Montreal Gay Village main strip car-free this summer
Montreal's Gay Village will be closed to cars this summer and declared a pedestrian mall.
The Ste-Catherine Street blocks between Berri and Papineau streets will be blocked to traffic from June to September with access granted to emergency and delivery vehicles.
It may exacerbate traffic in the area, which is heavily travelled during rush hour because of the Jacques Cartier bridge's proximity — but drivers will have to adjust, said Ville Marie borough mayor Benoît Labonté.
"If some people crossing the bridge every day get fed up, if they get fed up with the traffic, they can use public transit," he said Tuesday at the announcement at Cabaret Chez Mado.
The mall will attract tourists to the area and improve quality of life for residents and business owners, he said.
The majority of members of the Village Merchants' Association support the initiative, said president Denis Brossard.
"Everybody's walking on the street with a big smile, and all the merchants are clapping because there is so [many] more people walking and sitting at their restaurant, or their club, or whatever," he told CBC.
Some business owners are concerned about parking but people will have to adjust, said local resident and pharmacy owner Sylvie Duchesne.
"I think it's always hard at the beginning, you know, the first year, the second year, the third year," she said. "But when it's something installed and running after a couple years, I think it's worth it."
People will be able to park at the Bibliothèque Nationale at Berri and Ontario streets.
The city of Montreal will also install additional bike racks in the area.