Montreal politicians and commuters, alike, have long imagined solutions to the city's congested roads and crumbling infrastructure.
Those efforts have yielded promises as big as Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante's proposed Pink STM metro line and as mundane as more secure bike lanes. Though, even those bike lanes have caused major unintended problems.
In recent years, the STM and municipal government have decided to invest heavily in public transit to ameliorate congestion in the city. Such investment has included more STM buses and disincentives for cars like reduced parking downtown.
Today, as part of that plan, the city of Montreal has announced what will probably be a wildly controversial scheme: to permanently close two lanes on Sherbrooke Street to cars during rush hours.
Those lanes will be rededicated as exclusive bus routes. The closure, between Ave. Haig and Rue Parthenais, will comprise over eleven kilometres.
Regular traffic will be constricted accordingly.
That could lead to a major headache for commuters, for whom Sherbrooke is a major thoroughfare between the boroughs of Hochelaga, Montreal East, and Downtown.
The new bus lanes will likely lead to a virtuous (or vicious, depending on your perspective) cycle: as car traffic increases, motorists will have more incentive to take advantage of the now-expedited bus routes. That increase in ridership will allow the STM to invest further in transit options.
Overall, this is good news. Though it reamains to be seen just how much time the closure will add to daily commutes by car.
Officials plan to initiate this plan on September 17th. Though, it still needs to be approved by the individual neighbourhoods it will affect.