Montreal

Longueuil mayor proposes plan for electric tramway linking east and west

Longueuil Mayor Sylvie Parent has announced a proposed transit plan to link the city centre with the Panama light-rail station and the Cégep Édouard-Montpetit.

The line would link Longueuil with Cégep Édouard-Montpetit and Panama REM station

The mayor's proposal includes more green space, housing units and a tram to connect the centre of Longueuil with the Panama REM station. (Ville de Longueuil)

Longueuil Mayor Sylvie Parent has announced a proposed transit plan to link the city centre with the Panama light-rail station and the Cégep Édouard-Montpetit.

Her ambitious plan includes an electric tramway snaking through the South Shore as well as 30,000 new housing units and green space in Longueuil.

The proposed tramway is called LEEO — a French acronym for electric east-west link.

Parent said she wants to encourage public transit use and build residential areas along Taschereau Boulevard.

She wants to redefine the area and turn it into a vibrant place to live and work.

"We have to make a difference in Taschereau Boulevard," she said, adding that right now it's mostly parking lots and shopping centres. 

Parent said that the area is in need of a transit link that connects east and west.

"We need to connect Longueuil, Brossard, La Prairie and maybe Boucherville," she said. "That's our big problem for the region.

The orange line represents the proposed east-west tramway line. (Ville de Longueuil)

Brossard Mayor Doreen Assaad said she agrees this is a good opportunity to beautify one of the less attractive parts of her borough.

"The tramway, for us, is an opportunity to completely revitalize Taschereau," she said. "We want to see Taschereau transformed."

It's not yet clear how much the project would cost or when it would be finished, but Parent said she hopes it will become a reality in the next 10 to 15 years.

Deputy Transport Minister Chantal Rouleau was on hand during the plan's launch and told CBC that the government is already working on ways to reduce traffic in the area and will take this project into consideration.

In November, the province announced $60 million to determine which mode of public transit should be developed along the South Shore's east-west corridor.

With the light-rail network slated to connect Montreal to Brossard in 2021, there will be three stops along the REM network's north-south route, but those three stops are far from many South Shore commuters.

The first tram arriving in Saint-Lambert after crossing the Victoria Bridge in 1909. Trams continued to run along the South Shore until 1956. (Archives Ville de Longueuil)

The South Shore has opted to use tramways before. A tram line connected Montreal and Saint-Lambert via the Victoria Bridge starting in 1909. It added a stop in Longueuil the following year.

The tram stopped crossing the Saint Lawrence in 1931 after the opening of the Jacques-Cartier Bridge, but trams continued to run along the South Shore until 1956.

With files from CBC's Jay Turnbull, Radio-Canada

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