Tuesday, 28 June 2011

The Up Side of Traffic Snarls: Getting People out of Their Cars

I know, I know, school's out, so there is less traffic on the roads, but the rather speedy amelioration in Montreal's center city traffic snarls these last two weeks is remarkable. There are many, many construction road repair projects under way, festivals which shut down streets for a weekend or a week, plus emergency repairs to bridges which haven't been properly maintained. Voices raised were loud and angry.

Yet this morning walking around the Plateau along streets which had gridlock a few weeks ago when construction forced a detour around a heavily-used intersection, I was amazed at how smoothly traffic was moving. Maybe people have turned to other way to get around, which is what Jane Jacobs and her friends noted when they refused to let cars run through the park in Greenwich Village which Robert Moses and the city of New York wanted 60 years ago. There certainly are more bikes on the road, and in the area affected by bridge repairs, additional trains appear to have become popular.

Of course, discouraging cars is exactly what a lot of European cities are doing. The New York Times has a interesting story on this: "Across Europe, Irking Drivers is Public Policy." And as one blogger notes; "If you're in a traffic jam, you are the traffic jam."

Certainly, Monteal may be doing

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Traffic in the Plateau, despite the construction, seems to be flowing well. One of the reasons is that many people are currently avoiding Park Avenue because of the construction. Although, you and I both know that it has stopped temporarily, there are still side streets which are affected.
This is one of the worst years in which I have experienced traffic jams across the city. Un-coordinated construction projects all across the city and on the south shore bridges have made Montreal an obstacle course, which are starting to have serious economic effects on businesses.
On another note, Ste. Catherine East (The Village) is closed to traffic and on Saturday night , they extended it all the way to St. Laurent Boulevard...it is fantastic....people walk and enjoy the stores and area. We need more pedestrian friendly solutions to encourge small business in Mtl.
Jimmy Z