Which Montreal intersections pose most danger to pedestrians?

2016 is starting out as a deadly year for pedestrians in Montreal, with four people killed already. Which intersections are the most dangerous? We analyze the numbers.

4,825 pedestrians injured in collisions in Montreal between 2011 and 2014, 59 killed

A group of concerned citizens hung a pair of so-called ghost shoes on Parc Avenue near Duluth Street to mark the death of Concepción Cortacans, killed while crossing at the traffic lights on Jan. 7. (Steve Rukavina/CBC)

This year is starting out to be a deadly one for pedestrians in Montreal — four people have been killed already. That's prompting calls for more security measures in the streets.

Where are the most dangerous spots for pedestrians in the Montreal area?

CBC's French-language service, Radio-Canada, analyzed a total of 4,700 accidents between 2011 and 2014 to find out.

Over that period, 4,825 pedestrians were injured.

That's according to data compiled by the Quebec auto insurance board (SAAQ), based on reports by the Montreal police.

While most of those cases resulted in minor injuries, 59 people died.

The most dangerous intersections for pedestrians in Montreal are: 

  • Beaubien Street and Pie-IX Boulevard.
  • Henri-Bourassa Boulevard and Lacordaire Boulevard.
  • Saint-Denis Street and René-Lévesque Boulevard East.
  • Robert Boulevard and Viau Street.
  • Sherbrooke Street East and du Trianon Street.
  • Saint-Denis Street and Mont-Royal Avenue.

Our interactive indicates there were 26 accidents at Pierre Elliott Trudeau airport. Note that they may not all have occurred at the same intersection. Experts interviewed for this story say police tend not to specify the exact location of an accident that happens at the airport, so we were unable to pinpoint the precise location of each of those incidents.

Traffic density, speed contribute

Collisions involving pedestrians and vehicles tend to be more frequent in downtown Montreal, where the population density is higher.

The area around Concordia University's downtown campus is particularly dangerous: Over four years, there were a total of 21 accidents on Guy Street between René-Lévesque and de Maisonneuve boulevards.

"It's a very busy intersection for pedestrians and drivers, partly because of Sainte-Catherine Street and Concordia University," said Marie-Soleil Cloutier, a specialist in road safety at Montreal's l'Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS).

Cloutier adds that factors including the width of lanes, the location of bus stops, the direction of traffic (whether one-way or two-way), as well as the volume of traffic and its speed contribute to the frequency of pedestrian accidents. 

More accidents in winter and during rush hour

Nearly one-third of incidents that led to a pedestrian injury happened between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., according to data from the SAAQ.

The numbers increase towards the end of the week — 1,728 pedestrians were injured on a Thursday or Friday between 2011 and 2014, or close to 37 per cent of the total.

Radio-Canada's analysis also suggests that accidents are more frequent during the fall and the winter.

More than 2,000 pedestrians incidents, or 43 per cent, happened between October and January.

Aref Salem, Montreal's executive committee member responsible for transportation, said the city aims to reduce the number of pedestrians accidents by 40 per cent between 2008 and 2017. 

"There's been a lot of work [constructing] curb extensions and reducing speed limits," he said.

The City of Montreal is also working to improve safety measures, specifically in the Gouin Boulevard and Laurentian Boulevard area.

Six lanes will be reduced to two, the sidewalks will be widened, and signals for pedestrians will be installed.

Based on a report by Radio-Canada's Anne-Marie Provost, with help from Florent Daudens


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