Valérie Plante wants to 'get Montrealers moving again.' What can she actually get done?

Here’s a closer look at four pledges made by the mayor-elect during the campaign.

Here’s a closer look at 4 pledges made by the mayor-elect during the campaign

Valérie Plante campaigned on a promise to make it easier to get around Montreal. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

Valérie Plante's campaign was all about movement. She glad-handed with commuters on the Metro, promised to strengthen the city's bike-path network and commiserated with drivers over the city's mind-numbing gridlock.

"I'm going to get Montrealers moving again. I'm going to build safer roads for pedestrians, seniors and cyclists," she said in Sunday's victory speech.

Her first order of business, she told reporters Monday, will be to sit down with provincial partners and the STM — Montreal's transit authority — to tackle transit problems.

Here's a closer look at what she proposed during the campaign, and the obstacles she's likely to face.

Pink line dreams

The proposed Pink line — a 29-kilometre line from Montreal North to Lachine, connecting some of the city's densest neighbourhoods — was the centrepiece of Plante's campaign.

She estimated the project would cost $6 billion using a special tunnel-boring machine already tested in Barcelona and Madrid.

Projet Montréal's proposed Pink line would be built between 2021 and 2027. (Projet Montréal)

It would require cash from both the province and federal government. Neither were quick to commit to the idea on Monday.

"We have many projects on the go right now, and we'll discuss them all with Madame Plante," Premier Philippe Couillard said.

The city already has plans in the works for a new light-rail system and an extension of the Metro's Blue line. Both of those require funding from Ottawa and Quebec City.

Plante acknowledged the line probably wouldn't come together until her second term.

More buses

Plante's first stated order of business seems more attainable. She wants 300 hybrid buses on the road by 2020, which would bring the STM's fleet up to 2,089.

She also wants bus and Metro fares lowered — and eventually eliminated — for seniors and children under 12.

François Pépin with Transport 2000 said he's encouraged by the pledges Plante made during the campaign. More reserved bus lanes would also help ease traffic woes, he said.

One more easily achievable goal will be to up the STM's electric fleet by 2020. (Luc Lavigne/Radio-Canada)

Improved cycling network

During the campaign, Plante vowed to build a 140-kilometre network of bike paths on busy streets over the course of a four-year mandate. It is to be called the Réseau Express Vélo. 

Now that the cycling-friendly party runs the central city, there is also hope it will better integrate the existing network of bike paths.

Also, earlier this fall, the Coderre administration commissioned Vélo-Quebec to come up with a proposal to improve cycling access in downtown Montreal.

Plante plans to improve cyclist paths throughout the city. (Charles Contant)

Magali Bebronne of Vélo Quebec said the organization is "very hopeful" Plante will follow through on their recommendations, which have yet to be completed.

"We have very high expectations," she said. "Valérie Plante is a cyclist herself — not just a cyclist for leisure but someone who understands what it's like to feel vulnerable on the roads."

Projet's approach to cycling may face some resistance, however.

As a party, Projet helped foster a culture of cycling in Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie and Plateau–Mont-Royal, where it controlled borough councils. 

But the traffic calming measures were criticized by some businesses. Extending them further afield is likely to bring criticism.

Easing our traffic woes

Finally, Plante pledged to create an anti-congestion squad to ensure things are running smoothly. She also wants to better coordinate construction projects to avoid blockages on alternative routes. That may prove difficult.

She is also looking at introducing traffic calming measures. (Simon-Marc Charron/Radio-Canada)

Some of the largest projects underway are unavoidable and will take years, such as the new Turcot Interchange and Champlain Bridge. The fact that neither project is run by the city further complicates matters.

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