Richard Bergeron really wants Viger Square to get a face lift. The Ville-Marie city councilor and Projet Montreal leader spoke at length of his plan to revitalize the area, as reported by Journal Métro.
Remodeling will be focused on the area between Sanguinet and Hotel de Ville, and is set to be completed by 2017, for Montreal's 375th anniversary. Add this to the long list of projectsalreadyset for Montreal's much-anticipated birthday.
Montreal's Mayor Denis Coderre is also on board, offering full support to Bergeron's plans.
As it stands now, Viger Square is mess of concrete that the Ville-Marie expressway cuts through underground.
To make Viger Square more hospitable to the many Montrealers who work/live near the complex, or just happen to be walking through, Bergeron plans to reduce the amount of concrete present and create more open spaces, much like what was done for the other end of Viger Square for the Outgames in 2006.
Bergeron's construction plan still needs to be approved by Quebec's's Ministry of Transport. Specific details on the project will likely come after the MTQ's analysis and approval.
Does Viger Square need a face lift?
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Montreal is certainly no stranger to a traffic jam, which makes taking public transit a more viable option to not only get around faster but do more good for the environment.
As Canadian cities take the initiative to improve their transit systems and reduce their carbon footprints, Montreal has become one of the country's greenest metropolitan areas when it comes to transport, according to one ranking.
A December report from Kijiji Autos analyzed green transport options in Canada's most populated cities, evaluating their use of electric cars, bikes, scooters, and the number of electric charging stations.
With its metro and bus systems, BIXI rentals, bike lanes, and availability of electric cars, Montreal found itself in third place among Canadian cities that offer the greenest transport with a score of 5.5/10.
Although Vancouver and Ottawa/Gatineau snagged the top two spots, Montreal takes the lead as the most bicycle-friendly city in all of North America, with a total of 2,163 bicycle paths, says the Copenhagenize Index.
Montreal's third-place ranking is encouraging news, said McGill University Assistant Professor of Geography, Grant McKenzie, who specifically boasted about Montreal's metro system, "especially compared to other Canadian cities," as well as its "substantial investment towards electric buses."
While McKenzie said "we can always do better" and bemoaned the city's ban on e-scooters, he called the popularity of the BIXI and the inclusion of electric bikes in its fleet an "excellent move in the right direction."
As for electric cars, Kijiji Autos looked at new registrations of electric vehicles in the first quarter of 2021, as well as total charging stations. Montreal landed second to Toronto with a total of 3,633 new registered electric cars, and 1,258 electric charging stations throughout the city.
Kijiji Autos also looked at the number of hybrids and electric vehicles for sale on their platform. Montreal led the way with 1,063 hybrid vehicles and 375 electric vehicles, states the report.
With the province of Quebec offering residents a rebate for the purchase or lease of electric cars, Quebec estimates that there will be 1.5 million electric vehicles on the road by 2030.
Oops, he did it again. Denis Coderre announced that he will be quitting politics at a short press conference at his campaign headquarters on Friday afternoon.
"I'm quitting political life and I will not be head of the opposition," said Coderre.
The former and would-be mayor ran his campaign with plenty of promises, a lot of bravado, some flip-flops and a scandal peppered in for good measure.
In the last days of the campaign, Coderre was dogged by accusations about his lack of transparency over his past income. He never seemed to recover after that, progressively (regressively?) losing ground to Valérie Plante's Projet Montréal in polls leading up to Election Day.
In the mayoral vote, Coderre only attained 37.97% of the vote share and his Ensemble Montréal party was swept in many key boroughs by Projet Montréal.
In his 2017 campaign, Coderre also lost by a significant margin to Plante. He quit politics then, as well.
Today, Coderre was less than effusive about his future plans. "I'm going to do other things," he explained.
"Forty years in public life, 12 electoral campaigns, about 16 years in Ottawa... as mayor I contributed to the renaissance of Montreal after past corruption as you'll remember [...] I'm very proud of my team."
Despite being the official opposition at city hall, Ensemble Montréal is now left without a leader. Former party leader Lionel Perez also lost his seat in NDG and there's no clear succession path at the moment.
"Montreal is not a village, it's a large city with vibrant neighbourhoods [...] I love it with all my heart," said Coderre.
"We're looking towards the future and I'm very proud of what I was able to accomplish this past year."
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
The results are in and Montreal has decided who the mayor will be for the next four years. Like it or not, Valérie Plante is here to stay and like her first run as mayor, she has big plans for the future of our metropolis.
Here's some of the major things Plante promised to do if she were re-elected.
Ce deuxi\u00e8me mandat, je l\u2019accueille avec la plus grande fiert\u00e9 du monde, et avec une humilit\u00e9 sinc\u00e8re.\n\nMerci Montr\u00e9al #polmtlpic.twitter.com/U6ZKpukoLU
In the first days of her campaign, Mayor Plante promised an "ambitious" project for downtown Montreal that would promote its economic recovery and make it "attractive to workers, businesses, tourists, and Montrealers from all over the island."
