Federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities François-Philippe Champagne announced Friday morning that the new Samuel de Champlain Bridge will feature a year-round bicycle path.
“Adding a bike path was one of the items that was very close to my heart, and I know that cyclists have been wanting that for many many months and now we’re delivering for them,” the minister said.
“It’s very important to provide a safe way to cross St-Laurent River,” said Suzanne Lareau, the head of Velo Quebec.
The news came in light of Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante’s recent announcement about a new bike network for the city.
“This is exactly what we’re looking for — everything that supports all kinds of mobility,” says Plante.
Lareau says year-round bicycle paths are essential because of cycling’s increase in popularity cycling is becoming the new transportation standard.
“These kinds of cyclists grow every year,” says Lareau.
This will be Montreal’s first bike path open throughout the year, and Champagne insists that cyclists will feel safe riding across the bridge.
“Obviously, my first priority is the health and safety of the users. It needs to be a bike path for all,” Champagne said.
Many cyclists are excited by this new feature — some say it might even push tourism in the South Shore.
“It might encourage people who wouldn’t normally use their bicycle in the winter or the fall to go there and to see the sites,” said Jean-Francois Rivet.
The bicycle path is set to open in four months and will also be accessible to pedestrians.
The new bridge will be officially open to traffic this Monday.