THE PRESS ROOM - for immediate release

Montreal's municipal election

Vélo Québec proposes its own platform for the upcoming elections in Montréal

>> par Vélo Québec  In the event of the municipal elections that will take place November 4th, Vélo Québec wants to secure real commitments from the main mayoralty candidates. It’s taking advantage of the transition of the city to propose its view of a Metropolitan Montreal for cycling.

Vélo Québec has noticed that in the last ten years in the City of Montreal, less than 10 kilometres of new cycling paths were created for a network of 150 kilometres. In regards to the rest of the island (200 km network), 50% of the 40 km increase added in the last ten years comes from the development of the cycling network in the regional parks of the Montreal urban Community (MUC). Problems of linkage are still noticeable in certain portions of the west island, so in fact, the “tour of the island” remains an incomplete project.

Nevertheless, the popularity of cycling in Québec is quite noticeable, and it’s distinguishing itself in a strong and constant growth. Back in 1977, an average of 900 000 people were cycling weekly; in 2000 there were 1.7 million people. In Montréal, an average of half a million people ride their bicycle at least once a week, and 140 000 of them use it as their mode of transportation. It is undeniable that the dynamism and the fervour of this practice distinguish Montréal in North America. But its status of "Cycling city" (reconfirmed recently by the magazine "Bicycling") is based more on the great number of cyclist events and their attendance, than on the progress of a cycling network. The evolution of the service and its infrastructures, notes Jean-François Pronovost, director of Vélo Québec, doesn’t follow the same beat as the growth of the practice. A change is needed!


>>>Vélo Québec proposes a plan in 4 phases:

1-DOWNTOWN MONTRÉAL ACCESSIBLE TO CYCLISTS.
Mega centre of activities, Downtown Montréal has no cycling axis. To the East, the path ends at Berri Street, and to the West at Green Street, NOTHING in between. Although more and more cyclists ride their bicycles through the city, they would probably be more numerous if the city were "bicycle-friendly". Time has come to, on one hand, resolve the lack of parking places and on the other to finally link the eastern and western parts of the island.


2- ONE TOUR DE L’ÎLE WITHOUT FAILURES.
Despite many acquisitions, it is amazing to note that the oldest dream of Montreal’s cyclists, and of many decision makers, is still… a dream.

The project "One island one city" is the perfect opportunity to bring the notable tour de l’île to completion. There is a real opportunity to create a user-friendly link between the different municipalities, one that can only be welcomed.


3- CHILDREN-LESS AUTOMOBILES:
It is utmost important to Vélo Québec to take appropriate measures to make the streets safer for pedestrians, cyclists, and particularly to the children who want to go to school by bike.

We know for a fact that when parents drive their kids to school it is often the result of a safety concern parents feel relatively to the safety of the route travelled by children. Needless to say that a city for pedestrians and cyclists is a huge contribution to the decrease of traffic congestion, gas emissions, noise pollution, etc.


4- A "BICYCLE BUREAU"
It would seem that the creation of such a bureau would be a means to achieve all these projects. The bicycle file must be handled by a multidisciplinary team of several different experts. Their mandate would be to plan and develop a cycling network, and to educate in regards to SAFETY on a bicycle.

In the spring of 2002, Vélo Québec will submit an action plan to the City of Montreal. This plan will be included in the "Metropolitan Bicycle Network" project started by Vélo -Québec in 1998.

The plan expects to double the amount of kilometres of the network that presently consists of 350 kilometres. We estimate the cost of this growth to be 35 million dollars, to be divided in 10 years. In fact, it will be 8 million less than the cost of renovating the l’Acadie circle.

The full text of the proposition by Vélo Québec (as well as pictures), is available on the site www.velo.qc.ca

>>>All releases