Montreal's Saint-Catherine Street Could Be Transformed Into A Year Round Pedestrian Mall

Photo cred - Christopher DeWolf

A specific stretch of Sainte Catherine street, between Bleury and Atwater, has been the focus of many conversations within Montreal, as the city ponders which of the four proposed projects by Projet Saint Catherine Ouest will best serve the public. La Direction de santé publique (DSP) de Montréal don't agree with any of the 4 plans and believe St. Catherine should be made a full-blown pedestrian zone, with no cars allowed on the downtown street, reports La Presse.

In their comments on the St. Catherine street project, Montreal's public health doctors stated that none of the potential plans improved the downtown area in any significant way. The DSP saw no improvement to air quality, a promotion of physical activity, nor a way to reduce road accidents in any of the plans.

Believing that a proposal should be made to consider the benefits of a fully pedestrianized St. Catherine street, the DSP made their own. Montreal's public health doctors propose that the 2.2km length of St. Catherine should become a pedestrian mall all year round, with only public transit vehicles allowed on the space. Store-owners and vendors would need to schedule their inventory deliveries in the DSP's plan.

The public health group points out that Ville-Marie is the Montreal borough with the highest amount of road injuries, with 4, 000 having occurred in the last 5 years, with dozens injured on every intersection of the stretch of St. Catherine street that is planned to be remodeled. Making the street a pedestrian-only zone would no doubt change that figure for the better.

Creating a St. Catherine street that is solely for pedestrians 365 days of the year may be a little extreme, though we agree that the idea should be considered and compared to the 4 other projects proposed. Maybe we'll find that going no-car on St. Catherine street truly is the best way to go on paper and in practice.

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