• To make it easier to practice social distancing along dense commercial streets, the Montreal borough of CDN-NDG is temporarily expanding pedestrian space.
  • The Plateau-Mont-Royal has created a similar "public health corridor."
  • The mayor made clear that these corridors are for local residents only, not destinations for people from other boroughs.

Social distancing is getting easier in some areas. The Montreal borough of Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de-Grâce is temporarily widening pedestrian space along dense commercial streets so that residents can safely maintain a two-metre distance from other individuals. A similar "public health corridor" has also been set up for Plateau-Mont-Royal residents along avenue du Mont-Royal.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has forced boroughs to review the layout of public spaces to try to minimize the spread of the virus," CDN-NDG explains in a statement.

"In order for pedestrians using our commercial arteries to have more space, three sections will be rearranged to create pedestrian corridors."

These are:

  • avenue Monkland, between avenue Girouard and avenue Draper

  • chemin de la Côte-des-Neiges, between rue Jean-Brillant and chemin Queen-Mary

  • chemin Queen-Mary, between avenue Westbury and avenue Clanranald

Crews will set up bollards 2.5 metres from the sidewalk, "a distance equivalent to a parking spot" along these routes.

The space within will be for pedestrians only, allowing them to stay away from long lines that may form in front of some businesses.

CDN-NDG residents will see the corridors go up beginning April 17.

On April 8, the Plateau-Mont-Royal announced similar measures for avenue du Mont-Royal between avenue du Parc and rue Fullum.

The borough's high density necessitated the corridor, according to a statement on its website.

Mayor Plante made clear at the time, however, that these corridors are for local residents only.

"Mont-Royal must not become a destination," she wrote in a Twitter post. She previously asked that Montrealers not leave their own neighbourhoods.

She further suggested that the project could expand to other "central neighbourhoods where population density and social distancing make reconfiguration necessary."

On Thursday, Quebec Premier François Legault announced that his government was preparing a "deconfinement plan" and "gradual" reopening of businesses.

Whether these public health corridors will last to enable social distancing even after that happens remains to be seen.

Stay tuned.

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