The Réseau express vélo (REV) will be enriched with 10 new sections over the next five years, the City of Montreal announced on Tuesday morning.
The administration of Valérie Plante plans to invest 30 million per year in the extension of the REV over 60 kilometers, and in 30 other projects of cycle paths, in particular to better serve neighborhoods left behind, indicated Sophie Mauzerolle, responsible for transport and mobility on the executive board.
In all, 200 kilometers of bike paths will be added to the Montreal network, in 17 of the 19 boroughs, revealed Ms.me Mauzerolle, at a press conference.
“Our cycling plan has four objectives: secure travel everywhere on the island, better connect outlying neighborhoods, offer predictability to the population and better secure our construction sites”, she underlined.
The City considers that it is necessary to make bicycle trips safer, given the popularity of this mode of transport, which has increased by 20% since the beginning of the year.
Among the flagship projects included in the City’s 2023-2027 Bike Vision are:
- Development of REV Jean-Talon, REV Henri-Bourassa and REV Lacordaire;
- Upgrading and extending the Côte-Sainte-Catherine bike path, which will make it possible to secure the intersection of du Parc and Mont-Royal avenues;
- The redevelopment of the Commune trail, between Berri and Saint-Laurent, for better coexistence with pedestrians;
- The creation of a bike path on rue Hochelaga, which will connect Mercier–Hochelaga-Maisonneuve and Ville-Marie;
- The addition of bike paths on Prieur and Charleroi, which will connect Ahuntsic-Cartierville and Montreal North;
- The development, in the West Island, of the Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue branch and the Deux-Montagnes branch of the cycle route, in line with the REM de l’Ouest.
Reaching vulnerable populations
“By choosing active transportation, walking, cycling, the population can make a huge difference, not only in favor of the ecological transition, but also in favor of their health, their finances and their autonomy. As a city, we have a duty to offer the population quality facilities that will make these choices easier,” said Marianne Giguère, associate advisor for active transportation on the executive committee.
The regional director of public health for Montreal, the DD Mylène Drouin, who participated in the press conference, noted that the City’s plan largely meets the recommendations of Public Health in terms of accessibility, safety and inclusion. In an impact assessment of the REV unveiled last April, it suggested investing more in neighborhoods less well served by the current cycling network to reach more vulnerable populations.
“That’s what we need, safe infrastructure that will allow people to feel safe,” reacted Jean-François Rheault, CEO of Vélo Québec. “For sectors where there is no cycling infrastructure, such as Parc-Extension, Saint-Michel, Montreal-North, Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, today’s plan restores territorial equity, better coverage of the territory. »
Few protected tracks
The Montreal Active Mobility Coalition is however concerned to note that less than a third of the cycle paths presented will be part of the REV, that is to say that they will be protected paths. In a press release, the group also indicated that it feared delays in the development of cycling infrastructure.
The City has announced its five-year plan to give the population better “predictability” in areas where changes are coming.
But Sophie Mauzerolle could not specify whether the planned cycle paths would lead to the removal of parking spaces or traffic lanes. It was also not possible to know in what order the projects would be carried out.
For merchants who fear the arrival of a section of the REV in front of their store, Marianne Giguère recalled that, rue Saint-Denis, since the arrival of the REV, there have been fewer vacant premises and an increase in sales in the shops.
The bicycle is relevant for the economy, both for street commerce and for businesses, to improve the mobility of goods. A cyclist is a customer who buys more, it is demonstrated in the statistics.
Marianne Giguère, Associate Active Transportation Advisor to the Executive Committee
Mme Giguère also ensures that consultations will be carried out in the affected neighborhoods. “We gained a lot of experience,” she noted, adding that the City will listen carefully and will be able to adjust the projects based on the comments received.
The Official Opposition at City Hall recalled that, in a report tabled in 2020, the Ombudsman de Montréal had criticized the lack of consultation in the development of the REV and the active safe lanes (VAS), implemented in the middle of pandemic.
“We reiterate the need for clear communication with citizens during the design and construction of cycling development projects,” commented Alba Zuniga Ramos, opposition spokesperson for active transportation, while welcoming the new cycle routes announced by the Plante administration.
- 889 kilometers
- Length of the bicycle network in Montreal
Source: City of Montreal
- 214 kilometers
- Bike lanes protected by physical elements (concrete walls, posts)
Source: City of Montreal