A Different Turcot Idea

One of the options  Transports Quebec had  on the table with the Turcot Interchange was to simply renovate and strengthen the current interchange. It was estimated that this would cost half of what the current rebuild-it-alltogether plan would cost -  estimation, 1.5 Billion, 6 years work.

I tend to think that renovation is what they should be doing. The current plan assumes that the world will continue to function as it always has, that cars and trucks will come and go, and there will always be young people who will choose to live in the suburbs but will also choose to have a career downtown. It’s as if there is an infinite supply of harmless oil and gasoline to sustain  all possibilities. Many of us know that that dream has never been long term useful and the rest that don’t are beginning to suspect that maybe there is something to all this climate change/peak oil talk.

So they should simply renovate Turcot as part of a 10-15  year transportation plan that will end with Turcot and the Ville Marie Expressway being torn down for good (though I would still like to see some parts of Turcot remain as useful structures). That’s right. No more freeways or interchanges for the city core. The transportation plan could focus on various light rail systems and expanding parking facilities at train stations as well as using the old highways for, among other things, electric bus routes.  We won’t need all that big infrastructure for a dedicated public transportation system.

It may be as soon as 10 years before one will no longer be able to buy a brand new gasoline only automobile in North America. The future is coming towards us faster and faster, perhaps even faster than we are going to be prepared for it. Change is coming. That is the one thing that is absolutely certain. The whole game is going to be different in a generation or two.

It’s time to stop rebuilding the past with soon to be obsolete concepts.

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6 responses to “A Different Turcot Idea

  1. “No more freeways or interchanges for the city core. The transportation plan could focus on various light rail systems and expanding parking facilities at train stations as well as using the old highways for, among other things, electric bus routes. We won’t need all that big infrastructure for a dedicated public transportation system.”

    I was wondering if there’s some sort of transit activist group in Montreal that would push these very ideas (ie opposition to Notre-Dame project, etc etc). Transport 2000 doesn’t really seem to be active, does it? http://www.transport2000qc.org/

  2. There are a lot of transit people around just like there are a lot of neighborhood organizations but if they don’t know each other it can be hard. Maybe we have a conversation going here…. Transit people! Please check in!

  3. Excellent link! Might even become a post here soon. From their About Us page,

    “The campaign was founded in 1979 by the New York Public Interest Research Group at a critical time for New York City transit: By the late 1970s, the city’s subways had become unreliable and decrepit. Graffiti covered every car and station; transit fires and derailments hit record levels. Crime steadily worsened. Ridership plummeted to the lowest level in 80 years. Businesses cited poor transit as a leading reason for moving out of New York. The system had become a symbol of the decline of the city itself.

    There’s been great progress since then. Today, trains are nearly ten times more reliable. Ridership has bounced back. Transit crime, fires, derailments-all have been greatly reduced in the last two decades. In 1997, the transit system started offering free transfers between subways and buses. In 1998, riders received the first fare decrease in the history of the system in the form of unlimited-ride transit passes. As a result, ridership has soared. By early 2007, ridership was at its highest level since the early 1950s! ”

    There is no doubt that unlimited transit passes is the way to go. But the “Zone” system we have for commuter trains seems to have become expensive and therefore discourages casual or part time users. Expensive fares encourage automobile use even if the cost of gas is high.

    Thanks for the link!

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