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New Montreal REM de l'Est Renderings Show What The Light-Rail Network Could Look Like

The renderings aim to address intense criticism of how the aerial network will affect Montreal neighbourhoods.

Senior Editor
View of the Saint Lawrence River and the Jacques Cartier Bridge with the proposed REM de l'Est in the foreground.

View of the Saint Lawrence River and the Jacques Cartier Bridge with the proposed REM de l'Est in the foreground.

Courtesy of CDPQ Infra

New renderings of the proposed Montreal REM de l'Est aim to quell residents' concerns that the light-rail network would become an eyesore and nuisance in the dense neighbourhoods of downtown and East End Montreal.

The renderings emphasize a narrower footprint for the aerial structures, various-shaped pillars and a rounded deck that's meant to resemble the hull of a ship on the Saint Lawrence River.

CDPQ Infra, the REM developer, also highlighted opportunities for new pedestrian thoroughfares, bike corridors, and housing development along the REM de l'Est track.

CDPQ Infra's proposed "Promenade Ren\u00e9-L\u00e9vesque" as part of the REM de l'Est project.CDPQ Infra's proposed "Promenade René-Lévesque" as part of the REM de l'Est project.Courtesy of CDPQ Infra

The project, CDPQ Infra says, would make way for a new 16-kilometre pedestrian route along boulevard René-Lévesque, rue Notre-Dame E. and rue Sherbrooke E. The company has dubbed the path "the Promenade."

In a 31-page presentation shared with MTL Blog, CDPQ Infra attempts to demonstrate extra care for REM de l'Est architecture and especially for the integration of proposed stations in the urban environment.

Saint-Laurent station on the REM de l'Est at the Montreal Chinatown gate.Saint-Laurent station on the REM de l'Est at the Montreal Chinatown gate.Courtesy of CDPQ Infra

For a stop at boulevard Saint-Laurent, developers are calling for "an emblematic and dramatic station that enters into dialogue with the Chinatown arch" alongside a new public square.

REM de l'Est terminus station in downtown Montreal.REM de l'Est terminus station in downtown Montreal.Courtesy of CDPQ Infra

At the downtown terminus, CDPQ Infra is proposing a new "urban lookout" above the point where trains would enter an underground station.

Saint-Jean-Baptiste station on the REM de l'Est.Saint-Jean-Baptiste station on the REM de l'Est.

The company stresses techniques to mitigate the sights and sounds of the REM de l'Est in the quieter, more residential areas of East End Montreal.

A veil around the light-rail tracks, CDPQ Infra says, would dampen noise while blocking views of passing trains and tracks.

Davidson station on the REM de lDavidson station on the REM de l'Est.Courtesy of CDPQ Infra


View of the Saint Lawrence River and the Jacques Cartier Bridge with the proposed REM de l'Est in the foreground.View of the Saint Lawrence River and the Jacques Cartier Bridge with the proposed REM de l'Est in the foreground.Courtesy of CDPQ Infra

Developers also say they would make use of softscaping, such as an "enhanced" tree canopy and mounds in Parc Morgan to mask the aerial structure.

Parc Morgan in winter with the REM de l'Est in the background.Parc Morgan in winter with the REM de l'Est in the background.Courtesy of CDPQ Infra

CDPQ Infra adds that the REM de l'Est could spur development in surrounding areas. The project, it says, has the potential to drive the construction of "70,000 new apartments, homes and offices."

Station Couture on the REM de l'Est.Station Couture on the REM de l'Est.Courtesy of CDPQ Infra

The new CDPQ presentation and renderings also seem to respond to a negative report from the regional transit authority, the ARTM, which said the REM de l'Est could effectively steal ridership from the STM green metro line, which runs roughly parallel to the proposed route for the light-rail network. The ARTM also charged that the REM de l'Est would do little to serve the East End, where, it said, only 12% of trips are to and from the downtown area.

CDPQ countered with the claim that the REM de l'Est would mean about 8,000 fewer cars on the road and "less congestion" on the orange and green lines.

    Thomas MacDonald
    Senior Editor
    Thomas MacDonald is a Senior Editor for MTL Blog focused on Montreal public transit and is based in Montreal, Quebec.
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