Hours after it reopened to cars Wednesday, workers were still washing away clues that Remembrance Road had been partially closed to through traffic for five months.
The partial ban on that street and Camillien-Houde Way was part of a pilot project to reduce the number of motor vehicles crossing Mount Royal. Public transport and emergency vehicles were exempt.
The city launched the project in June following calls to make the route safer for vulnerable road users after 18-year-old cyclist Clément Ouimet died in October 2017 in a collision with an SUV.
“Camillien-Houde is an accident-prone street,” explained Luc Ferrandez, the City of Montreal executive committee member responsible for large parks, green spaces.
“It had 140 accidents in the last 10 years.”
Now he and other city officials are looking at the results of the pilot project. The good news is there were no accidents and some of the anticipated fears were unfounded, such as concerns that there would be more congestion on surrounding streets during the closure.
“We have facts now saying that it didn’t happen,” says Ferrandez.
Ferrandez claims that new facilities installed to encourage visitors to check out Mount Royal were well used despite the road closure. A temporary café on the mountain welcomed thousands.
Equal accessibility for all?
Hélène Panaïoti of Friends of the Mountain, a group dedicated to protecting the space, said they observed problems with accessibility, especially for people with mobility issues.
“There was a lot of frustration.”
Because there were more pedestrians on the road mixed with cars and cyclists, there was road use conflict, making it even more unsafe in some circumstances.
“The whole purpose of the road was changed in a temporary way,” explained Panaïot.
“Without any permanent infrastructure in order to make road sharing conditions what they should be.”
She says it’s too soon to know if the partial closure should be permanent, but hopes that whatever decision is made will ensure equal accessibility for all.
Public consultations on whether or not to make the ban permanent continue.