Montreal unveils details of sweeping bike path network

The goal is to bring cyclists of "all levels" to the roads. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante has unveiled her administration’s long-awaited plans for an extensive and ambitious bike path network spanning the city.

The Réseau express vélo (REV), which will eventually include 184 kilometres of bike lanes, was a key election promise from Plante as part of Projet Montréal’s ongoing push for active transport.

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As part of the project, Plante announced on Monday five of 17 axes that will make up the bike network:

  • Lajeunesse, St-Denis and Berri streets between Gouin and de Maisonneuve boulevards.
  • Viger Avenue, St-Antoine and St-Jacques streets between de Courcelle Avenue and Berri Street.
  • Souligny Street between Dickson Street and Hector Avenue.
  • Peel Street between de Maisonneuve and Marché des écluses.
  • Bellechasse Street between St-Laurent Boulevard and Chatelain Street.

Plante described it as the “first step of a network that will be good for mobility, the environment, health and the safety of everyone.”

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“The Réseau Express vélo will facilitate efficient, comfortable and safe travel, but above all, it will be accessible to users of all levels,” she said in a statement. “It will meet the needs of those who are interested in cycling and have not yet adopted this mode of transit.”

Some of the lanes will be separated by greenery or concrete curbs. The five axes are expected to be completed by 2021.

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Vélo Québec welcomed the announcement, but it takes issue with the timeline proposed by the city. The organization says it would like to see a tighter schedule.

“When we see titanic road infrastructure projects such as the new Champlain Bridge or the dismantling of the Bonaventure Expressway, which cost billions in an incredibly short time, we say that a project like the REV should be accompanied by an ambitious schedule in line with the growth of bicycle travel in Montreal,” said CEO and president Suzanne Laureau in a statement.

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The goal of the bike network is to have more than 15 per cent of commuting in Montreal done by bike in the next 10 years.

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