“New” Turcot Plan Still Stuck In 1950’s

So they have added a reserved bus lane between Ville Saint Pierre and the Ville Marie Expressway. That sure doesn’t sound helpful for West Islanders who could be tempted to take the bus in. My past experiences with taking the 211 in the morning says that unless the reserved bus lanes start at the Dorval Circle, of which millions are being spent to reconfigure without bus lanes, or at least west of the junction for Highway 13, you haven’t really solved much. Buses will be crawling to get to Ville Saint Pierre as usual. But it should be good for people coming from Chateauguay. Once again, the ‘ol West Island gets screwed!
The new project will be completed in 2018 at a cost of 3 billion dollars. Apply the Actual Reality Formula (ARF) for major Quebec construction projects and you will end up with a modest completed in 2020 at a cost of 7-10 Billion dollars. And 43,000 jobs created is a pretty sweet deal, but it still doesn’t answer the question of why the Quebec Liberal Party is so deeply beholden to the construction industry.
The government says there will be less expropriations as though they are born again urbanists! Don’t buy their spin. They are trying to bypass the fact that for at least 7 years people living near the project will have to live in a construction zone nightmare. As it is there are only there is only two entrances to Turcot (technically 3, but 2 of them are on the same street in Saint Henri). You may think that, well, isn’t there going to have to be a construction zone regardless of which plan they build? Yes, very true, but this plan is excessive. As McGill professor of architecture Pieter Sijpkes has pointed out, “the 20 is not broken, only the elevated parts of Turcot need to be repaired.”. The government wants to rebuild the whole thing from scratch from Montreal West to the Ville Marie which is fixing a whole lot of stuff that isn’t broken. But it will create a lot of work, make some people very, very happy.
No one really expected much of an improvement from the ministry so this puts us all back to Square One with a few minor changes here and there, but the Big Picture remains the same – this is a monumentally bad vision for Montreal’s future!

“…it is understandable that men who were young in the 1902’s were captivated by the vision of the freeway Radiant City, with the specious promise that it would be appropriate to an automobile age. At least then it was a new idea; to men of the generation of New York’s Robert Moses, for example, it was radical and exciting in the days when their minds were growing and their ideas forming. Some men tend to cling to old intellectual excitements, just as some belles, when they are old ladies, still cling to the fashions and coiffures of their exciting youth. But it is harder to understand why this form of arrested mental development should be passed on intact to succeeding generations of planners and designers. It is disturbing to think that men who are young today, men who are being trained now for their careers, should accept on the grounds that they most be “modern” in their thinking, conceptions about cities and traffic which are not only unworkable, but also to which nothing new of any significance has been added since their fathers were children.

Jane Jacobs, The Death And Life Of Great American Cities, 1961

Story here.


6 responses to ““New” Turcot Plan Still Stuck In 1950’s

  1. There were a number of improvement to the project. Here are some of them:

    Between the announcement (2007) and the BAPE (2009):

    o Improved management of green spaces and slopes
    o Wider sidewalks and addition of bike paths
    o Improved urban integration (squares, etc.)..
    o Architectural treatment of major structures
    o Accès-Logis to maintain housing
    o Additions of numerous interventions on the local network after discussions with the City of Montreal (Boulevard Pullman, the area off Angrignon Boulevard, extension of De La Verendrye, etc.).
    o Anti-noise walls
    o Creation of a 15 meters green band at the foot of the cliff … (0 meters initially)
    o Reserved lanes on A-20

    Between the BAPE report and today (2010):

    o Fewer acquisition of residential buildings: The construction of a containment wall, removal of a westbound lane, reduced lane width and shoulder width (conversion of A-720 highway) prevented the expropriation of 57 of the 60 homes on Cazelais and Desnoyers foreseen in the initial 2007 plans.
    o Added two additional links (Eadie Street and Hadley) between Cabot and Roberval streets (under the A-15)
    o Built on structures between Saint-Rémi/Laurendeau and St. Patrick’s (A-15)
    o Extension of reserved lanes on the A-720
    o Green space at the foot of the cliff doubled to 30 meters.
    o Expansion of the rail corridor
    o Addition of “dalle-parc” towards the cliff in the axis of Irwin street
    o Sir sampling Station at Centre Gadbois
    o Maintenance of the Girouard entrance (A-15 South)

  2. Hmm… I see that the MTQ has put a lot of effort in creating a new ‘interactive web site’ (they now have personnel exclusively devoted to putting a positive spin on the project in the social media).

