How do you feel about the Royalmount Project in TMR? Is it just another mall or an urban monster?
Royalmount Project in TMR – Commercial real estate developments of large dimensions are increasingly the subject of debate: what are their benefits and what their drawbacks? This is the question that most people start asking when these projects are launched.
The Royalmount Mall is to be built in the Town of Mount Royal, but because of its location –near the intersection of Highways 15 and 40– its potential impact will be felt mostly in other neighbouring municipalities and boroughs, especially regarding traffic impact.
Carbonleo, the developer of the giant mall at the cost of $1.7 billion, describes the project in these terms: “Royalmount intends to create a bustling multifunctional urban pole that will be green, local, and innovative. Set to include a wide variety of uses such as hotels, offices, commercial establishments, restaurants, cinemas, concert halls and other types of entertainment, the project will revolve around an animated space within a visionary complex with distinctive architecture.”
Quite attractive on paper, however, the impact on traffic has raised concerns among the people in the adjacent boroughs, and even in the areas of Mile End, and The Plateau, since the effects of the extra vehicles running on the two highways would also spread to arteries that feed and are fed by them, such as Jean Talon. The City of Montreal’s Economic and Urban Development and Housing Commission issued a report that contains important concerns regarding the impact on circulation in the area. It states that while on average 360,000 vehicles use every weekday the Decarie Expressway or some of the connected streets in that area, the construction of the new project which should be finished by 2022, would result in an addition of 70,000 more vehicles. Although some measures to counter these adverse effects have been proposed for the area or incorporated into the project such as a reprogramming of traffic lights and a pedestrian link to the De la Savane metro station, critics of the complex are not satisfied and are demanding a revision of the plan.
Carbonleo for its part also reacted to the report, stating in a communiqué released this past Tuesday that “Contrary to data that have been conveyed in some media reports, the increase in the number of vehicles will be just 20,000 and not 70,000. Note that the current volume in the Décarie interchange area is 360,000 vehicles per day.” The developer also contradicts the report regarding the increase of travel time for vehicles using the Decarie Expressway, Highway 40 between Cavendish and Highway 15, and others in the area, between the critical hours of 5 to 7 p.m. According to its own findings and with the increase in traffic that Carbonleo claims “The average effect is therefore not 20 to 30 minutes but rather five minutes for those scenarios.”
Is public interest being considered in this project? Which one of these assessments of the impact of such big structure is the right one? People who could be affected by the giant project will have an opportunity to voice their concerns at the first public session on the issue, to be held on November 27 at Montreal City Hall.
Feature image: The large project will undoubtedly have an impact on traffic in the area, but the developer claims it won’t be that big (photo Carbonleo)