Keep the mountain open: Montreal opposition

Click to play video 'Debate continues over what to do with the road that cuts though Mount Royal' Debate continues over what to do with the road that cuts though Mount Royal
WATCH: Montreal opposition councillors presented their own plan to keep Camillien-Houde Way open to cars, cyclists and pedestrians. But as Amanda Jelowicki reports – there are no guarantees the mayor is going to buy into it – Nov 29, 2018

If the opposition at Montreal City Hall has its way, the Camillien-Houde pass on Mount Royal will remain permanently open to motorists.

“We need a vision that will unify Montrealers, not one that divides Montrealers,” said opposition leader Lionel Perez. “We have to be ambitious with the future of Mount Royal.”

READ MORE: Camillien-Houde reopens to traffic — for now

The opposition is presenting its ambitious plan for the future of Mount Royal on Thursday night to the city’s public consultation office.

The Plante administration stopped all automobile traffic between Camillien-Houde and Remembrance Road for months this summer, and the opposition says it never addressed fundamental safety issues.

It said its plan will make the mountain accessible to all Montrealers — including drivers — but will also make the mountain safer.

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The plan recommends:

  • Reducing the speed limit to 30 km/hr from 40 km/hr
  • Enforcing speed limits with photo radar, speed bumps and speed displays
  • Constructing an elevated and brightly coloured bike path
  • Building a wooden boardwalk solely for pedestrians
  • Making the narrowest area of the road into a single lane with alternating traffic lights

READ MORE: Partial closure of Camillien-Houde kicked off in June 2018

The five-month pilot project that saw the mountain shortcut closed at the end of October. While the city called it a success, the opposition says it created bitterness and anger, and saw many Montrealers crossing the mountain anyway.

“Confusion was at its highest levels,” said Ensemble Montreal Coun. Francesco Miele. “Close to 600 people were fined. Illegal maneuvers were counted by the hundreds.”

“A lot of cyclists were expecting a lot less cars and it created a lot of close calls,” Perez said.

While motorists may applaud the plan, the province’s largest cycling group does not.

Velo Quebec wants to see the mountain pass permanently closed to cars.

“It’s a park and we believe that a park is for leisure activities and open-air activities and not for driving through,” said Velo Quebec’s Magali Bebronne.

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As for Projet Montreal, the party has said it will decide this winter whether it will permanently close the shortcut over the mountain to car traffic.