A new urban planning program aims at redeveloping Montreal's Quartier des Gares sector, the immediate neighbourhood of the L'Avenue condominium project.
The Montreal Borough of Ville-Marie recently unveiled a proposal for a ' Programme particulier d'urbanisme (PPU)' or 'Special Planning Program (SPP)' for the revitalization of the Montreal district known as the Quartier des Gares, the neighbourhood that is home to the L'Avenue condo project.
Since the early 2000s, Montreal's downtown business district (Centre des Affaires) and the surrounding areas have been experiencing a marked upswing in urban renewal with the addition of a significant number of residential, commercial and cultural developments. This trend is particularly evident in the Quartier des Gares, where several large-scale real estate projects are currently under construction, notably in the vicinity surrounding the Bell Centre.
The Quartier des Gares is delineated by René-Lévesque Boulevard, Notre-Dame Street, Robert-Bourassa Boulevard and Guy Street. Located within walking distance of the Quartier des Spectacles, Old Montreal and the Lachine Canal, the district occupies a central position not only within the Centre des Affaires, but also within downtown Montreal.
Furthermore, the area is known as the cradle of the Canadian railway system, as well as Quebec's main intermodal transport hub, and as the main public transit entry point to the City. On a daily basis, more than 100,000 public transportation users frequent the area, either via one of the three nearby train stations (Lucien L'Allier station, Central Station, and the Terminus Centre-Ville) or one of the two local Metro stations.
According to the City, this strategic area harbours significant untapped potential in terms of real estate and economic development. With the new revitalization plan, the Borough of Ville-Marie hopes to further encourage and support the ongoing development within this central neighbourhood.
Expressing his strong support for this proposed revitalization project, the mayor of Montreal, Denis Coderre, is quoted as saying “The redevelopment of the Quartier des Gares is a strategic priority for the future of Montreal and its downtown core. With this new Special Planning Program, the Borough will be able to help guide the development of the area towards becoming a more prestigious neighbourhood, and becoming more inviting and comfortable for all visitors and for current and future residents."
The Special Planning Program for the Quartier des Gares encompasses a series of objectives, the main goals of which include
- Addressing the needs associated with the current and future densification of the area;
- Improving the public domain in order to make the sector more inviting for residents, businesses, students, visitors, and passers-by, and to make it more secure and comfortable for pedestrians and cyclists;
- Promoting active transportation (walking and cycling) and collective transportation (Metro, guided transport system, car-sharing);
- Restoring and enhancing existing public spaces and creating new public spaces;
- Increasing the presence of vegetation with the addition of more green spaces as well as greenery and trees bordering the streets;
- Encouraging the private sector to develop underutilized properties in the area.
Among the proposals, the Borough is particularly advocating for the creation of a new public park located just south of the Bell Centre, on land currently owned by the Quebec Ministry of Transportation. The total area of the proposed park would be nearly equivalent to that of Dorchester Square and Place du Canada. The City also plans to plant more than 750 trees in the neighborhood, notably by creating a green corridor on the south side of Saint-Jacques Street and by planting trees along the sidewalks wherever possible.
The program also proposes the redevelopment of several streets in order to ensure a safer and more comfortable environment for vehicular traffic, and for pedestrians and cyclists. In fact, no fewer than fourteen intersections would see redesigned pedestrian crossings and improved signage for all. Furthermore, a new bicycle path network would be created, connecting the Quartier des Gares with the other major downtown bicycle paths.
As the project's planned actions are implemented, the Quartier des Gares, with its wider sidewalks and redeveloped crosswalks, its improved access to public transportation, new bicycle paths, and new public spaces, will become particularly inviting.