Montreal commuters grapple with REM construction in downtown core
The latest construction project for Montreal’s upcoming light-rail train system (REM) is creating more traffic headaches for commuters downtown after as work begins for the future McGill station.
The commute was slower than usual on de Maisonneuve Boulevard on Monday morning as drivers and cyclists navigated the new work site.
“Well, it’s a bit of an inconvenience,” said cyclist Michael Gamanos.
“I have to use this path every day to get to work.”
The project marks the second phase for the future REM McGill station. Crews are building a pedestrian tunnel that will connect the city’s Metro system to the new station.
As a result, de Maisonneuve Boulevard between Robert-Bourassa Boulevard and McGill College Avenue is reduced to one lane for vehicles and only one side of the street is accessible to pedestrians
“It’s important work for us so next spring will be one of the most important phases of the building of this new station,” said REM spokesperson Jean-Vincent Lacroix.
As a result, cyclists are supposed to use other streets since the bike path is blocked off — but Gamanos says using options like Doctor Penfield Avenue make it impossible for him to get to work on his bike.
“I might have to look for other options,” he said.
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Some Montrealers are still weaving through the traffic on de Maisonneuve on their bikes. Cyclists say that’s because the signs are confusing.
“Yeah they aren’t following the detour signs because they are not very clear right now,” said Mathieu Murphy-Perron. “Once things get clearer and there is a controller on site, things will go a lot better.”
This phase of construction is expected to last until the spring, when the construction of the McGill station is scheduled to start.
“This is one of the more important ones because it’s the excavation of McGill College to work underground to build the future station of the REM,” said Lacroix.
“After that, the work will continue until 2022.”
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