In an effort to offset the impending pollution of the Royalmount project, which is under construction now at the intersection of Autoroute 15 and 40, Montreal mayor Valerie Plante is proposing something completely new and different for Montreal.
A little town where there are no cars.
The proposed neighbourhood, currently being called the "Hippodrôme project," was first mentioned in 2017 and was dreamt up by a group of urban planning students at Concordia University, according to the Montreal Gazette.
The site of this futuristic borough is the old site of the Blue Bonnets Raceway, a horse race track and casino that was in operation for over 130 years. It opened its doors in 1872 and served in two different locations before it finally shut its doors. The city of Montreal purchased the land in 2017 and, according to the Gazette, demolitions of the "abandoned structures" began last year.
Plante brought the project to City Council earlier this month but mentioned the project again on a CBC Radio-Canada program last week, adding more buzz surrounding the housing project that has been in talks for the location at Décarie and Jean-Talon.
The idea of a car-free city, town or even borough may seem out of reach and ridiculous to some, but that's simply because our urban planning has centred around vehicular mobility for so long.
In reality, there are numerous car-free cities around the world, and more and more cities worldwide are starting to adopt a more car-free attitude.
The current site of the old Hippôdrome has been getting used to its potential future ecological use throughout this summer already, with Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de-Grâce using the space to plant trees and maintain a beekeeping project.
The housing development project would also boast 8,000 units, for those Montrealers who are ready to live in the heart of a car-free borough.
On her side, Plante has the support of Éric Alan Caldwell, the executive committee member responsible for urban planning, mobility and public consultation.
He believes that while the project may sound "ambitious," so are Montrealers, and while it may seem far-reaching, there is no question that Montrealers care deeply for green spaces and sustainable mobility, two things this borough would have in spades.
There will be a public consultation before development begins, and the next City Council meeting will take place on Monday, October 7th, at the NDG Cultural Center, located at 6400, avenue de Monkland.
Citizens are welcome to attend regular council meetings and bring with them their concerns or questions to the attention of elected representatives.
To ask questions you must register to do so between 6:15 and 6:45 before the meeting beings at 7 p.m.