Montreal plans to build 200 kilometers of safe bike paths over the next 5 years

The City of Montreal plans to expand its growing network of bike paths by adding 200 kilometers of safe lanes over the next five years, with a focus on providing more options for cyclists who live far from downtown.

On Tuesday, he unveiled a plan he calls Vision Vélo 2023-2027 that includes around 40 projects for new, safe cycle paths across the city.

The new infrastructure would include major additions to the existing Réseau Express Vélo (REV), a 184-kilometre network of high-capacity bike lanes, likened to a highway for cyclists.

The initial REV project, unveiled by the administration of Valérie Plante in 2019, was structured around five axes: rue St-Denis, rue Bellechasse, rue Peel, avenue Souligny and Viger/Saint-Antoine/Saint-Jacques.

The City plans to add 10 other routes to the REV totaling approximately 60 kilometers and carry out work to create or improve 30 other bike paths by 2027. These projects will be spread over 17 of its 19 boroughs, including those in the Ouest-de- the Island and the east end.

“We are working with the future in mind and the future we want in Montreal is a safe future for everyone,” said Sophie Mauzerolle, member of the city’s executive committee responsible for mobility and transportation.

Mauzerolle also said the city wanted to provide more options to “outlying neighborhoods” like Montreal North, where Tuesday’s press conference was held.

The new REV networks will be built on roads that include: chemin de la Côte-de-Liesse, boulevard Henri-Bourassa, rue Jean-Talon, boulevard Édouard-Montpetit and boulevard Lacordaire.

The red lines on this map indicate where the city wants to build new REV infrastructure. The green lines are for the other bike lane projects announced on Monday. Gray lines reflect existing cycling infrastructure. (Submitted by the City of Montreal)

The City also wishes to extend the existing infrastructure on and around Chemin de la Côte-Sainte-Catherine and make the Parc and Mont-Royal intersection safer.

Other project locations include rue de la Commune next to the Old Port, boulevard Pierrefonds, avenue Christophe-Colomb, boulevard Maurice-Duplessis, avenue Darlington and rue de l’Église.

The city also wants to develop two long-distance, straight-line cycle paths, known in French as the véloroute. One of them would be in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue and the other would take the route of the new light rail network that connects Deux-Montagnes to the west of the island and to the west of Laval.

To download the list of city projects, Click here.

More cyclists than ever on Montreal’s roads, according to the City

Beyond the total size of the bike lanes and their locations, Tuesday’s announcement lacked details regarding the schedule.

The City says it wants to develop the layouts of each project by discussing with the various boroughs and their residents. But the goal is to have it all finished by 2027.

The growth of the city’s cycling infrastructure meets the needs of Montrealers, who travel by bicycle in greater numbers, according to Mauzerolle.

“Bicycle paths in Montreal have been used more than ever in recent years. Over the past year, the number of bicycle trips has increased by 20% in Montreal,” she said. “Last year alone, that’s 12 million bicycle trips.”

In response to the announcement, the Official Opposition at City Hall said it was important for Valérie Plante’s administration to keep the lines of communication open throughout the project.

“We emphasize the need for clear communication with citizens during the planning and construction of these cycling projects,” said Alba Zuniga Ramos, transportation spokesperson for Ensemble Montreal.

“We hope the administration learned from the ombudsman’s report in the summer of 2020.”

In 2020, the city’s ombudsman reported receiving more than 300 complaints in about five months for work the city had done to build the REV as well as to install temporary pedestrian and cycling corridors.