The number of workers commuting from the outskirts of the greater Montreal area is on the rise as urban sprawl continues, according to data compiled over the past decade by the Montreal Metropolitan Community (MMC).
A study published by the regional authority shows that towns and neighbourhoods outside of the region are continuing to see a population boom.
As a result, about 100,000 commuters from those areas commute daily to Montreal, where many jobs are located. Of them, 94 per cent mostly rely on cars to get to work.
Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said in a social media post that she is worried by the findings outlined in the study and called for a paradigm shift.
“This cannot continue,” she said, adding the regions outside of the city need better public transit options.
The report states that nearly 30 of these municipalities now have a commuting rate to greater Montreal of over 40 per cent, including 10 municipalities whose commuting rate exceeds 50 per cent.
The MMC, which represents 82 municipalities, states that residents commuting to Montreal on a daily basis are largely from the north and south shores.
Kamal Ibrahim, who lives in La Prairie, told Global News he drives in to work every day because he doesn’t save money by taking the train.
“It’s very expensive to buy the tickets,” he said. “It comes up to the same thing so I take my car.”
Rick Leckner, a traffic expert in Montreal, said he wasn’t surprised by the MMC’s findings — but said the urban sprawl continues to bring more single-vehicle cars to traffic-choked streets.
“Clearly, it puts more cars on the road,” he said.
“We still don’t have a terribly efficient system. The REM hopefully will change that and reduce the number of cars on the road.”
The study also notes that the construction of single-family homes is largely responsible for residential development in areas off the island.
Since single-family homes take up a lot of space, the report states it contributes to the enlargement of urban perimeters. The construction also eats away at the amount of green space in the area, according to the MMC.
The greater Montreal area has lost about 7,000 residents per year to its outskirts — with 4,000 headed north of Montreal and 3,000 moved to areas south.
— With files from Global News’ Dan Spector and the Canadian Press