Montreal at Eye Level

“Montreal at Eye Level” is a reference to “The City at Eye Level”. While I don’t usually wait a few weeks to write a travel post, I’m glad I waited this time because I learned something disappointing about Montreal after I returned to the US. This disappointment totally changed my perspective on Montreal and how I was planning to write this post. I was originally planning to express my excitement for all the cool placemaking projects and car-free streets.

While the projects and car-free streets are still cool, I wish they were all permanent. Many of the innovative placemaking and car-free streets that I was excited to see in Montreal are closing for the winter. Neighborhoods will temporarily lose placemaking projects that make their neighborhood unique and automobiles will return to what I thought were permanent pedestrian malls. Yes, I realize Montreal has long and harsh winters. However, people in Montreal still go outside during the winter so why can’t the placemaking projects and car-free streets continue through the winter?

Rue Sainte-Catherine

Since Rue Sainte-Catherine is likely Montreal’s most famous pedestrian mall, I’ll start with this example. Why can’t the below street be car-free all year?

Saint-Catherine St E April 2016

April 2016

Saint-Catherine St E August 2016

August 2016

Saint-Catherine St W April 2016

April 2016

Saint-Catherine St W August 2016

August 2016

IMG_4089

Pedestrian Mall on Rue Sainte-Catherine E in Montreal

IMG_4085

Placemaking on Rue Sainte-Catherine E in Montreal

IMG_4084

Musical bikes on Rue Sainte-Catherine E in Montreal

IMAG1321

Giant Chess Boards on Rue Sainte-Catherine O in Montreal

Place Shamrock

While Avenue Shamrock remains a one-lane street during the winter, all the placemaking in the below photos close during the winter. I haven’t lived in an environment where placemaking closes during the winter. What do families in Montreal do during the winter to have fun when the chess board and carousel are no longer there?

Shamrock Avenue May 2015

May 2015

Shamrock Avenue August 2016

August 2016

IMG_4115

Chess on Avenue Shamrock in Montreal

IMG_4114

Carousel with bikes at Place Shamrock

IMG_4113

Parklet at Place Shamrock

IMG_4116

Parklet at Place Shamrock

Jean-Talon Market (Marché Jean-Talon)

While Place Shamrock closes during the winter, Jean-Talon Market remains open during the winter. Jean-Talon Market is adjacent to Place Shamrock. I’m curious whether the outdoor pianos remain during the winter. I found people playing outdoor pianos throughout Montreal. I’ve never seen so many outdoor pianos anywhere!

IMG_4118

Protected Bike Lanes

While I’m disappointed by how many placemaking projects and car-free streets in Montreal are temporary, I’m confident that at least one project is permanent. Some of Montreal’s protected bike lanes are permanent because they are built using concrete barriers instead of temporary posts. Most protected bike lanes in the DC region and throughout the US are temporary because they use posts.

IMAG1340

Boulevard de Maisonneuve O and Rue University

Montreal still has protected bike lanes that were built using posts and a parking lane. Unlike many post-protected bike lanes in the US, Montreal drivers don’t appear to park in the bike lane. Surprisingly, this was accomplished with only a few posts and signs. I only see one post and no parking-related signs in the below photo. How many posts and parking-related signs would be in this photo if this bike lane was installed in the US? I realize US cities are trying to use many posts and parking signs to educate the public about where to park and protect cyclists. But how many posts and signs are really needed to accomplish these goals?

IMG_4100

Looking northwest on Rue Clark at Avenue Laurier O

Future Blog Post

My one year work anniversary is quickly approaching! While I interned part-time at Oregon Metro for a year during grad school, this is my first full-time work anniversary! My first day at MetroBike was October 25. I plan to reflect on my first year and what I look forward to doing in my second year. Since I can’t publicly share the exact station locations that I have been working on, I plan to share a general overview of how much fun I have had during my first year.

Advertisements

What does 0 to 100 mean?

My home in Kannapolis, NC has a walk score of 0! Even though I bike from here, which feels dangerous, it doesn’t even have bike or transit scores. Due to this, I am forced to use the private automobile for most of my trips. Even though this may appear like I am against the use of the private automobile, I see value in using the private automobile for long trips to remote locations where other modes of transportation may never reach. When modes other than the private automobile can reach my destination, I desire to walk, bicycle, use transit and the train, and any other sustainable mode of transportation. For me, it all comes down to the freedom to choose which mode of transportation I want to use.

Kannapolis Walk Score (zip code)

Toole Design Group’s Washington, DC office, which is where I will be a transportation planning intern starting in July, has a walk score of 98 and transit score of 91!

Silver Spring Walk, Transit Scores

Staring in September, I will be a Master of Urban and Regional Planning student with a transportation specialization at Portland State University, which is located in downtown Portland, Oregon. Portland State University’s Urban Center, which is where most of my classes will be located, has a walk score of 100, transit score of 90 and bike score of 91!

Portland Walk, Transit, Bike Scores

What is your walk score? Find out here!