Good news for cyclists and pedestrians in Montreal, Canada

  • Living
  • Thursday, 30 Sep 2021

Montreal's cycling network spans over 800km. Photo: AFP

For years now, the city of Montreal in Canada has been promoting cycling with measures such as upping the number of bicycle paths and providing self-service bicycles.

As part of a recent initiative this summer, several major roads were closed to cars and dedicated entirely to pedestrians and cyclists, 24 hours a day.

Since the beginning of the 21st century, Montreal has set something of an example in terms of encouraging cycling in the city, with a cycle path network spanning over 800km and thousands of self-service bicycles available everywhere.

Over the years, safe routes have been put in place, communities have been formed, and numerous initiatives have encouraged Montreal residents, young and old, to get on their bikes instead of taking their cars, especially for trips within the city limits.

The idea of making certain roads entirely pedestrian came about in 2020 with the Covid-19 pandemic. This summer, 13 major city streets were reserved for pedestrians and cyclists, with cars forbidden to drive or park on them.

These streets have also benefitted from a whole range of improvements to turn them into genuine spaces for public life – spaces that are pleasant to use and safe. This involves measures such as extending sidewalks and terraces, and installing additional benches and playgrounds for children.

On top of that, street art is being promoted, with frescoes painted on the ground and new works of art along the thoroughfares.

The rest of the time, many of these streets are only reserved for pedestrians during the day, but they could soon become so 24 hours a day. This is the case, for example, of a 2km stretch of Mont-Royal Avenue, a famous shopping street in the city.

In Europe, many cities such as Barcelona in Spain, and Bristol in England, have adopted similar policies.

In Paris, reduced traffic in the city centre will be implemented in the second half of 2022 and will cover the whole of the immediate centre of the French capital, which will be closed to most cars. – AFP Relaxnews

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