If you were excited by the prospect of heated sidewalks on Sainte Catherine Street in downtown Montreal, then you’re probably going to be let down. The Plante administration is giving a soft no on the innovative addition to the retail strip.
"I don't think we'll go this way," said Luc Ferrandez to CBC, the mayor of Plateau-Mont-Royal and the lead at City Hall on large construction projects.
The Ste-Catherine revitalization project began yesterday, with 2.2km of the street (from Atwater to Bleury) being torn up to perform important work on the underground sewer system and add a slew of new features to the strip.
In the initial plan for the project, created under the Coderre administration, the reconstruction of St-Catherine was to include heated sidewalks and a transportable tunnel.
But with Mayor Valérie Plante and her team taking over the reigns of the Ste-Catherine Street reconstruction project, such pricey pieces of innovation will likely not be included.
Adding something like heated sidewalks to the project’s (already quite large) load of work would take a lot more time and money, Ferrandez explained.
There’s also the concern of not being able to properly control and maintain new pieces of urban technology like heated sidewalks.
"When we do innovation like this I think we should focus on smaller projects and make sure we control the technology before we expand it,” Ferrandez told CBC.
Heated sidewalks at Old Montreal’s Vauquelin Square, which have been plagued with technical issues, is also acting as a deterrent.
It’s worth nothing, however, that Ste-Catherine Street will be upgraded in many other ways. Wider sidewalks, more seating areas, intelligent lighting, and electric vehicle charging stations are all set to be included in the reconstruction project.
Free WiFi is still planned, too.
Construction work on Ste-Catherine Street is expected to be completed sometime in 2019.