Is Camillien-Houde Way really the shortcut it's cracked up to be?

Two drivers. Two different routes. One mountain in the centre of the city. CBC decided to find out what will happen when commuters who cut across the mountain are forced to take another route.

CBC checks out what happens when commuters who cut across Mount Royal are forced to take another route

Our two drivers both start in NDG during morning rush hour. One drives over the mountain while one goes around it. The finish line is in the Plateau. (CBC)

Two drivers. Two different routes. One mountain in the centre of the city.

As controversy swirls around the city's plan to block through traffic on Mount Royal, many Montrealers are worried about the impact this pilot project will have on their commute.

The stretch of road on the mountain that will be off-limits is about 800 metres long.

CBC decided to find out what will happen when commuters are forced to take another route. Is Camillien-Houde Way really the shortcut it's cracked up to be?

What better way to answer this question than with a race?

Watch what happens when CBC reporter Matt D'Amours enlisted the help of Laurie Nyveen, one of Canada's top map editors for the Waze GPS application.

The rules

Laurie Nyveen, left, one of Canada’s top map editors for the Waze GPS application, drives across Mount Royal, while CBC reporter Matt D'Amours drives around it. (CBC)
The rules are simple: start from the corner of Côte-Saint-Luc Road and de l'Orphelinat Street in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce during morning rush hour. Nyveen drives over the mountain, and Matt D'Amours goes around it, via The Boulevard and Dr. Penfield Avenue.

They have to respect the speed limits, of course, and then compare times at the finish line.

Watch our video to see what happened.

Two cars take two different routes during morning rush hour - one goes over Mount Royal, the other around. Find out who gets there first. 2:19

The results

In this race, Nyveen, who drove over the mountain via Camillien-Houde Way, won. But the results were close.

Nyveen arrived at the finish line in 22 minutes and one second. CBC reporter Matt D'Amours took 23 minutes and 40 seconds.

Nyveen was the winner by one minute and 39 seconds.

Even though driving across the mountain wasn't that much quicker, Nyveen said he still has concerns about closing a stretch of it off to traffic.

"Whatever traffic moves off the mountain onto the roads surrounding, that's going to slow things down. It's going to produce more traffic around the mountain," Nyveen said.

When the plan was announced, Montrealers were swift to show their frustration with thousands of signatures on a petition. Some of the criticism comes from people who use Camillien-Houde Way to commute. 

Mayor Valérie Plante says the city is in the middle of conducting an impact study, collecting information about traffic around the mountain.

Full details on the pilot project are expected in the spring.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.