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Montreal: more bike paths, smoother streets, pleasant transit staff

alexd

Administrator
Staff member
I was in Montreal on the weekend for a friends wedding and really noticed how much better their transportation and transit infrastructure seems to be than ours here in Toronto.

I was born in Montreal and have been there many times, but this is the first time I really took notice of their roads and transit infrastructure.

While I realize they have had issues with overpasses collapsing in the past, there is evidence everywhere that they are rebuilding or are reinforcing these structures. I guess it is much like our Gardiner falling to pieces over time, and I won't even get into what Toronto is doing about that...

But the Montreal roads! Wow! I would love to cycle in Montreal! The roads are smooth. I saw no evidence of poorly filled road cuts anywhere downtown. In Toronto the street surfaces are a disaster. If you bike anywhere in Toronto you know how they either fill the road cuts 2 inches above the road surface, or fill the cuts 2" below the road surfaces. In Toronto there is this stuff that looks like black rubbery caulking filling cracks in the roads EVERYWHERE. Potholes are the norm here.

If there are 30 road cuts in a block on the Danforth for example, they shouldn't fill individual cuts to all different heights but rather pave the entire section of road. Those of you who bike across the Danforth or Queen, or anywhere downtown know what I am talking about.

In Montreal the roads are smooth and caulk free. There seems to be bike paths everywhere that are smooth and well marked. In spite of the rampant corruption and kickbacks in Montreal municipal construction projects; how is it they can manage to have better roads than we do? The must be doing something right.

And as for transit, the Montreal Metro, while old, runs well and is clean and frequent. Even buses seem to come more frequently on major routes. The transit staff are less surly.

How do they do it? Why can't we?
 
Alex D. from TRIBE on Utility Room

videotronic

TRIBE Member
The roads are smooth.

were you on nitrous? montreal has literally the worst roads in the developed world. google "montreal pothole" and see what you get back. there is even an about.com page about potholes in montreal for god's sakes haha

I arrived in Montreal a few days ago from Australia to visit my daughter for five weeks. She lives right next to the Marché Jean Talon. I am shocked at the pollution, rubbish bags everywhere and Third World-class roads, full of potholes, and dangerous sidewalks. It is like coming to a Third World country rather than a place to be proud of.

On Wednesday, road work was being conducted on Mozart St., with thick carcinogenic smoke billowing out of the machinery. The air is filthy and you can feel the tar in your lungs. I have not seen anything like this since visiting Southeast Asia, where standards are very poor.

We hesitated to take my daughter’s the new baby out for a walk Wednesday, as the pollution levels were so high. Luckily, it was cool and windy — on a hot humid day the air would be unbreathable even indoors.

It appears that the local government does not care about the environment that people have to live in around here. The filth, litter and down at heel shops are shameful, to say the least.

As for the people who have to operate the machinery to repair the awful roads, they appear to be mainly immigrants from South and Central America, and do not even wear basic masks to protect their lungs and eyes.

I find this truly scandalous in a day and age in a so called First World country whose government should know better. I will never come back here by choice, and will be telling my friends not to bother to visit here, either. I feel sorry for the local population, who I am informed pay the highest taxes in Canada, and for little in return. I really believed that this was a better place to live, and will be very happy when my daughter, son-in-law and baby are able to leave. This place makes Canberra, where I come from, seem like paradise.

Earlier, I tried without success to email the local authority for roads and transport. Their website makes it impossible for a visitor to email them, they are very well cocooned in their office somewhere in town. I have not attempted to call them because to be sure I will be fobbed off to some junior public servant and nothing will be doing about my complaint. I hope you can publish this complaint from a foreign visitor who is appalled by the filth and pollution the local population have to endure here. Something needs to be done.

Judy Diamond

Canberra, Australia



Read more: Letter: Visitor from Australia is appalled by Third World conditions in Montreal

i will agree with you that the metro runs a lot better than the subways here, but thats about all they have on toronto. its filthy
 

Sal De Ban

TRIBE Member
toronto has its fair share of summer non-stop construction. However, Montreal has always been worse from what I've experienced. And, you could have marble roads in Montreal for all I care - I would never bike in that city as motorists are next-level insane.
 
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MissBlu

TRIBE Member
Were youbin a very small part of MTL?
The roads are terrible. Outside of the island in Lavalle, etc its a good thing I have a jeep. The construction is just as bad if not worse than Toronto unless its the construction holidays...
 

djfear

TRIBE Member
Those black things on the road are called Tar Snakes, and they suck balls everywhere. They're annoying for motorcycles because when it's super hot they become very slippery & soft.
 

Spinsah

TRIBE Member
Montreal's car dominated infrastructure and expressways are not in a good state of repair, but they have been heavily investing in biking infrastructure as well as the repaving of several major routes downtown. It's a great city to cycle in, Alex is absolutely right. There are many dedicated and segregated bike lanes, many of them new in the past five years as part of an aggressive expansion plan, there are also many completely isolated bike paths that are a joy to ride on.

Anyone comments on the state of disrepair of roads in Montreal is either referring to outer arterials and expressways, or simply hasn't spent much time in the city in recent years.

Montreal is also doing great things by creating advanced bike boxes that prevent against "right hook" accidents, as well as lanes going against one way streets.

Think this would ever happen in Rob Ford's Toronto?

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As for the STM, it receives a much greater subsidy that the TTC, when I was living in MTL a few years ago, the monthly adult pass was $65!
 
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JoshuaReid

TRIBE Member
Montreal's car dominated infrastructure and expressways are not in a good state of repair, but they have been heavily investing in biking infrastructure as well as the repaving of several major routes downtown. It's a great city to cycle in, Alex is absolutely right. There are many dedicated and segregated bike lanes, many of them new in the past five years as part of an aggressive expansion plan, there are also many completely isolated bike paths that are a joy to ride on.

Anyone comments on the state of disrepair of roads in Montreal is either referring to outer arterials and expressways, or simply hasn't spent much time in the city in recent years.

Montreal is also doing great things by creating advanced bike boxes that prevent against "right hook" accidents, as well as lanes going against one way streets.

Think this would ever happen in Rob Ford's Toronto?

6a00d835168be453ef01156f95b63c970b-pi


As for the STM, it receives a much greater subsidy that the TTC, when I was living in MTL a few years ago, the monthly adult pass was $65!

Isnt there this green box on Sherbourne St's new bike lanes?
 

JoshuaReid

TRIBE Member
No, but there is green painted lanes that carry through intersections - certainly a move in the right direction!

I'm 99% sure i saw one of these exact boxes at Sherbourne and Gerrard. Mind you it's the only one I've seen, but certain it is there. None the less, 1 in an entire city isn't exactly screaming "support bikers".
 

Spinsah

TRIBE Member
You might be right, but I rode up Sherbourne in the bike lane just last week and didn't notice one. After a quick Google, it looks like there might be one, but it is for left turns, kinda like the half-assed one on Wellesley.
 
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