A day after fatal collision, Montreal puts $150M into cycling

Montreal is announcing an investment of $150 million over five years into developing the city as an international cycling hub.

Plateau-Mont-Royal mayor criticizes announcement, saying Montreal mayor isn't committed to cyclist safety

The investment aims to boost cycling in the city by 15% over the next 15 years. (Elias Abboud/CBC)

Montreal has announced an investment of $150 million over five years in an effort to develop the city's cycling infrastructure.

The goals of the investment include: 

  • more connectivity for downtown cyclists
  • more bike parking
  • the promotion of cycling as a safe, effective and comfortable way to get around

The plan is part of the city's Vision Zero approach to safety. It comes less than two months before the upcoming municipal election, to be held on Nov. 5.

Projet Montréal, the Coderre administration's main opposition at City Hall, has a reputation as a strong advocate for urban cycling.

Member of the Coderre administration responsible for the cycling file, Marc-Andre Gadoury, executive committee member responsible for transportation, Aref Salem and city councillor Elsie Lefebvre were at Friday's announcement. (Sudha Krishnan/CBC)

Cyclist killed at dangerous intersection

The announcement comes the day after two separate collisions involving cyclists in the city left one 61-year-old woman dead and a 24-year-old-man seriously injured.

The woman was struck by a school bus at the intersection of des Pins and Parc avenues at 3:40 p.m. Thursday and died of her injuries.

The city councillor responsible for bike safety, Marc-André Gadoury, said the tragic incident highlights the need for a plan like the one put forward Friday.

"We have a plan for a secure bike path on Avenue des Pins," said Gadoury. "But first, we need to do the sewers and the aquaducts."

The 61-year-old woman who was hit by this school bus while she was cycling died of her injuries. (Nav Pall/CBC)

The plan had been in the works long before Thursday's collision.

Aref Salem, the executive committee member responsible for transportation, said the previous day's collision was "really sad" and that the city is enacting measures to make the Montreal safe, but "it takes time."

Friday, a makeshift memorial was set up on a lamp post on the corner where the fatal collision occurred.

Cyclist Zvi Leve remarked the speed at which cars drove at the intersection.

"Did you see how fast they were turning?" Leve said.

"Yet another needless tragedy. This is really something that, the city likes to talk about Vision Zero, but unfortunately they are not walking the talk."

Plateau-Mont-Royal Mayor Luc Ferrandez, a member of Projet Montréal, also slammed Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre's commitment to cyclist safety.

He said the mayor's plan to make Montreal safer for cyclists is just talk.

"We want Coderre to say, 'I don't care about cyclists, I don't care about deaths, I'm not interested.' That he say that. Because that's what he's doing behind closed doors," Ferrandez said.

On Facebook, Ferrandez detailed how Coderre struck down plans to make the intersection on des Pins Avenue safer earlier this year. 

"In June, to the executive committee, Denis Coderre personally intervened to block a cycling route project proposed by his experts on des Pins Avenue at the exact site of yesterday's death," Ferrandez stated.

with files from Sudha Krishnan and Radio-Canada