McGill College Ave – Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante recently announced plans to turn downtown’s McGill College Ave into a pedestrian plaza. She also invites the public to participate in public hearings that will recommend how this area develops.
McGill College Ave runs four blocks from Sherbrooke Street beside the Roddick Gates on the campus of McGill University to Ste Catherine Street beside Reuben’s Deli. The plan unveiled by Plante involves closing the area to vehicular traffic and featuring distinct districts for each block.
Plante is making good on an election promise to turn the area into a pedestrian mall. “This place deserves much love and attention,” Plante said during an Aug. 2 press conference. “It has such a great view of the mountain and has been protected in the past.”
The Office de consultation publique de Montréal (OCPM) will begin six weeks of hearings in September, where the public is invited to participate. The OCPM will prepare its recommendations in late 2018, after which specific plans and costs will be announced.
This coincides with plans to build the McGill REM station here, connecting to the metro station of the same name on the Green Line. According to plans, the REM station will see construction start in 2019 and last two years; becoming operational by 2022.
Construction of the REM is already causing massive service disruptions, however, for thousands of passengers on the Deux Montagnes and Mascouche train lines. Transport expert Réjean Benoît wonders about the McGill REM station’s impact on the Green Line and for how long the metro here will be closed during construction.
Benoît is also concerned that ridership projections done for the REM in 2016 did not include any estimate for how many passengers will get on or off at McGill. He suggests that this might be a deliberate oversight; subsidies for the REM will be based on ridership numbers per kilometre.