Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante has moved quickly to make her mark on the city. Critics and citizens have lauded her focus on transit-oriented development and a more pedestrian-friendly cityscape.
While there's no word about plans to implement her promised STM Pink Line, she has made moves to simplify the Montreal transportation system. Today, her administration unveiled what they're calling an "economic development plan," which includes suggestions to better move goods across the city.
That plan would see the designation of some roads as shipping passageways. Such routes would be open only to trucks and other storage vehicles that need to transport products across the city.
That means, of course, that those same routes would be closed to non-local traffic. According to the report, the city would encourage carpooling and commutes by public transit to prevent the extreme congestion that would likely follow the implementation of these special passageways. There's no word yet about how, exactly, the city could convince commuters to do that.
This new plan is either a blessing or a curse, depending on your perspective. The city desperately needs better accessibility for pedestrians and small businesses, but commuters will likely decry the constriction of an already insane road network.
Car-free planning seems to be a trend in the Plante administration. The elimination of downtown parking in the new plans for Sainte Catherine Street, the ban on cars on Mount Royal, and the removal of private parking in the Plateau-Mont-Royal have been controversial to say the least.
The city definitely needs a comprehensive plan to deal with its congestion and dilapidated infrastructure. Only time will tell if this new plan will work.