City Proposal A Better Project

Down at City Hall yesterday a good crowd was treated to some preview highlights of the City of Montreal’s alternative proposal for rebuilding the Turcot Interchange.

Richard Bergeron, leader of Projet Montreal, took us through the slide show.

It is a much, much better plan than that offered by the MTQ. There will be no expropriations under this plan and the Falaise Saint Jacques will become a real park and could easily play it’s role in the greenbelt envisioned by Patrick Asch and others for the Greater South West of Montreal. And it would sure be stretching it for me to condemn a plan that positively addresses the two main points I have been basically arguing for since the beginning. Still, I would like to see more of Turcot used for the greenbelt and not residences or light industrial structures, though that may be just me being sentimental for the urban vastness of Turcot. Perhaps the negative here would be that residentail spaces at Turcot would surely fall within the 200 metre danger zone for living by a freeway?
This proposal puts emphasis on less traffic, more public transport, and the health of citizen’s who live nearby. It is an excellent step in the right direction. And let’s not forget the Turcot 375 proposal which is a radical realignment of Turcot that aims to solve the same issues.

Mayor Tremblay sent us home with a rousing old timey speech about moving forward along sustainable lines and making Montreal a truly great place to live.

And now the bad news. Over the last few days I have been hearing from some reliable sources that the MTQ simply has not been paying attention to any of these alternative plans, be that in their own offices or while discussing Turcot with officials here in Montreal. They have only been going through the motions they perceive they have to go through. Their plan is merely an engineering solution to the wrong question. They have approached Turcot in an outdated and irresponsible manner that makes their plan irrelevant in the year 2010. Things have changed a lot since Turcot was first built and it’s about bloody well time the Ministry of Transportation of Quebec jumps in to the 21st Century!

Stay tuned!


11 responses to “City Proposal A Better Project

  1. The city’s project was much better than the MTQ’s, but their strategy of keeping it secret and counting on the good faith of the MTQ was a spectacular failure.

    They should have made the project public long ago, instead of trying to play the lone ranger. That would have allowed the public and groups to rally round the project while there was still time.

    In the end, it will be the South-West’s residents who pay the price for the combined arrogance of City Hall, and the lack of respect of the MTQ…

  2. I agree that they did not use good judgment at all in waiting so long. Still, this thing may yet bloom into something much bigger than any of us imagined!

  3. Maybe the best chance we have now is to get out into the streets and bring down the liberal gouvernment. People are sick and tired of being mocked and disrespected by these hypocrites who pretend to represent us but really are there to protect their own privileges and those of their pals…

    No, it’s not the time to give up!

  4. The concept of a circular interchange is outdated and extremely inefficient.

    Chicago’s Circle Interchange is built to the same principles and has more lanes than the Turcot does already, 3 lanes in the 4 main lines, and has the same traffic load (300 000 veh/d). It is the 3rd biggest traffic bottleneck in the entire United States.

    Circle interchanges have a poor efficiency, expensive cost and are dangerous to drive on due to the curves.

    The fact of the extra 4 billion dollars and the much greater impact during construction (the whole complex will be closed for at least 5 years!) is extremely bad.

    The idea is so horrible the support for it from Harel is strange. The PQ can be expected as they are opposition.

  5. It is also important to note the lifespans, the Tremblay proposal is to a 40 year lifespan (and will end up just like today’s Turcot) while the MTQ proposal has a 100 year lifespan and has far fewer concrete structures to maintain or fall down.

  6. In addition I am not sure there is a real “democratic” opposition to this. The only people complaining seem to be Plateau hipsters and the people with expropriation notices. People with careers and cars and taxes to pay certainly don’t seem to figure amoung the protesters.

  7. Don’t believe the hype on the costs. As Pierre Gauthier said on radio-canada, the chunnel cost 18 billion, so where they got the 6 billion, nobody knows…the MTQ is using these figures to try and discredit the project.

    I don’t know what “Plateau hipsters” have to do with anything (I don’t see too many around here in the South-West – hey, Cyrus, the Plateau is on the other side of town). Read the BAPE report if you want to know who is opposing the MTQ project.

