The month of September was full of contradictions: certain merchants claimed that the new bike paths hindered business, some Montrealers saw bike path construction everywhere, even though most of the construction had nothing to do with biking. Cyclists became the scapegoat for all the construction, traffic, and congestion. I can’t tell you how depressing I found this societal debate. It was as if we had gone 30 years backwards, to when biking was just catching on.
In Montréal, 78% of street space is designed for cars (parking and circulation), 20% for pedestrians and 1.5% for cyclists. (source: Polytechnique Montréal)
Congestion: an issue of number of cars
Over the past 20 years, the number of cars on Québec roads has increased by 1.75 million (Statistics Canada). Since half of Quebecers live in the metropolitan region, imagine the pressure on the urban core. The streets of some cities, including Montréal, have become so saturated that the slightest obstacle on the pavement causes congestion – well before the creation of new bike paths in 2020.
City of tomorrow
The resilient, efficient city of the 2020-2030s will offer its residents, workers and tourists a variety of travel options in order to reduce the pressure of the single occupancy vehicle car, since the average number of people per car in the Greater Montréal region is 1.2. Given the costs of congestion and our responsibility to take action to reduce global warming, it is obvious that the future of our cities depends on more public transit and bike paths and fewer cars. This is not ideological – it’s mathematical. It just makes sense!
Reducing the presence of cars in the city by offering other mobility options will result in fewer cars and leave more room for those who are obliged to use a motorized vehicle for getting around (e.g. delivery people, workers in certain job sectors, the elderly or those with reduced mobility, etc.)
Efficient, sustainable urban mobility depends on a transportation ecosystem that promotes walking, biking and public transit – in short, a win-win solution for the entire community, including those who must travel by car.
President and CEO of Vélo Québec