Montreal

How to get around Montreal as Formula E race day approaches

With a day to go until the Formula E event, road closures are in full swing and getting around the eastern part of downtown Montreal is nothing short of an adventure.

Navigating downtown over the next few days will be an adventure, thanks to the car race and other events

A man sits on stands built for spectators to watch the Formula E race. The racetrack includes part of René-Lévesque Boulevard East, which is closed to regular traffic. (Benjamin Shingler/CBC)

With a day to go until the Formula E event, road closures are in full swing and getting around the eastern part of downtown Montreal is nothing short of an adventure.

The $24-million event comes to Montreal for the first time this weekend, July 29 and 30.

In addition to the maze of city streets around the racetrack that are closed, the race is affecting access to the eastbound and westbound Ville-Marie Expressway.

The track itself, bounded by René-Lévesque Boulevard to the north, Papineau Avenue to the east, Notre-Dame Street to the south and Berri Street to the west, is off-limits until Monday.

The good news is that it will be free to take the STM or a Bixi on the days of the race, Mayor Denis Coderre has announced. The STM has increased its capacity to accommodate Metro travellers.

And with a number of events aside from Formula E taking place this weekend — Just For Laughs shows, the fireworks show at La Ronde Saturday night, Kool and the Gang at Place des Festivals Sunday — the city recommends people either bike or use public transportation if they're trying to get around.

The Formula E circuit is shown in yellow. Nearby streets coloured in red is where parking will be forbidden. Green represents where permit-holders can park only. (City of Montreal)

For cyclists

Take note, some bike paths will be rerouted:

  • Until Aug. 4, the bike path on René-Lévesque between Cartier and Berri streets will be closed. Cyclists will be redirected to the bidirectional path on de Maisonneuve.
  • Also until Aug. 4, the bike path on Berri Street between Viger and de Maisonneuve Boulevard will be closed. Cyclists will be redirected to the bidirectional path on St-Urbain Street.

Some Bixi stations will be unavailable, so users should check the app to make sure they know where they can park their bikes.

For pedestrians

For residents and others who are on foot in the area, there are two pedestrian walkways in order to get across the racetrack.

  • One, at René-Levesque and St-Hubert Street, is wheelchair accessible.
  • The other is at the corner of Amherst and St-Antoine streets.
One of two pedestrian overpasses built for the Formula E race. This is the one at René-Lévesque and St-Hubert. (Kate McKenna/CBC)

For drivers

If you have to drive, the city has partnered with the app Waze, a free GPS navigation app for iOS and Android, to include road closures starting this weekend so people don't accidentally try to drive into the racetrack.

Exits 6 and 7 off the eastbound Ville-Marie are closed and won't reopen until early Monday morning. To head westbound, the first available entrance is the one at Lucien L'Allier Street — the rest are closed.

Detours are marked for those trying to access the Jacques Cartier Bridge from the expressway (via Notre-Dame, Frontenac Street, de Maisonneuve Boulevard East and Papineau).

This city website has maps showing which streets will be closed or restricted through to Sunday.
In the best of times there are a lot of these signs in Montreal, but there will be even more of them in the coming days due to the race. (Kate McKenna/CBC)

Parking in the neighbourhood around where the race is being held is largely reserved for residents only, but for those who want to drive to Old Montreal, which isn't too far from the race site, there are more than 500 paid parking spaces at the Clock Tower Pier.

Police officers will be managing traffic at all affected intersections, and there are a lot of them, over the next few days.

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