Montreal plans to build 200 kilometres of secure bike paths over next 5 years

The City of Montreal has unveiled a plan to add 200 kilometres of secured bike paths over the next five years with the aim of making the island safer and cycling more accessible in boroughs located far from the downtown core.

City wants paths available across the island, including in boroughs far from downtown

People are riding bikes.
There was a 20 per cent increase in bike trips across the city in the last year, according to the City of Montreal. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

The City of Montreal plans to expand its growing network of bike paths by adding 200 kilometres of secured lanes over the next five years, with an emphasis on giving more options to cyclists who live far from the downtown core.

On Tuesday, it unveiled a plan it calls Vision Vélo 2023-2027 that includes about 40 projects for new secured bike paths across the city.

The new infrastructure would include major additions to the existing Réseau Express Vélo (REV), a 184-kilometre network of high-capacity bike lanes, likened to a highway for cyclists.

The initial REV project, unveiled by Valérie Plante's administration in 2019, revolved around five axes: St-Denis Street, Bellechasse Street, Peel Street, Souligny Avenue and Viger/Saint-Antoine/Saint-Jacques.

The city plans to add 10 more axes to the REV totalling about 60 kilometres and do work to create or improve 30 other bike routes by 2027. Those projects will be spread across 17 of its 19 boroughs, including those in the West Island and in the east end.

"We work with the future in mind and the future we want in Montreal is a safe future for everyone," said Sophie Mauzerolle, the city's executive committee member in charge of mobility and transportation. 

Mauzerolle also said the city wants to offer more options to "outlying neighbourhoods" such as Montréal-Nord, where Tuesday's news conference was held. 

The new REV networks will be built on roads that include: Côte-de-Liesse Road, Henri-Bourassa Boulevard, Jean-Talon Street, Édouard-Montpetit Boulevard and Lacordaire Boulevard.

There is a map.
The red lines on this map indicate where the city wants to build new REV infrastructure. The green lines are for the other bike path projects it announced on Monday. The grey lines reflect the existing cycling infrastructure. (Submitted by the City of Montreal)

The city also wants to prolong the existing infrastructure on and around Côte-Sainte-Catherine Road and make the Park and Mont-Royal intersection safer.

Other project locations include de la Commune Street next to the Old Port, Pierrefonds Boulevard, Christophe-Colomb Avenue, Maurice-Duplessis Boulevard, Darlington Avenue and de l'Église Street.

The city also wants to develop two long-distance, straight-line cycling paths — known in French as a véloroute. One of them would be in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue and the other would go along the new light-rail network's route that links Deux-Montagnes to the West Island and the western part of Laval. 

To download the city's list of projects, click here.

More cyclists than ever on Montreal roads, city says

Beyond the total size of the bike paths and their locations, Tuesday's announcement was short on details regarding timeline. 

The city says it wants to come up with layouts of each project by discussing with the different boroughs and their residents. But the goal is to have everything completed by 2027.

Growing the city's bike infrastructure serves the needs of Montrealers, who have been travelling on their bikes in larger numbers, according to Mauzerolle.

"Bike paths in Montreal have been used more than ever in the last few years. In the last year, the number of bike trips has increased by 20 per cent in Montreal," she said. "In the last year alone, that's 12 million bike trips."

In response to the announcement, the official opposition at city hall said it's important for the Valérie Plante administration to keep communication lines open throughout the project.

"We stress the need for clear communication with citizens during the planning and construction of these cycling projects," said Alba Zuniga Ramos, Ensemble Montréal's transportation critic.

"We hope the administration learned lessons from the ombudsman's report in the summer of 2020."

In 2020, the city's ombudsman said it received more than 300 complaints in about five months for work the city had done to build the REV as well as install temporary pedestrian and cyclist corridors.


Antoni Nerestant is a journalist at CBC Montreal.