Montreal

Valérie Plante still opposed to Royalmount despite traffic-easing proposals

The Royalmount mega mall is expected to bring even more traffic to the already clogged intersection of Highways 15 and 40, and Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante says she cannot throw her support behind the plan.

Saint-Laurent mayor called some working group suggestions 'wishful thinking'

The Royalmount project is taking shape a stone's throw from the intersection of Highways 15 and 40. (Charles Contant/Radio-Canada)

The Royalmount mega mall is expected to bring even more traffic to the already clogged intersection of Highways 15 and 40, and Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante says she cannot throw her support behind the plan.

"The City of Montreal, at this point, cannot be behind this project," she said at a news conference Tuesday morning.

The mayor is part of a working group that includes Quebec's minister for the Montreal Region, Chantal Rouleau. It presented a report with several proposals to solve the potential traffic nightmare developments planned for the area will cause.

The Royalmount shopping centre will sit at the corner of Decarie Boulevard and Highway 40. The area is already jammed with more than 450,000 vehicles a day.

Royalmount is expected to add another 94,000 to the equation by 2022.

The working group put forward a list of 13 recommended solutions, including completing the extension of Cavendish Boulevard to bypass the Canadian Pacific train yards that divide Côte Saint-Luc from Saint-Laurent.

The report also suggests connecting the Orange Metro line to the incoming light-rail network (REM), and building a pedestrian bridge to the De La Savane Metro station.

Alan DeSousa, mayor of Saint-Laurent, said that many of these recommendations are thinking years into the future.

"A lot of [the recommendations] are coming too late to have any real impact, and to some extent, much of the stuff in there is wishful thinking," he said.

Under construction in the Town of Mount-Royal, not far from the De la Savane Metro station, Montreal's mayor refuses to support the Royalmount project. (Carbonleo)

Some of the solutions put forward by the working group have already been stagnating in the discussion phase for decades due to their prohibitive costs. 

The report also recommends:

  • Adding more reserved bus and bicycle lanes.
  • Restructuring truck routes and circulation times.
  • Reconfiguring roadways, including highways 15 and 40.

Developer open to 'constructive' feedback

At the start of the year, Montreal recommended that Royalmount be suspended until it can better meet the needs of the surrounding population.

Despite objections from the city and the borough, the project has already been approved by TMR in 2015, and by the City of Montreal and the agglomeration council.

Carbonleo, the developer behind the mega mall project, said in a statement that the company welcomes the working group's report and will be studying the recommendations.

"We are pursuing our efforts to enhance the project in light of the public participation process we have recently undertaken and look forward to unveiling a new version of Royalmount in the fall," wrote developer Carbonleo in an email.

Carbonleo said it will continue to hold "constructive discussions" about the project with concerned parties. 

With files from Radio-Canada and CBC's Simon Nakonechny

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