Old Montreal’s pedestrian priority zone to be gradually implemented this summer

By News Staff

The first phase of the Pedestrian Priority Zone in Old Montreal will be gradually implemented this year — once again putting pedestrian travel at the heart of the historic neighbourhood.

Like other pedestrianized historic centers around the world, by 2030, Old Montreal will be progressively secured through calming measures, the city says.

“People who live in the area and those who visit it will have an improved experience,” said the head of transport and mobility on the executive committee, Sophie Mauzerolle, in a news release. “That will promote the attractiveness and dynamism of Old Montreal.”

Pedestrians walking in Old Montreal on June 10, 2024. (Credit: Martin Daigle/CityNews)

Four main areas frequented by pedestrians and visitors are set to be the focus of phase one: Place d’Armes, Place Jacques-Cartier and Saint-Paul street and de la Commune.

During the Montreal Climate Summit back in May 2023, Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante announced initiatives in line with the city’s ecological transition plan — one which was this development of Montreal’s first pedestrian priority zone.

“Old Montreal will become a historic district,” Plante had said. “Where pedestrians are king.”

With construction sites ending in the sector and summer around the corner, the city says they will contribute to calming the neighborhood and restoring public space to the population by:

  • Enhancing Place d’Armes by transforming the peripheral streets into shared streets and by the long-term pedestrianization of the section of street in front of the Notre-Dame Basilica
  • Improving the experience on de la Commune street by creating a sustainable mobility corridor between Saint-Laurent Blvd. and Berri street, including:
    o Maintaining terraces and widening the pedestrian space
    o Making the street one-way and restricting access to vehicles, with the exception of buses (STM, tourist, school), taxis, local deliveries and emergency vehicles
    o The development of a two-way cycle lane on the roadway on the south side of de la Commune street
  • Sustaining the pedestrianization of Place Jacques-Cartier and Saint-Paul street
Pedestrians crossing road in Old Montreal on June 10, 2024. (Credit: Martin Daigle/CityNews)

The current configuration of the neighbourhood puts the safety of pedestrians and more vulnerable road users at risk, the city said in the news release on Monday. They add that it required interventions to make travel safer and ensure better coexistence of uses — improving the experience of the thousands of people who travel each year to the area.

The city also adds that access to the various parking lots in the neighborhood has been maintained.

“By placing people at the heart of public space and facilitating cohabitation with other users,” said Mauzerolle. “This project anchors our historic district in the era of time and aims for greater inclusiveness, for the benefit of all.”

Old Montreal on June 10, 2024. (Credit: Martin Daigle/CityNews)

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