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Tolls, streetcars and bus lanes in Montreal's future: transit plan

aofe11

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Tolls, streetcars and bus lanes in Montreal's future: transit plan

http://www.cbc.ca/consumer/story/2007/05/17/qc-transitplan0517.html


The city of Montreal has released its ambitious $8 billion public transit plan to overhaul the island’s metro train and bus network over the next two decades which includes streetcar routes and possible bridge and highway tolls.

Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay said the plan – the first of its kind for the city – focuses on encouraging sustainable development and public transit use to limit the number of cars on city roads and highways and contain greenhouse gas emissions.

“Today we are making a break with an outdated method for transporting people and goods, and [we’re] launching a new way of thinking,†he said at a press conference Thursday morning.

The plan includes measures to increase public transit ridership by introducing streetcar tracks on several of Montreal’s busiest streets, including Mont Royal and Parc Avenue, Côte-des-Neiges Street.

The city also proposes introducing tolls on some Montreal-South Shore bridges to generate revenue to pay for the expansion plan.

Public consultations will be held on the possibility of introducing tolls. The last toll in Montreal – on the South Shore-bound Champlain Bridge - was phased out in 1984.

City officials said air pollution and congestion is hindering Montreal’s prosperity and affects the quality of life.

Traffic congestion alone “causes economic losses of $800,000 to one million dollars a year†said André Lavallée, Montreal’s executive committee member responsible for public transit and urban development.

“These realities should convince us that we need to radically modify our collective choices,†he said Thursday.

The plan also proposes further expanding Montreal’s subway lines. Three new stations in Laval, north of the city, opened to the public earlier this spring.

A rail shuttle is also in the works to connect the downtown core to the Montreal Trudeau International Airport. Several reserved bus lanes will be added to north-south streets including Papineau Street and Pie IX Boulevard.

Montreal’s bicycle path network will be extended as well – the city plans to double the current 380 kilometres of bicycle paths in the next seven years, and will add more bike parking.

Montreal will lobby Quebec for greater revenue-generating powers in order to pay for the public transit expansion, Lavallée said.

City council will vote on the plan next fall.
 

Edward Skira

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“causes economic losses of $800,000 to one million dollars a yearâ€
Spend $8 billion to fight economic losses of $1 million a year? Something wrong with that number.
 
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Interesting plan. Not much to say until I see it in detail. It appears that commuter rail and regional transport issues have been sidelined by and large, which, I actually see as being a good thing since now they can take some extra time and actually plan and deal with them properly. The airport-downtown rail link I am most interested though. I really want to see how they plan on making this work, and making it efficient though the mess of track between the two points.
 

wyliepoon

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Lucky for Montreal that it is an island. The idea of placing tolls on bridge traffic in Montreal doesn't sound as far fetched as the idea of congestion tolls here in Toronto, where there are few significant natural barriers to cross between downtown and the suburbs which would make reasonable places to put up a toll booth.
 
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Some of the things mentioned in this plan are already in the works such as the construction of a cross-downtown bike route along Maisonneuve Blvd. Also, a new commuter line is being constructed between Central Station and Mascouche, via Ahuntsic and Repentigny.

AnarchoSocialist said:
I really want to see how they plan on making this work, and making it efficient though the mess of track between the two points.
One of the possibilities is to use the CPR track between Central Station and Dorval with a new spur leading to the airport. If this was coupled with track improvements all along the line the Dorion-Rigaud commuter line could be turned into something akin to a West Island metro.
 

wyliepoon

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Link to article

Montreal eyes downtown tolls



Forging ahead of reluctant Toronto, mayor pitches road congestion strategy
May 18, 2007 04:30 AM
Sean Gordon
Quebec Bureau Chief

MONTREAL–Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay is proposing tolls on traffic coming into his city.

The plan could include highway, tunnel and bridge tolls on the island of Montreal and a restricted traffic area downtown, presumably patterned on London, England's successful anti-congestion strategy.

The tolls would be accompanied by a major expansion of the city's subway system and a new light-rail tramway network as part of an ambitious new transit strategy.

And they would put Montreal in a place that Mayor David Miller has been reluctant to take Toronto. Miller has shied away from tolls as an answer to his city's budget problems.

In all, Tremblay said the city could get up to $300 million annually from road and bridge tolls, which would be a balm for a cash-strapped city with chronic budget deficits.

Although Tremblay wouldn't talk about how high the tolls would be, environmentalists translate his $300-million figure into a toll of about $1 a vehicle.

Any anti-congestion toll would be a first in Canada.

The new transit strategy would cost $8 billion over the next two decades, the bulk of which will go toward extending the subway eastward and building surface-rail lines.

