The pluses and minuses of safe bike paths in Montreal

by Stéphane Gagné 🚴🏽‍♂️ April 29, 2019

The  pluses and minuses of safe bike paths in Montreal

In Montreal, places to bike safely are a rare commodity. Review of what exists or no longer exists.

Spring 2018. I was happy to ride up and down the hills by bike in the pretty Mount Royal cemetery. This quiet place, with its exceptional nature, was also a favorite spot for some cycling groups. One day, signs started appearing. It stated that cyclists had to ride a maximum of four at a time and respect the tranquility of the place. Since this is a place of rest, I found it made sense. However, cyclists were also asked to limit their speed to 10 km/h. And that didn’t make sense when you know that the limit for cars was 20 km/h. 
Depuis le 1er août 2018, les cyclistes n'ont plus accès aux chemins paisibles du cimetière du Mont Royal.
Depuis le 1er août 2018, les cyclistes n'ont plus accès aux chemins paisibles du cimetière du Mont Royal. 


And then one day, another sign appeared. It stated that as of August 1, 2018, bicycles will be banned in the cemetery. I found this step to be draconian and I think there would have been a way to avoid that by talking with the cyclists. In short, we lost one of the most beautiful places in Montreal to ride a bike safely, away from traffic.

The road on Mount Royal
Avec la fin de l'Interdiction du transit sur la voie Camillien Houde, il y a beaucoup plus de trafic sur cette voie.

Avec la fin de l'Interdiction du transit sur la voie Camillien Houde, il y a beaucoup plus de trafic sur cette voie.

As a consolation prize, cyclists can still fall back on Camilien Houde road (CH). And last summer, the City introduced a pilot project to ban transit traffic on this route. Although it was not fully respected, cycling on the CH had become safer and quieter. Come spring 2019, lost is the peace on the CH! Until today, the pilot project is not renewed, vehicle traffic is again as it was before. The CH is a veritable highway. Yet thousands of people agreed to restrict traffic on this route. After all, it crosses an urban park. Other cities in the world have done this including New York City with Central Park. Mayor Bill de Blasio said: "Parks are for people, not cars. " Music to my ears!


Cycling in Maisonneuve ParkLe réaménagement des voies au parc Maisonneuve a permis de bien separer cyclistes et piétons.
Le réaménagement des voies au parc Maisonneuve a permis de bien séparer cyclistes et piétons.

Fortunately, there is Maisonneuve Park. Last summer, the City rejuvenated the 2.90 km bike path which surrounds this green space and it's quite successful. We lowered a slope that made cycling more difficult for seniors and children. The bike path has been removed from the pedestrian path, so today there are fewer conflicts between pedestrians and cyclists. Pedestrians walk less on the bike path. We also widened and redid the access to the path from Viau street (they needed it badly). In short, they are beautiful improvements.


Gilles Villeneuve Circuit

Finally, the last place in Montreal for safe cycling: the Gilles Villeneuve circuit, on Notre-Dame Island. It is the place of choice to practice performance cycling. The lane is wide, although shared with the motorists. The pavement is number One, no cracks, no potholes. Heaven! There are, however, several days when you can not go because of the presence of various events, including the Grand Prix. Check the schedule before going there.
 
Credit Photos: Stéphane Gagné 



Stéphane Gagné 🚴🏽‍♂️
Stéphane Gagné 🚴🏽‍♂️

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