The Couillard government will make the announcement on Monday (okay, so maybe they’re not really trying to bury the story, still, odd time to issue a press release teasing such a major change…)
Apparently the AMT is to be replaced by two new organizations: the Réseau des transports métropolitain (RTM) and the Agence régionale de transport (ART).
The new RTM will be responsible for running the commuter rail system and apparently all public transit agencies except the STM, STL and RTL (the latter two STM equivalents in Laval and Longueuil respectively).
Of note, the other organization (ART) will be the regional transit planning body, and will be run by the ‘elected officials of Montreal and government experts’.
It’s not clear whether that means city proper or agglomeration council, though I believe it’s the latter case.
It’ll be interesting to find out what precisely this all means on Monday, though perhaps we have reason to be optimistic. Local transit needs to be planned locally, though the maintenance of three independent transit agencies (in the form of the STM, STL and RTL) within this new plan is still problematic. The cost to ride the Métro should be standard regardless of where you get on. Similarly, the bus network should have a single common fare at least for Montreal, Laval and Longueuil.
That said, I wonder whether the new regional transit planning authority will continue to push the Blue Line’s eastern extension, or whether it will prioritize developing a tram system.
A lot more to come on this file I imagine. Stay tuned!
A little while back I saw this post on Coolopolis and it got me thinking – what would I do, if I were Mayor, with this rather fortuitous recent development.
As it stands, my understanding is that there is only one fully operating refinery still functioning on the Island, though there are still plenty of oil storage sites. The area highlighted in the aerial perspective is an absolutely massive piece of property, which also happens to include two old quarries, a railyard, an industrial zone and the metropolitan golf course.
So what would I do? It’s largely dependent on what Shell wants to do, but if they have no actual inclination to resume refining operations and would rather sell their land to the City for redevelopment, I would gladly enter into an agreement to assist Shell in decontaminating the site. This would be vital if there is an interest to convert the site for eventual settlement, really of any kind. It has tremendous potential as a new high and medium density urban residential zone, being as large as the Plateau, Mile-End, Villeray, Rosemont and Parc-Ex combined. Moreover, it would certainly justify expanding Métro access along several corridors into the Eastern portion of the island, and is already easily accessible by road. Imagine what another 500,000 people could provide for the City in terms of tax revenue. Part of the problem is that part of this sector actually belongs to Montreal-East, a separate municipality. A voluntary annexation plan would have to be drafted, though I can imagine now that Shell is packing up its operations, there may be a new enthusiasm to be part of the City’s Master Plan.
But in order to get here, we’d have to aggressively decontaminate the soil, and a measure that could be used to do just that could also provide Montréal with a massive new nature park. I would use the opportunity, and our province’s cadre of university-graduate forestry engineers, to design and build a massive new ecological preservation zone on this site. It wouldn’t be forever, as there would be far too high a demand to re-develop the site to generate a steady tax revenue. But for the amount of time that it takes to render the area useable, we may as well try to return the land to its natural, pre-development state. I would go so far as to hire students to plant all varieties of flora for the entirety of a summer to help speed-up the process. It couldn’t hurt. And why stop there – animals, reptiles, birds, fish and amphibians ought to be re-introduced to help develop the area into a stable, sustainable eco-system. Not only could it potentially help clean the soil quicker, but it will also allow for the creation of a new geography and ecology for the area. In order to properly return the area to its pre-development state, we’d have to include ponds, streams, creeks and brooks, a varied topography, areas of dense forest, marshland and open fields.
I would look at it as an invaluable tool for the study of conservation, preservation and ecological regeneration methods. We’d have a golden opportunity to become world leaders in this field, and could support the project through research grants at the provincial, national and international levels.
But perhaps most importantly – when it does eventually come time to redevelop large sections of the sector for residential purposes, we’ll have already taken care of an important element in community building – having a large green space and having something beautiful to look at, play in etc. I would hope that future urban planning and residential development would be able to better integrate itself into an established large ecological zone, in a manner quite different from the slash and burn methods of previous generations.
I can’t get an exact date on this pic, but as you can see the Champlain Bridge is up but Nun’s Island isn’t much developed. Griffintown and Little Burgundy are clearly visible in this pic, though you can see there’s a considerable focus on new light-industrial activity centered on the old stockyard. As it happened, Mayor Drapeau re-zoned much of this area for exactly that purpose, driving residents out and leaving the area in its current state. Of course, what he wasn’t entirely counting on was CN and CP going through major downsizing and rationalization during the 1980s and 1990s. The end result was that all the track in this picture would be deemed excessive and ultimately destroyed. The nail in the coffin of sorts was when PM Brian Mulroney, as his last act in office, cut the ribbon at a dedication ceremony during the construction of the Bell Centre.
If it could be done in such a fashion that there was a major increase of diverse residential housing in the area, then I’d be more inclined to think that both of these new projects would be winners – that even a new viaduct could be done in such a fashion so as not to further dissect the urban core. However, that being said, I’m disinclined to think Cadillac Fairview will be interested in constructing anything but condos – someone will have to ensure that medium and low income housing is also provided, in addition to family-run small businesses and necessary community and cultural services. If the newly redeveloped parts of Griffintown and the Faubourg des Recollets seem to be lacking something – they are. They’re not communities yet, and they don’t feel like the rest of Montréal. Ultimately, you can’t leave city planning up to corporations from Toronto.