Tag Archives: Montréal Infrastructure

A Sensible Approach to Redeveloping Griffintown

Let me make myself perfectly clear; being in favour of enhanced local government involvement in residential and commercial planning is not, in any way shape or form, anti-business. Nor is it necessarily going to lead to nepotism or otherwise create a conflict of interest. I need to stress this as a necessity, because we may otherwise spoil a golden opportunity to breathe new life into a dormant sector of the city by being fearful of the appearance of collusion. The city, by necessity, must be intimately involved in all manner of urban zoning planning – leaving it up to developers uniquely is simply irresponsible. The role of the city is to plan the necessary constraints placed on development and provide the requisite infrastructure to secure long-term growth and socio-economic stability within its boundaries. It is the private sector’s responsibility to adhere to these constraints and deliver a bankable product, on time and under budget, to their investors. A key issue to consider is this however; who are the investors? With regards to residential development projects, especially those of the size and calibre to potentially stimulate the rebirth of an entire residential zone, it is not merely the banks and the development company; all citizens who pay taxes to the municipal government are also paying for the city’s involvement in urban redevelopment, such as by rehabilitating old sewer systems, re-paving roads, building parks etc. Thus, in an indirect though significant fashion, the citizens are also investors, and their interests ought to considered as though the citizens are the financial backers of the city, in the same fashion that the banks and investment firms back the contractors, speculators and developers.

The plans to redevelop Griffintown caused a considerable uproar a few years back amongst citizens inclined towards a certain preferred urbanism. Indeed, the Devimco plan was seen as an uninspired condo-tropolis reminiscent of recent construction in Toronto or Vancouver and, though the project was officially put on hiatus as a result of the global economic meltdown, one can’t deny it was also very poorly received. Smaller projects have been implemented instead, and large-scale planning for the area doesn’t seem to have much if any involvement from the City. Perhaps it’s just hard to gauge, but the Montréal2025 plan, the Devimco plan, the scaled-back Devimco plan and the Canada Lands Corporation plan (along with a proposed Cité-du-Havre redevelopment scheme) all seem to be little more than ideas, proposals. Perhaps they are in accordance with a master plan somewhere in the city’s planning department, but publicly, it doesn’t seem that the Tremblay administration is making much headway. I can only wonder why Griffintown’s redevelopment isn’t the focal point of a major campaign on the part of the City to win the confidence of the tax-payers and potential investors, though I think it may have something to do with the number of strategic partners involved and the fluidity of Griffintown’s potential borders.

The region bounded by Highways 720, 20 and 10 looks like a backwards comma and is referred to as the Sud-Ouest. It includes the communities of Griffintown, Little Burgundy, St-Henri, Lower Westmount, Village des Tanneries, Pointe-St-Charles and the former Goose Village. Given the City’s plan to demolish the Bonaventure viaduct, this region will soon include the Cité-du-Havre, the Faubourg-des-Récollets and the proposed Quartier Bonaventure as well. The Sud-Ouest borough also counts the neighbourhoods of Cote-St-Paul and Ville-Emard further West and has a total population of about 70,000 people. This region is served by about a dozen Métro stations either within the boundary or on its periphery and has been going through a partial gentrification for about fifteen years. It is extremely convenient to live in this sector, apartments are generally quite affordable and you are in the immediately vicinity of the Central Business District. New construction is taking place and the borough has already established itself as an up-and-coming alternative to the Plateau. It’s hip and chic to live here. So why aren’t we planning for the area as a whole?

