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Proposed elevator tower connecting Montreal's Jacques Cartier Bridge with Parc Jean-Drapeau.

Proposed elevator tower connecting Montreal's Jacques Cartier Bridge with Parc Jean-Drapeau.

Courtesy of Les AmiEs du courant Sainte-Marie

It currently takes about 40 minutes by foot to get from the (approximate) shore of Montreal's Centre-Sud neighbourhood to the western shore of Île Sainte-Hélène via the Jacques Cartier Bridge. A proposal to plop an elevator on either side of the bridge would reduce the journey to just over 10 minutes.

Les AmiEs du courant Sainte-Marie, an organization that advocates for better access to the river for residents of Ville-Marie, is putting forward the plan as one way to both improve the pedestrian link to Parc Jean-Drapeau and capitalize on views from the iconic bridge.

The towering 1930 structure has untapped potential as a lookout point and tourist attraction. Pedestrians, and especially disabled people, currently face obstacles to access: a winding route with what Les AmiEs identify as 4.5% slopes and tight turns. On the bridge, walkers have to share a 2.5-metre-wide bidirectional path with cyclists.

Current pedestrian route from Place Craig to Parc Jean-Drapeau via Montreal's Jacques Cartier Bridge.Current pedestrian route from Place Craig to Parc Jean-Drapeau via Montreal's Jacques Cartier Bridge.Courtesy of Les AmiEs du courant Sainte-Marie

Under the organization's proposal, elevator towers would rise out of Place Craig and Parc Jean-Drapeau to meet new belvederes on either side of the bridge. An enlarged 600-metre path with dedicated space for both pedestrians and cyclists would connect the lookout points.

Proposed pedestrian route from Place Craig to Parc Jean-Drapeau via Montreal's Jacques Cartier Bridge.Proposed pedestrian route from Place Craig to Parc Jean-Drapeau via Montreal's Jacques Cartier Bridge.Courtesy of Les AmiEs du courant Sainte-Marie

A video shows how the system would function.

Les AmiEs du courant Sainte-Marie presented the proposal to Montreal's Office de consultation publique on October 12. The timing is opportune: the city is in the early stages of planning a massive overhaul of Parc Jean-Drapeau, which includes improved paths along the riverbank and a recommitment to public universal access to its two islands.

Proposed belvedere on Montreal's Jacques Cartier Bridge.Proposed belvedere on Montreal's Jacques Cartier Bridge.Courtesy of Les AmiEs du courant Sainte-Marie

We'll see if the elevators are a possibility.

Proposed elevator connecting Montreal's Jacques Cartier Bridge to Place Craig.Proposed elevator connecting Montreal's Jacques Cartier Bridge to Place Craig.Courtesy of Les AmiEs du courant Sainte-Marie

Les AmiEs du courant Sainte-Marie is the organization behind other schemes to reconnect Ville-Marie residents with their river, such as plans to create a massive public beach at the Old Port Clocktower and construct an elevated walkway parallel to the water.

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