Viewpoint : November 2017

Camillien-Houde Way: Let’s revive the vision of Olmsted




The death of young Clément Ouimet on October 4 has shaken the entire cycling community in Montréal and throughout Québec. The cause of the fatal collision - an illegal U-turn made by a motorist - has stirred up debate around the fact that Camillien-Houde Way has become a veritable highway in the middle of the city and, what’s more, in a park that Montréal hopes will become a UNESCO heritage site. With nearly 12,000 motorists using Camillien-Houde Way daily, mainly for getting from one part of the city to another, we are far removed from the vision of Frederick Law Olmsted, designer of Mount Royal Park in 1874, who believed in nature as an effective antidote to the stress of urban life.
 
The idea of restricting and even eliminating transit traffic on Camillien-Houde Way is nothing new. In the 1950s, a New York firm mandated to modernize the park facilities had reservations about car access to the mountain. In 1990, under Jean Doré, a public consultation on the development of Mount Royal highlighted the importance of holding activities on the mountain compatible with the natural surroundings. It was also recommended at the time to limit transit traffic on the Camillien-Houde and Remembrance lanes by installing two separate physical barriers on the mountain summit, while of course allowing free access to buses and emergency vehicles.
 
For many years, we have emphasized to the City of Montréal that the Camillien-Houde Highway no longer serves its purpose and that the mountain is a unique training and fitness site for cyclists of all levels - a magnificent illustration of Montréal, physiquement active! In this regard, a few years ago, we proposed the idea of Cyclovia on the mountain to successive members of the Executive Committee. Today, we are asking the Montréal administration, as soon as the election is over, to eliminate transit traffic on Camillien-Houde and modernize public transit access to Mount Royal, so that in the spring of 2018, we can revive the vision of Frederick Law Olmsted. The tranquility of the mountain and the safety of its users must become a priority.


Suzanne Lareau
President and CEO