I can imagine it’s in all of our best interests to attempt increasing the residential population in this area – perhaps by significant margin given the availability of open, largely under-used land. But if this is to be the case, we must further ensure an appropriate mix of incomes and living arrangements. For one, there are a great deal of heritage properties which must be protected. An excellent way to go about this is to have the City acquire said properties and keep them rent-controlled. Other initiatives should include mandatory construction of rent-subsidized apartments and middle-income condo/apartments in all new large-scale residential development projects. Further, the city will have to construct new schools and rehabilitate old civic properties to support the new population increase (as an example, the area in question has old community centres, churches, fire stations, schools etc, many of which could be renovated and re-used), while further investing in a massive, sector-wide city beautification project. For too long it seems as though the City has focused uniquely on beautifying areas within the sector that have received significant private investment – this has given the area a very uneven look. Finally, new small-business initiatives would have to created (and backed by the City) to foster a stable local economic foundation. We can accomplish all of this, but it will require greater City involvement and a bird’s eye perspective. If the population could be doubled in this sector and a new Plateau result, it’s worth the investment. The City should use the opportunity to create a massive new residential zone built according to the interests of the citizens and our urban planning experts.

Ten Attractions and Services we Bafflingly do not have in Montréal { part 1 }

This was originally going to be a list of ten items but I realized it was going to be an immense article. So I cut it in half and will finish it in part 2, due out shortly. I think it’s in our interest to keep these items in mind for our 375th anniversary, because frankly I’m starting to wonder just how we’re getting by without them. I can only hope this list serves as an astounding reminder of that which our metropolis is sorely missing.

1. Street vendors – I’ve complained about this many times before, and indeed, I do think it’s ridiculous for a city such as ours to have the kinds of restrictions we have vis-a-vis ultra-small scale business ventures. Especially in tough economic times such as these, the citizenry should have numerous options to sustain themselves through small-scale enterprise. Thus, we should relax restrictions so as to permit food vendors, newspaper kiosks with limited dépanneur services, busking and artisanal vendors within certain recognized public areas. Ideally, a network of city-owned kiosks, such as our Camilliennes, would be managed and rented to prospective entrepreneurs. Furthermore, free public markets akin to St. Mark’s Square in New York City should be integrated into urban residential areas. We are not completely without vendors in this city, nor we completely lacking in the necessary infrastructure. It’s just that we’re still too restrictive in an area of macro-economics that requires an open and competitive market. Let’s crack this nut wide open. In addition to providing numerous city and entrepreneurial jobs, such an initiative has the added advantage of ensuring our street corners and public places are peopled in part by individuals who have an interest in maintaining the security and safety of said place. It adds a lot of alert eyes and ears to our urban environment and can be used to increase security in the urban environment in a non-invasive fashion.

2. Public washrooms – a no-brainer as far as I’m concerned. Our city is unfortunately battered periodically by knock-out blasts of shit, piss and puke. While the smell of manure tends to be seasonal (i.e. – any time large-scale field fertilizing takes place anywhere in the St. Lawrence agricultural basin), the piss and vomit affront to your olfactory sensibilities is largely the result of the fact that we have too few public washrooms in this city. Frankly, if you don’t want homeless people shitting and pissing in the Métro tunnels and are tired of having to negotiate using washrooms at fast food restaurants and gas stations, then we need the city to propose a proper solution. Public washrooms, whether in the form of full service rest stations or stand-alone ‘pissoires’ are a vital necessity in any metropolis. For one its convenient, helpful and can even be turned into a small-scale business opportunity. Second, it allows the homeless to retain some dignity by offering them a valuable and necessary service they all too often have to fight for. And while in the past public washrooms were a public nuisance, replete with old drunks and various debaucheries, today we can use design and technology to mitigate this problem. In some cases it could be as simple as posting an attendant to ensure public rest facilities are kept clean and safe for all to use. And whatever the cost, it will pay for itself in that we’ll all benefit from a cleaner, more sanitary and human city.

3. Ferry service – in case you haven’t realized, Montréal is an island, the largest in fact in an archipelago at the confluence of the Outaouais and St. Lawrence rivers. It’s densely populated central business district and urban core is wedged in along the St. Lawrence and the eastern side of Mount Royal, adjacent to the sprawling Port of Montréal. And yet, for a city with a long and proud seafaring history, we are completely lacking in ferry service. If you consider all the communities along the St. Lawrence, Lac-St-Louis and Lac des Deux Montagnes, you quickly realize there is an exceptionally large population within the metropolitan region that can be accessed by using our local waterways. With almost a million people living on the South Shore and four overloaded bridges, I wonder why no one has yet considered developing ferry services for commuters? Service to communities to the West of the Jacques-Cartier Bridge would require terminals to be constructed either on the outside of the Seaway or with modifications to the Seaway, but either way, ferries offer considerable advantages to commuters. Among others, ferries can transport large quantities of people (not to mention vehicles) quickly across open waterways and deliver them right into the heart of the city. They’re arguably more efficient than trains and could open up the commuter zone to many distant communities, not to mention leave a smaller carbon footprint than a high-capacity bridge or tunnel.

