Quebec announces plans for major network of reserved lanes
Réseau métropolitain de voies réservées project is aimed at reducing vehicles on highways in the Montreal area
Transport Minister François Bonnardel announced plans Wednesday for a new network of reserved lanes that would run along highways in the Montreal area.
The network, called the Réseau métropolitain de voies réservées (RMVR), is aimed at reducing traffic on the roads by encouraging people to use public transit instead of travelling alone in their cars.
The project has no set budget or timeline as of yet, though Bonnardel hopes to start building the new lanes by the end of 2022.
"We want to add [more lanes] to give other solutions and reduce the time that drivers are in their car each day," said Bonnardel.
"If a driver sees a bus or someone carpooling go by at 100 km/h in the reserved lane, while he's in traffic at 60, he'll tell himself: 'I think I'm wasting time in my vehicle."
The lanes are set to run along highways in Longueuil, Laval linking to Montreal, including highways 13, 20, 25, 440 and 640, as well as the 116. No lanes will be on the island of Montreal itself.
They will be integrated into the current and future projects on highways 15, 19 and 30, as well as on the 132.
Junior Transport Minister Chantal Rouleau, who is also responsible for Montreal, said the city will have to ensure these reserved lanes are well-integrated with its metropolitan road network, as well as its public transit system.
Public transit authorities in all three affected cities will be consulted on the project.
"We want to improve mobility options in the city, not just for those who want to go downtown, but for those who travel between these [areas]," said Rouleau.
The project is still in its very early stages. The province has launched a call for tenders and a study into the needs of the targeted areas.
Through these studies, the province will determine what exactly the lanes will be reserved for. Preliminary plans have them reserved for buses, but Bonnardel also hopes to allow access to carpooling and electric vehicles.
Other highways may also be added to the project, depending what the study finds.
"Of course we want to encourage carpooling," said Bonnardel. "We hope in this study we will find different solutions for different highways. It's not a wall-to-wall situation for all the highways in the North Shore and the South Shore.
Bonnardel said none of the highways' existing traffic lanes will be turned into reserved lanes. Instead, the province plans to build additional ones.