The plan also includes a carpooling program, setting up a network of self-serve bicycle rental stands, and creating pedestrian zones downtown.

"The car will still have its place, just not the whole place. And it's from that perspective that we will appeal to profound changes in the mentality, attitudes and behaviours (of motorists)," the mayor told a news conference.

A congestion tax to limit the number of cars entering downtown forms part of Toronto's review of new taxes.

While Miller has steered clear of the controversial idea of road pricing – tolls or a congestion tax or both – it's something that deserves study, said Councillor Janet Davis (Ward 31, Beaches-East York).

"I hoping we'll look at all the options," Davis told the Star's Paul Moloney at the third of four public hearings the city is holding to gauge public reaction to new taxes.

"It's been successful elsewhere," Davis said. "I think it's something we need to look at. It would reduce congestion and raise revenues to fund infrastructure investment, including upkeep of roads."

Though Montreal's plan was announced amid great fanfare, it's not clear residents will see much in the way of immediate progress.

The city has committed to holding public hearings this summer, the final plan will be adopted in November 2007, and officials admit it could take several years for the major projects to begin.

City officials also acknowledged they are bracing for massive opposition to charging commuters for using the bridges and tunnels leading to the island of Montreal.

A proposal to look at establishing concentric zones for subway fees is also likely to be deeply unpopular.

Bridge tolls for the spans leading to Montreal were scrapped in 1984 (all the bridges are federally owned and Ottawa would have to approve new tolls) and suburban mayors have fiercely resisted efforts over the past decade to reinstate them.

Tremblay tried to defuse the criticism by vowing to use the toll funds to improve public transit.

"If motorists want to continue driving into Montreal solo, well there will be a price to pay and a choice," Tremblay said.

The city billed its strategy as a green plan first and foremost – it includes a pledge to double Montreal's bike-path network to 400 kilometres – even as opponents view it simply as a political strategy aimed at squeezing more money out of the provincial government.

The Montreal mayor, who is close to Toronto counterpart Miller, has been pushing for a Quebec version of the City of Toronto Act, and is fighting for more tax-levying powers.

The country's big-city mayors have called for Ottawa to dole out $2 billion in permanent annual funding to finance a national transit strategy.

Environmental groups welcomed the emphasis on public transit, but the provincial government greeted the announcement cautiously.

"It's Montreal's choice; there will be decisions to be made, and they will be not only economic but lifestyle choices," said Quebec Transport Minister Julie Boulet.
 
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#10
One of the possibilities is to use the CPR track between Central Station and Dorval with a new spur leading to the airport. If this was coupled with track improvements all along the line the Dorion-Rigaud commuter line could be turned into something akin to a West Island metro.
A new rail right of way that will allow VIA and airport shuttle service that will spur off the Dorion-Rigaud line and enter at a new station at PET will be built, regardless of the current status of any projects, as part of the Dorval interchange modernization project. It will include all the flyovers/overpasses necessary and allow them to simply lay down tracks and build a station when the time comes. AMT will continue to use the existing Dorval station though.

What I am wondering about is will it mean new tracks being built just for an airport shuttle? Will new tracks be built but also benefit AMT and VIA? Will it be on existing tracks with shared priority and some upgrades? They might seem like mundane concerns, but, if you followed the story of Blue22 in Toronto (there is a thread on this page actually) then it is easy to understand why I have such an interest in the details of the airport shuttle plan.
 
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Why not though? It seems logical to move that to PET as well.
I can think of two reasons this might be the case. The first is from a technical and logistical standpoint. It is easier to accomodate AMT functions such as bus terminals and parking at its current site. If it were to move to the airport park and ride spots may disappear. Also from an access point of view cars and buses would probably have an easier time getting to its current station than going through airport traffic. Also the alignment of the PET spur is fine on eastern approach, but from the west is somewhat curvy meaning reduced speeds. It may add only 3 or 4 minutes more but AMT might not want to lose that time. And lots of other technical issues come to mind as well.

The second reason, not based on any evidence, and somewhat conspiratorial, though fun to speculate on, is that their have been backroom deals between an already determined private operator of the airport shuttle and the government restricting AMT from PET so that it can ensure a monopoly on airport to downtown travel.

The first one is more likely, probably combined with a certain degree of lazyness and complacency on the part of the government and various stakeholders. But I still have faith the second could be possible.
 
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The second reason, not based on any evidence, and somewhat conspiratorial, though fun to speculate on, is that their have been backroom deals between an already determined private operator of the airport shuttle and the government restricting AMT from PET so that it can ensure a monopoly on airport to downtown travel.
Why would something like this sound familiar?