4. A pedestrian deck on the Jacques-Cartier Bridge – this is a no-brainer. Simply put there’s no nice way to walk across the St. Lawrence, and while the Jacques-Cartier Bridge has both a pedestrian walkway and a bicycle lane, it’s hardly a nice walk. Traffic is deafening, the pathway is narrow and caged in (giving the impression of a very narrow prison yard) and the fact is the walkway seems bolted on and not terribly sturdy. It’s a doable walk for the adventurous, but not exactly ideal for tourists, families, the elderly or handicapped. Building an overhead deck would provide an excellent solution to this problem, and make the Jacques-Cartier Bridge a tourist attraction in its own right, akin to the Brooklyn Bridge. A renovation of the Art Deco support structure on Ile-Ste-Helene could allow for the provision of services and shops, while the upper deck could serve artisans and buskers, saving the existing pedestrian walkways for the exclusive use of bicycles. Moreover, a pedestrian deck would allow the crossing to remain open to motor vehicles when it would otherwise be closed for spectators watching fireworks displays.

5. A design museum & research institute – back in 2006 Montréal was proclaimed an international city of design by UNESCO, and for good reason too. We are in effect a global powerhouse when it comes to design, featuring not only ICOGRADA but some of the very finest design programs offered at any university, let alone the massive advertising, media and fashion sectors of the local economy which employs a great number of designers. It’s clear we take our aesthetics seriously, and we pride ourselves on our excellent architecture and urban planning. Yet at the end of the day, we have no facility to educate the public as to the importance of design, nor do we have an associated research facility to propel innovation in design. As long as this lasts our hold on the UNESCO title remains tenuous and subject to market forces. A design museum and research institute would help secure our status as leaders in design, not to mention provide an attraction geared to a mobile, well-educated and prosperous international audience. If there are tourists we desperately want to attract to our city, it is certainly those with the potential to invest in our city and the connections to propel interest.

Here’s what’s next:

6. A bilingual university
7. An aviation museum
8. A monument to world peace
9. Linear parks
10. A hockey museum & research centre

A few things every Montrealer ought to know about Mirabel International Airport

So I’ve been having a lot of discussions about Mirabel over the last few weeks, thought I’d share some ideas.

1. We still need it. Montréal is a major international tourism destination in addition to being a key port of entry for immigrants and refugees. Our city is growing as is interest in our city, this is undeniable. As we stimulate our development and continue on our path to becoming a truly global city, we will require an airport that can handle a steadily increasing number of passengers. Such an airport will grow, by necessity, to serve a steadily increasing population base and will stimulate industrial development around it. It is for these reasons primarily that Montréal must shift its focus away from Trudeau and back towards Mirabel. Trudeau is at capacity, Mirabel is only one-sixth of its planned size. What else is there to do? Moreover, it would be advantageous to re-purpose Trudeau to handle cargo flights and aircraft manufacturing and maintenance, given the existing concentration of industry and infrastructure adjacent to the airport. Mirabel, by contrast, is located in a rural area with plenty of room to grow. Built away from the city, Mirabel can operate twenty-four hours a day and a purpose-built infrastructure can be implemented so as to make access to the airport efficient and effective across the metropolitan region. Similar infrastructure redevelopment in Dorval is proving exceptionally difficult to implement.

