The Quebec government is planning to create a network of reserved lanes for public transit and carpooling along highways in the Montreal area.
Transport Minister François Bonnardel and Chantal Rouleau, junior transport minister, unveiled the road network plan dubbed Réseau métropolitain de voies réservées (RMVR) on Wednesday in Montreal.
Bonnardel said it is “too early” to provide the exact costs and dates for the project aimed at reducing traffic, but he hopes to build some of those reserved lanes by 2022.
“I want people to spend less time in their vehicles,” Bonnardel said.
As part of the plan, the government is launching a call for tenders to hire a firm to carry out a study on what is needed for reserved lanes along highways in Laval, Longueuil and other cities.
After a company is selected, it will specifically look at highways 13, 20, 25, 440 and 640 as well as route 116.
“We hope in this study we will find different solutions for different highways,” said Bonnardel.
The province’s goal is to get drivers from the suburbs to stop commuting to work alone in their cars and to instead opt for the bus or carpooling options, he added. This doesn’t mean taking out current driving lanes, but simply adding new ones.
The new network will be in communities on the north and south shores of Montreal, but not in the city itself. The government maintains Montrealers already have good options for public transit, such as buses, trains and metros.
“Two people from the south shore and north shore don’t have this quality of public transit,” said Rouleau.
Traffic expert Rick Leckner says the measures are good, but he wishes they had been announced earlier.
“There is just too many people driving solo,” he said. “And that’s why the roads are so congested.”
— With files from Global News’ Dan Spector