island and to Deux-Montagnes. The first branch of the project, that of the South Shore, was recently postponed and should be inaugurated by this spring.
Almost a year ago, Prime Minister François Legault promised a second phase on the South Shore, a “very nice extension” of the REM between Brossard and Boucherville. It hinted at a quick announcement. However, the studies are still underway at CDPQ Infra, scalded by the controversy surrounding the REM de l’Est. We want to ensure the social acceptability of the project. The urban integration of the REM in the axis of boulevard Taschereau and Vieux-Longueuil is a major issue.
Extensions are also still under study towards Laval and Lanaudière, with a view to creating a vast integrated metropolitan network.