2. The lack of access that led to Mirabel’s demise is either currently being implemented, in use, or otherwise still on the drawing board. Highway 50 from the National Capital Region (population 1.4 million) is about to be completed, I believe, as far as the intersection with Highway 15. The AMT runs trains between Montréal and Mirabel, on a track which can access the Deux-Montagnes Line (and by extension Gare Centrale), in addition to the Parc Intermodal Station. The train station at the airport has already been completed. We’re closer to realizing high-speed rail access to the airport than we realize – the problem is that we’re focusing on the wrong airport. Completing Highway 50 so that it connects with Highway 40 near Repentigny will allow a Northern bypass to mirror the now completed Highway 30 Southern bypass. And what better way to justify the construction of a new South Shore span than by simultaneously completing Highways 13 and 19? This way, the Montréal metropolitan region would be served by four East-West Highways intersected by a similar number of North-South Highways. A ring-road would be created, and Mirabel would finally be able to adequately serve the metro region, providing the catalyst and focal point for new highway development. And that’s just the highways. While the Fed claims high-speed rail is an expensive dream, there’s no denying the very real demand within our own metropolitan region – so let us lead the development by starting on a smaller scale. A bullet train running between the Downtown of Montréal and Mirabel will lead to the creation of a high-speed rail link between Mirabel and Ottawa. Then it will be expanded from Mirabel to Québec City. A train travelling at 120km/hour could run the distance between Ottawa and Mirabel in about an hour. At a slightly higher speed the trip from Mirabel to Downtown Montréal could be made in as little as fifteen minutes. All of this would improve transit and transport throughout the region, and expand our airport market to a considerably larger population, perhaps more than five million people across three borders. Let’s pay for it now so that we may profit from it tomorrow.

3. Low jet-fuel prices and longer-range aircraft made stopping at Mirabel unnecessary in the 1980s and 1990s and gave rise to Pearson Int’l Airport in Toronto as chief Canadian gateway due to the rise of Toronto’s economic prominence and rapid population growth. Today, fuel prices are high and unstable; though aircraft have grown in size considerably, so Mirabel may once again be in position to wrestle away the title of Eastern Gateway from Toronto. This is the kind of economic competition our State requires, and perhaps Toronto may be better off re-focusing it’s efforts on trans-hemispheric travel. Who knows? I’d just like to see what would happen if we pushed ahead with Mirabel to take business away from Pearson. It’s what capitalism is all about right? Better public transit access to strategically situated airports able to adapt to new technologies will define the gateways of tomorrow, and for this reason Mirabel is superior to Pearson in many respects. Let’s see what the free market has to say about it. Again, Pearson, though large, is nearing capacity and constrained from large-scale growth by what has already grown up beside it. And we can’t grow unless we have the infrastructure to allow for growth. So whereas the citizens of Toronto may one day have to plan an entirely new airport even further away from the city centre, all we have to do re-connect our airport to our metropolitan ‘circulatory system’. The advantage will soon be ours.

4. Mirabel wasn’t designed to fail – we let it fail. Fixing it is still a possibility, but we need to act quickly so we can save what’s already been built. We don’t want to have to start from scratch at some point in the future because we lacked foresight today – that’s criminally negligent economic policy. We spent a lot of money in the past and haven’t seen a decent return on our investment. So, invest anew – but invest in fixing the problem, once and for all. Whatever the initial cost, it cannot compare to the potential return a fully operational Mirabel would provide in terms of direct revenue and indirect economic stimulus. There are no mistakes, just innovative solutions. If we were really smart, we’d recognize that planned regional transit and transport projects can be brought together under a larger plan to provide the access necessary to make Mirabel a viable solution to our airport problem. Ultimately, it’s all inter-related and could stimulate key sectors of our local economy.

We were once a daring and imaginative people, we had bold ideas and planned on a grand scale. Somewhere along the way we became convinced we were no longer capable of performing at the same level, and settled into a holding pattern of society-wide malaise. Today we are restless, and we are daring to ask how we came to be, and where our former power came from. Of late, it seems that we’ve regained our swagger, our attitude. So let us push those in power to dream big once more, and push for the long-term, multi-generational city-building we were once so good at. We have it in our blood, but our pride is still damaged. Let us regain our spirit by turning our past failures into tomorrow’s successes.