    Beware: The video borrows many of the ideas and concepts offered by environmental advocates; They’ve created images of a possible future landscape including high speed trains and trams (!)… They even show images of the so far neglected space under the raised highways to be transformed with shops and markets … wow.

    Some of their claims:

    –”TURCOT Un allié du transport collectif ” : (uhmm, a protected corridor reserved for possible eventual use by tramway? Not likely to happen in my lifetime. They need to do a lot better than that to earn this claim) .

    –”Il est primordial pour le ministère des Transports de s’assurer que la population obtient toute l’information nécessaire sur le projet Turcot.” :
    (People in the zone targeted for expropriation have received nothing other than an open house invitation adressed To Occupant, almost 2 years ago )

    — ”Turcot Un projet aux couleurs de Montréal” : (Nice try but no. )

  3. Pingback: “New” Turcot Highway Plan is a Sham | Sustainable Montreal·

  4. Anon,
    I am surprised too. It is quite a tragedy that surely didn’t have to happen. I just can’t seem to shake the idea of 5 guys standing on the track and not paying attention enough that three of them get killed. Makes not much common sense…Guess I didn’t see any point in trying to add anything to it…

    bureau de projet Turcot,

    I appreciate that the engineers of the MTQ BELIEVE they have made a much better project. You guys are doing what you do. I have no problem with engineers designing things according to certain criteria, but it is the criteria that is very wrong with this project! The Ministry has not produced a project that is good for Montreal by the standards that so many Montrealers have asked for. Is Turcot political? You bet it is!

    You have added a lot of shrubs and grass and are going to add 1.5 billion dollars to your estimate! And you have got some things fundamentally wrong such as the Falaise Saint Jacques becoming part of the noise barrier system for your new freeway. Highway 20 is not broken, surely you could have figured out a way to build a new road alongside the current one, if a new road would indeed be necessary? Your project seems to be excessive in it’s costs and malicious in it’s demands. Yes, this project makes a lot demands, including one that tells the people of Montreal to shut up, get out of the way, and open their checkbooks! This project is arrogant, and one suspects there are some huge egos behind the scenes. We may have a weak mayor who has capitulated to his Liberal Party friends when push has come to shove, but the fight for a sane Turcot project is not over!

    This project is not good for Montreal, in fact it is an enormous negative on many levels. So, if it is not good for Montreal, then the only logical explanation must be that it is very good for the people who are going to divide up that 3 billion + load of big fat taxpayer dollars.

  5. @Jody: Regarding your comment about “personnel exclusively devoted to putting a positive spin on the project in the social media”. We feel that putting information out there whether it’s through mainstream media, our website, our Twitter feed (http://twitter.com/MTQ_Turcot) or the comments sections of blogs such as this one is part of our information mandate.

    Regarding your comment about “People in the zone targeted for expropriation have received nothing other than an open house invitation adressed To Occupant, almost 2 years ago”. Three public meetings were held last week for all people in the buildings slated for acquisitions.

    @Neath: Regarding your comment “the engineers of the MTQ BELIEVE they have made a much better project”. Our engineers aren’t the only one that have been saying that the most recent project has evolved for the better. The Conseil régional de l’environnement de Montréal (CRE-Montréal), Équiterre and Forum Urba 2015 (UQAM) sent out a release about it. As did the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec (http://bit.ly/ad82Wt), the RéseauIQ (http://bit.ly/dv4tuj), the MOntreal Board of Trade (http://bit.ly/fOI8JW), the Quebec Federation of Boards of Trade (http://bit.ly/gm81vr) the Conseil du patronat (http://bit.ly/bIg7GW) and the Quebec Manufacturers and Exporters (http://bit.ly/hbC8gs)

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