The mayor presented a plan to:
"support the Palais des Congrès expansion project, and consequently the covering of a part of the Ville-Marie highway;
"offer free parking downtown on evenings and weekends in December to support our merchants during the holiday season;
"[accelerate] construction sites and [limit] potential nuisances;
"support the redevelopment of large offices into adequate spaces to accommodate [small and medium enterprises] and start-ups;"
make "a $1 billion investment by 2030 to develop beautiful, large public plazas in downtown, redevelop key commercial arteries and create vibrant living environments;"
"green" downtown by planting 500,000 trees in four years;
and "facilitate the transformation of vacant office space into housing."
Downtown will also be getting a new all-seasons public square called the Esplanade Tranquille. In the winter, the square will transform into a giant skating rink.
Affordable Housing & Rent
In her official party platform, Plante promised to promote the creation of 60,000 social affordable housing units and move to install a "fair taxation" policy to prevent real-estate speculation and flipping. In August, Plante unveiled plans to "stimulate" the creation of 2,000 affordable student units in Montreal.
Perhaps one of the biggest promises she made was to create a "responsible landlord" certification and a rent registry program in Montreal. The city would apply the certification to landlords of buildings with eight units or more.
Plante said it would allow Montreal to "monitor the state of the housing offered in the rental market [...] but also the price of rent."
The mayor plans to implement the registry by the "end of 2022 or the beginning of 2023."
It seems Montreal is a never-ending construction zone and sorry to tell you that probably won't change any time soon.
But it's all for the improvement of the city, according to the administration. First and foremost, Plante promised that no new buildings would be higher than Mount Royal on her watch.
In May, Plante announced that Montreal would invest $1.8 billion over the next 10 years to implement a "green recovery plan," including the creation of a 110-kilometre "green corridor" network between the city's largest parks.
The plan also calls for 500,000 more trees in the city by 2030, a new "nature centre" in the East End and enhancements to Mount Royal.
Finally, one of the biggest projects proposed by Plante is the partial coverage of the Décarie Expressway between rues Jean-Talon and des Jockeys. This mayor aims to "decongest" a stretch of the Décarie that's an absolute traffic nightmare "in order to have a huge place for pedestrians and cyclists" that need to use Namur metro station, according to the mayor.
In August, Plante unveiled an investment strategy for electrifying Montreal. With an $885 million dollar investment, the plan will "prioritize measures that promote the increase and diversification of the supply of sustainable, integrated, affordable and accessible transport."
This includes the creation of more than 1,000 new electric vehicle charging stations, the further electrification of the STM's bus fleet, and 2,100 more electric BIXI bikes.
Additionally, Projet Montréal's 2021 platform calls for the creation of a "zero carbon emition zone in the city centre" by 2030.
Bill 96 & The Language Debate
As a supporter of Bill 96, Plante maintains that Montreal will remain a "francophone metropolis" with the promotion of the French language at the core of its values.
With a 24-point action plan in hand and a new French-language watchdog in former PQ minister Louise Harel, the city will make "a coherent commitment to promoting the French language, while preserving the cultural and linguistic rights of the English-speaking community and Indigenous nations," according to the mayor.
Plante has asked the government to keep the 311 service bilingual, however.
While the Montreal mayor made headlines with her historic second mandate, it was an unfortunate — and extremely relatable — snapshot of her husband, Pierre-Antoine Harvey, that caught the attention of at least a few members of the Twitterverse.
As Harvey joined Plante onstage and waved to the crowd, a barely-perceptible flash of green and white appeared to be hanging from the inner seam of his left blazer sleeve.
Upon closer inspection of the Montreal first gentleman's armpit, it appears he left the pricetag on his election night blazer.
Le chum de @Val_Plante qui fait une p\u2019tite pub gratuite \u00e0 @simons au passage \n#polmtlpic.twitter.com/wZpUKoGtjl
— Maxime Larochelle (@Maxime Larochelle)
One highly-circulated tweet identified the tag as the mark of Quebec-based retailer Simons. However, MTL Blog was not able to confirm the origin of the blue sport coat.
In any case, the charming moment of human error offered a rare, tantalizing glimpse into Harvey's character. The imagination runs wild with backstory possibilities.
Did he forget to remove the tag after some last-minute shopping? Did he indulge a pesky penchant for penny pinching and count down the seconds until he could whisk his indulgent purchase back to the Simons returns desk? Or did he leave the tag as an Easter egg for eager bloggers?
MTL Blog reached out to Projet Montréal to get to the bottom of the mystery, but oddly, this pressing issue does not seem to be a priority for the governing party.