The Mountain Street Viaduct

Weird eh? A road passing over the roof of the old CN stockyards in Little Burgundy. This is the former Mountain Street Viaduct, and it, much like just about everything else in this picture, is now gone (save for the row of old buildings along Notre-Dame, which are fortunately part of a rejuvenated community, not to mention the Nordelic Building towards the top-right corner).

Two things come to mind when looking at this picture.

First, look at the overlapping infrastructure – here, where residential zoning is typically rental properties above street-level commercial units amidst light and medium sized industrial operations, which at this time largely employed local residents. Industry is fed by the ‘arterial and circulatory systems’ of the modern industrial city – road, rail and canal interact, overlap and connect. They move bulk freight and cargo at different intervals, speeds, quantities etc, and all of this can happen with workers who live within walking distance of their employer. This means that heavy industrial transport can happen efficiently (using canal and rail systems, and thus without the need of trucks) and workers don’t require a car to get to and from work. It’s convenient, though at the time and largely because of the proximity to industry, this area was largely viewed to be a slum. Today it’s a home to many massive condo projects. Sometimes I wonder whether there is still a place for this kind of mixed-use quarter in the modern city, and if in the future we might not require a similar relationship between this specific kind of zoning and heavy transport infrastructure.

Second – why aren’t all elevated highways designed to be placed on top of buildings? Or why aren’t buildings (like factories, warehouses, parking garages, strip-malls etc) placed under highways? We’ve developed the techniques and technologies to mitigate damage through friction, vibrations etc, not to mention cut back on the effects of sound infiltration. Otherwise, elevated highways are dark, noisy, dirty barriers that cut-up neighbourhoods and place unnecessary and unnatural barriers between various parts of the metropolis. Let’s re-enforce the elevated highways by placing new structures beneath them. Otherwise it really is poorly used space – we need to be more efficient, wiser, when it comes to how we design key pieces of infrastructure.

Anyways, just a thought.

You can also see Rockhead’s Paradise towards the bottom right of the picture.

Is it time to create West Island transit authority?

So I just saw this post from the West Island Gazette concerning the problems commuters can expect what with the commencement of major renovations to the Turcot Interchange next year. Apparently, the MTQ will allow an eastbound lane on highway 20 to be used exclusively by buses, which will certainly be a benefit to West Island commuters. However, there is also a proposal to cut back on one lane on St. John’s Boulevard so that it can be used exclusively for buses; this will no doubt add to the gridlock experienced by West Island motorists on its North-South Axes. The illustration above is a proposed roadway designed to serve as a new North-South axis connecting highways 20 and 40 in addition to Gouin and Pierrefonds boulevards, on the western edge of residential expansion on the West Island. Doubtless, construction of a large suburban boulevard would certainly lead to additional development further West, on effectively what is one of the few large open tracts of raw Montréal wilderness left on island. I can imagine the land between this proposed road and the Anse-a-l’Orme Trail could see a rapid and degenerative transformation within a few years unless certain protective practises were adopted, such as those observed in the United Kingdom with respect to the established green belts. In spite of this danger, this new roadway would at the very least help minimize congestion in the West Island. And if I’m not mistaken, this seems to be the same location for the once proposed highway 40 to highway 440 link, a project which has been dormant since about 1977. See more about that here.

This plan would see a major highway built to run from the 40 up along the Timberley Trail, across Ile Bizard (effectively bisecting the island) towards Ile Bigras and then through Laval-des-Rapides to join Highway 440. Now while I’m generally not in favour of new highway construction, if we were to go forward, developing with ecological and economic sustainability in mind, we can built efficient roadways and integrate public transit systems as well. The biggest issue for me is that Montréal is missing key links to create an effective ‘ring-road’ system, and this route could alleviate congestion on highways 40 and 440, not to mention the other North-South axes serving the West Island. With an southern extension, it could intersect with Highway 20 as well, which would be even more efficient.

