What about making Montreal and the South Shore more connected and accessible without a car?

Getting rid of the car-centric urban planning model that prevails in North America is on top of my list. There are many reasons why I want that, with the most important being that it enhances everyone’s life.

I watched many videos on better urban planning, and this one honestly answered how Montréal compares to the great cities of Europe. It highlights the recent improvements but also shows that more needs to be done. In this video, Not Just Bikes captured the current state of urban planning, active transport, and public transit here in Montreal.

After visiting Scandinavian cities and Japanese cities, I agree with Not Just Bikes that Montreal is missing out on the potential of good surface transit. Taking the metro for short distances takes too long because of how much time you waste getting in and out of the metro stations. Trams, better than buses, allow people to move from one walkable spot to another quickly and without hassle.

Don’t get me started on how outdated and inefficient the current transit fare system is. You need several passes if you travel across different zones. At the ticket counter, you can either buy a number of tickets or a monthly pass. An article by The Guardian about Luxembourg explains that when they made public transport free for locals and travellers, it was only one part of the equation.

Making public transport free was a small part of that – “the cherry on the cake”. The real work was improving the transport infrastructure: building new train lines, upgrading stations and rolling stock, building the new tram line, adding cycle lanes and improving connections between different modes of public transport. “Nobody believed at the beginning that it would be possible in such a car-loving country”.

– François Bausch, from when he was deputy prime minister and minister for mobility and public works, Luxembourg

I completely agree with Not Just Bikes’ point about the vibe around most metro stations. Exiting the metro stations isn’t usually an Instagram-worthy moment. As a pedestrian, facing those loud, busy streets on your way out doesn’t make for a great experience.

Montreal definitely made progress over the last decade. Montreal is good when it comes walkability but its public transport efficiency isn’t quite on par with the best European cities. And honestly, using winter as an excuse is getting old when it comes to cycling. Come on, other chilly cities outperform us in terms of year-round active transport.

A more livable city is one that doesn’t force everyone to rely on a car for basic needs like grocery shopping, going to work, or running daily errands.

Let’s keep moving towards a place where walkability is a must-have, not a nice-to-have, and truly rethink urban design. I am tired of new developments that fall short by continuing the status quo. I’m looking at you, Solar Uniquartier. I hoped you would learn from the disastrous development of Quartier Dix30. Your claims of a cohesive and connected community have not been realized, leading to another deceiving urban design experience in Quebec and Canada. Maybe my expectations were too high, but we MUST do better. For the record, my friends feel the same about that project.

We owe it to our children to build neighbourhoods that are easy and pleasant to get around. Neighbourhoods that deliver a true sense of community. And to do it without the need to drive. Let’s continue the necessary transformation towards more livable cities.