Alexandre Berthiaume has been living near the St-Denis street in Montreal for more than 15 years. Over time, he has noticed some rather constant changes. Once a busy commercial street, St-Denis now is struggling. According to him, this decline in popularity is due to the difficulty of access to the street and the lack of parkings. There is also the e-commerce that doesn’t help. Everyone’s businesses are on decline, and even the restoration hardly survives.
What if there were no more cars on St-Denis? This is the hypothesis that Berthiaume would like to present. He is aware of the importance of St-Denis Street as a North-South car route for the city, but what if there was another way to travel? In the long run, and looking at projects elsewhere in the world, it is obvious that the automobile is no longer the best means of urban transport. By looking at models that work well abroad, one realizes that public transport, although criticized by many, becomes pleasant and effective when they are important in numbers. The growing importance of cycling in Montreal is equally undeniable. This growth is due to the fact that energies are deployed to make cycling facilities efficient and safe. This is why, according to Alexandre, it might be appropriate to consider a tramway, a spacious bike path as well as a beautifull pedestrian routes for St-Denis.
Becoming congested by the affluence of the North shore, the metro for its part sees its role a little changed. Another means of transport could balance the service of this axis of the city. The tramway would thus become a more local and more direct means. And from a tourist point of view, it would add to the liveliness of the neighborhood.
Also, there is a glaring lack of sunny and welcoming terraces in Montreal. The streets with the largest number of terraces have no long periods of sunshine. As a result, the north-south axis of St-Denis Street is much more propitious to long exposure of sunshine, especially on the east side of the street. It would therefore be logical according to Berthiaume to create on this side, large spaces available for installing comfortable and effective terraces as well as a cycle path. Then the tramway could use the side in the shade served by a sidewalk that would be very positive for the merchants on the west side.