That said, planning highways through residential zones with ecosystems that need to be preserved presents additional complications which need to be taken into consideration. As an example, given the experience with the previous pedestrian crossing at Woodlawn and Highway 20, we know that highway traffic needs to be isolated from residential traffic, and so such a project would necessitate a service road, underpasses and overpasses, not to mention a couple of bridges as well. We also know that building an elevated highway is problematic, and not only because they’re eyesores that can negatively impact land values on either side. Moreover, additional new residential boulevards will be required to help with alleviate congestion on the three current principle arteries. As an example, Jacques-Bizard/ Sommerset should be extended to connect Gouin, de Salaberry, Brunswick and Pierrefonds Blvds with Highway 40 while Antoine-Faucon should be developed into a boulevard in its own right, to connect with the Anse-a-l’Orme trail.

Planning with this in mind would be made easier if the West Island communities consolidated their efforts into a single collaborative transit and transportation authority designed to administer road and highway development, public transit and transportation infrastructure. Imagine a West Island version of the STM, STL or RTL, with the added responsibilities of planning and executing the construction of new roadways (with public transit in mind). West Islanders need to plan for roadway construction with new development in mind, but this shouldn’t preclude us from integrating ecologically sustainable public transit systems into our new roadways. No matter which way you cut it, we need to be masters of our domain, and can no longer depend on others to solve our planning and transit problems. A West Island transit authority could do just this.

Depending on how you define the West Island, it’s population ranges from 225 to 300 thousand people and there is plenty of room to grow. It’s largely flat with long, wide boulevards and streets and there is a considerable amount of daily internal movement, making public transit a necessity both within West Island and between the West Island and the City of Montréal. Furthermore, West Island residents commute in large numbers; the two most used AMT commuter train lines both serve the West Island. Despite the generally good public transit coverage offered by the AMT and STM, many West Island residents feel public transit options are limited and roadways are as overly congested as the express buses and trains running between the city and suburbs. With all the new highway work projected over the next few years, residents have a pressing reason to unite and begin developing sources of revenue to build new roads, highways and public transit alternatives. Simply put we need our own lobby and leverage group, and taking on this responsibility will, at the very least, allow us to develop a system appropriate to our own needs.

Consider the following:

A) West Island residents have a legitimate reason to ask for a Métro connection to the West Island, ideally to Fairview along the Highway 40 corridor. Whether this comes to be as a new line or an extension to an existing line (such as the Blue Line, which could pass through Airport on the way to St. John’s Blvd), we have a large enough population to make good use of it, and this in turn would cut down on commuters using their cars or the multiple existing express bus lines. That said, unless the West Island municipalities are willing to develop a significant portion of the construction capital by themselves, the STM will have to focus on its chief customers; that is to say, the residents of the City of Montréal. A unified West Island transit authority would be in a better position to administer such a large project, and the transfer of public transit responsibilities to the new body may in turn liberate additional funds from the STM to help in the development of a new Métro line. But we need to be able to stand on our own two feet.

B) The West Island’s geography and urban planning have produced a large area defined by its flat topography and wide streets – ideally suited for a large surface tram or trolleybus network. Two dozen lines could cover all the principle North-South & East-West axes, in addition to express lines running along the highway service roads and a ring-route using Lakeshore, Beaconsfield, Senneville, Gouin and des Sources boulevards. Such a system would mean the STM and AMT could move away from using express buses given that the trams would connect to major transit junctions, such as the Dorval Circle area, Cote-Vertu Métro station, Bois-Franc station etc. The STM could then re-focus its West Island operations away from the major thoroughfares and instead better serve the vast expanses of suburbia. Trams have the advantage of carrying more passengers than regular buses and are quieter, more efficient and could more effectively shuttle West Island commuters into the higher capacity systems, such as the Métro and AMT commuter trains.

Either way – just like Laval and Longueuil, the West Island has particular transit and transportation needs, and we should form a collaborative organization to support the sound development of a better local system. We should do this not out of frustration but because we need to take responsibility for our own development, and such a large enterprise gives us real economic power, not to mention potential political leverage. We should do this ultimately to help empower ourselves, and potentially improve public transit throughout the region as a result of our inspired leadership.