    My right to have a healthy environment for myself and my family has priority over your right to get downtown fifteen minutes earlier – sorry, this isn’t over.

  8. What is a healthy environment? If the cars are making pollution creating traffic jams will make more pollution. Pollution from automobiles has fallen in the range of 95 – 99 % since the 1960’s and is only continuing to slide towards zero in any case. Montreal’s air quality is mostly impacted from wood stoves.

  9. For the cost aspects, note the MTQ’s costing of their own version is 2.5 G$ and contains few structures. The Tremblay proposal contains many more structures which magnify the cost tremendously. Dirt is basically free but concrete and steel are very expensive.

    The biggest problem is that the Tremblay interchange is supposed to be sitting exactly where the current Turcot is. This also causes cost explosion because it is expected to take 2 years to tear down Turcot and 3 years to build, and that is optimistic. In the meantime there needs to be a road connection of A-15 and A-20/720 and an interchange, the roads cannot simply “end” there for 5 years, the cost to the Montreal economy would be both staggering and unreversable.

    The magic in the MTQ plan is the using of the old Turcot yards to build the interchange to basically 90% adjacent to the existing one, and then spend only some days “connecting” ramps. This also allows the area to become useful instead of an inaccessable wasteland, and also put in place a bike path on the escarpment, etc etc.

    Don’t forget also the cost of construction in Qc with all the palm-greasing… there is a reason it costs 30% more to build a road here than in Ontario.

  10. Montreal is not a corn field – people live here and building highways at ground level is just plain stupid. Even if it saves a little money on repairs in the long run, the health and environmental costs outweigh the repair savings.

    Experiences in other cities show that when you eliminate highways or reduce their capacity, congestion decreases! People use alternative means to get downtown.

    Nothing “magic” about the MTQ – unless having a 1950’s vision of development is magical in your eyes…

  11. Why’s that manuel? Highway capacity is often reduced significantly during say an accident or a storm, but the congestion is far worse.

    Why hasn’t growth in traffic stopped now that basically all of Montreal’s superior network is congested? Look at the Metropolitan, especially between the two 15’s. Even on a Sunday morning it is blocked. But the traffic passing through increases 5 or 10% per year since it was built around 1960. And in 1965 it was jammed in rush hour also…

    How many cities have actually eliminated or reduced highway capacity? Seoul had a downtown freeway on top of a boulevard that they took down, traffic is much worse in their CBD now.

    Or take the Montreal example of the Park-Pine interchange that was replaced with some traffic lights and a lot of frustration.

    What alternative means to get downtown is there? The AMT trains to West Island are crammed during rush hour and the parking lots are full. The 221/211 buses are slow and standing room only. The metro is crammed and in a useless location. Secondly, what about people who do not care about downtown, but instead want to go from say Brossard to Laval?

    Tramway is not a solution because tramway is far too slow, and will never be built anyway (this is Montreal we are talking about. That big giant hole on St Lawrence area has been there for what, 10 years now?)

    The MTQ plan isn’t at ground level, it is elevated but not superelevated like the original, which was made that way to allow the ships on the Lachine Canal to pass. Now the canal is only pleasure craft so you only need 30 feet of clearance instead of 100 feet of clearance.

    If it becomes a big traffic jam it will only fuel urban sprawl and the continuing slide into irrelevance of the core city. The city wants higher density, but with higher density higher capacity roads are obviously necessary.

    I question though what you mention of health and environmental costs.

    Having a reduced capacity will certainly encourage people to leave the road and use side streets which would have a health cost (surface roads are far more dangerous due to pedestrians, cyclists, at grade intersections). Environmental cost would be the car doesn’t run as efficiently on these roads.

    Especially with the “375” plan, this would become very significant as the freeway wouldn’t even permit very desirable movements (Gauthier estimated 50 k veh/d more using residential streets in the region).

    But what is the health costs of capacity? I presume you are considering the capacity to equal more volume of vehicles (dubious) and that this equals more “smog” (increasingly irrelevant). But so what? Where is this “health” problem?

    There doesn’t appear to be any conclusive evidence that traffic has health effects, especially in a clean-air city like Montreal.

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