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Camillien-Houde Way closure in effect

A map showing the section of Remembrance Road that has been temporarily closed off to most vehicles.  (Global News).
A map showing the section of Remembrance Road that has been temporarily closed off to most vehicles. (Global News).

Monday was the first workday since a five-month pilot project got underway to reduce traffic on Camillien-Houde Way and Remembrance Road to make the route safer.

A section of Remembrance Road between Beaver Lake and Smith House is now closed, stopping most vehicles from crossing Mount Royal, except emergency vehicles, tour buses and public transportation.

READ MORE: Partial closure of Camillien-Houde kicks off

The five-month pilot project was prompted by the death of an 18-year-old cyclist last fall after he struck an SUV making an illegal U-turn on Camilien-Houde Way.

That accident sparked numerous calls to close the street to traffic, and a fierce debate continued for months. But the city acted, arguing that imposing the restriction would make the stretch safer for vulnerable users by reducing cars in the area by more than half.

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“You have to know there are 300 cars per hour during rush hour,” said city spokesperson Philippe Sabourin. “And 90 per cent of [them] during the week use it as transit from east to west and west to east.”

READ MORE: No charges to be laid in collision causing death of Mount Royal cyclist

Opponents argue that stopping through-traffic will only cause congestion on other streets.

But the city says that was not the case Monday morning.

“Normally, the commuters would choose Côte-Sainte-Catherine, chemin Côte-des-Neiges or avenue des Pins,” Sabourin tells Global News, “and actually we double checked this morning, and it was quite easy. It was a normal day on all those three roads.”

He noted by 9 a.m. on Monday, fewer than 30 cars had to turn back because drivers didn’t know about the closure, and he credits the lack of congestion to the city’s information campaign.

The city also says the restriction will help to encourage more visitors to visit the monument instead of using it as a throughway.

The pilot project ends on Oct. 31.