Motorists will no longer be able to cross Mount Royal starting in spring, city says
From the east, vehicle access to end at Maison Smith, from the west, at Beaver Lake
Motorists who have made a habit of driving over Mount Royal via Camillien-Houde Way will no longer be able to cut across the mountain under a pilot project to be launched this spring, the City of Montreal announced Tuesday.
Coming from the east, visitors to Mount Royal will be able to park at the historic Maison Smith, and from the west, at the parking lot near Beaver Lake.
The stretch of road that will be off-limits is about 800 metres long.
According to the Société de Transport de Montréal (STM), buses that now run on Camillien Houde Way — the 11 and 711 — will not be affected by the initiative.
"We anticipate that the pilot project will actually improve bus circulation," said STM spokesperson Philippe Déry.
Last October's death of 18-year-old Clément Ouimet spurred the city's administration to brainstorm for ways to avoid similar tragedies.
Ouimet was an experienced road cyclist who struck a vehicle that unexpectedly pulled a U-turn right in front of him as he was biking down Camillien-Houde Way toward Côte-Ste-Catherine Road.
Ferrandez said at the time that more than 80 per cent of drivers who use the road aren't going to the park. During peak hours, almost all drivers are just passing through.
"They're simply looking for a shortcut."
Valérie Plante, then leader of the official opposition, proposed lowering the speed limit and separating the cyclist path from the vehicle lanes.
Illegal U-turn still possible, says cycling advocate
The pilot project has received a mixed reaction from Montrealers.
Jose Azana, a father who commutes twice a day from the Plateau-Mont-Royal to Westmount via Camillien-Houde Way thinks cutting it off to cars entirely is an extreme measure.
"I think we can find ways to be safer, but you don't need to completely close it down."
However, Gabrielle Anctil, spokesperson for Ghostbikes Montreal, an organization that sets up memorials for people who were killed while cycling in the city, says the Montreal administration could do even more.
The SUV that Ouimet collided with pulled a U-turn near the Belvedere that looks out over Montreal's Plateau, and Anctil points out it would still be possible for a vehicle to make that maneuvre once the pilot project is launched.
"The same situation that happened for Clément could happen again," Anctil said, adding that she'd like to see concrete barriers put up along the entire median to prevent this.
Anctil said the group is happy that buses will still run over the mountain, keeping Mount Royal Park accessible to the public.
"Transit traffic is really a problem on the mountain, we're very, very happy that the administration is going to act upon it quickly."
With files from Radio-Canada