This is something that we can accomplish and it would be a great credit to our community. We’re only going to get bigger, so we can’t rely on outside agencies and land speculators to dictate development any more. The West Island needs to recognize it is a viable community now, with a history and a culture all its own. We aren’t merely a local Levittown, a random collection of houses built according to market directives, and so we need to start thinking bigger, and thinking more precisely about what we can achieve and build for ourselves, together. We may be inclined at some point in the future to unite the independent communities of the West Island into a single urban agglomeration to best represent our needs and desires on a larger scale. Frankly, I think it’s inevitable that this will happen. Building our own transit agency is a good stepping stone to realizing this goal, not to mention a strong foundation on which to base it. And if we were to embark on such a plan, there’s no doubt in mind we can conspire to make public transit the preferred method of getting around the West Island and for commuting into the city. It would help stimulate our economy and ultimately lead to better living and healthier lifestyles. These are but a few reasons, I’ll elucidate the rest later on.

Update: Three Competing Métro Proposals

Neither of these are of my own design; judge for yourselves:

I found this one a while back, seems like an interesting idea. It incorporates three rapid-bus systems plus a Parc Avenue light rail system, with a considerably larger Métro system in general, though with considerable focus on the higher-density regions closer to the downtown core.

The following proposal for system improvement doesn’t involve any non-Métro systems, but has considerably more lines and stations. Also notice how all three airports are connected, and how the downtown would be connected by four parallel East-West lines and seems to indicate a type of network-sharing system where multiple lines would use the same track. Further, consider the number of junction stations:

I also like this proposal because it very clearly allows access to all four corners of the Metropolitan region. Keep it in mind Рthis system is nothing more than a dream, though its always encouraging to see random people envisioning their ideal M̩tro system. If only our elected officials would get the picture and pursue a more ambitious expansion program. Imagine what could be if we were building at a rate of 26 stations every 4 years. We did it without blinking between 1962 and 1966.

October 27th update:

Another find!

Looking at this plan I can’t help but remark on the similarities in the three designs, as it seems to have borrowed from each in addition to the current MTQ plan and elements of very early designs. Among other things, closing the Orange Line loop, extending further into Laval and Longueuil, following bridges and highways, extending the Blue Line East to Anjou, connecting Ile des Soeurs and additional East-West lines to cover the downtown and a Pie-IX line are all featured in these three designs. The first plan is highly reserved and realistic whereas the second is bold (though less accurate than the others), and the third seems constrained by the dimensions of a Métro map poster. That said – check out that Brown Line – it goes everywhere! What a great idea, a ‘sight-seer’ Métro line running from Brossard through the CBD and onto the airport. I also like the idea, oft repeated, of having additional multi-line hubs East of Berri-UQAM, such as at the Olympic Stadium, and of course the second plan’s design to link all the airports with the urban core. What’s striking is that it doesn’t seem to me like any official plan would even consider the possibility of building entirely new lines and hubs; these plans are realistic given that by 2012-2013, the metropolitan population is going to reach 4 million, and the citizens will no longer be able to rely on their cars to get around the metropolitan region. Public transit will require a massive investment in order for large cities to remain operationally competitive, we just cannot afford the same carbon footprint in the future. Thus, it makes sense to begin a massive development project and wildly expand the Métro, as soon as possible. Any of these designs are feasible as long as we demand it, but we must demonstrate clearly and effectively that we will not stand for anything less than the world’s finest Métro system. It is our responsibility, it is our heritage and a credit to our high-tech industries, but it must be kept at a perpetual ‘state-of-the-art’ status if we’re to make any money off it. The citizens need better than what is currently provided and Métro development needs to become a principle priority for the Mayor. If we were as motivated to build a Métro system today as we were fifty years ago, we could attain total metropolitan coverage within forty years, maybe sooner. That kind of long term steady investment is exactly what we need to keep our economy stable and create real, insurable employment. Public works and infrastructure projects worked in the States with the New Deal, so there’s no reason why we can’t do the same basic thing today on a localized scale. Building a massive new Métro could be money in the bank.