Skip to content

Posts from the "Montreal" Category

StreetFilms No Comments

Experience Montreal’s Car-free Rue St. Catherine & Bustling Bike Rush Hour

While spending a week in Montreal, my wife and I stayed right along the Rue Sainte Catherine, which we discovered is closed to motor vehicles from May 15 through September 6 in two main sections. The first, a mile-long stretch that’s been car-free in the summer since 2008, has a lot of restaurants and is filled with pedestrians all night long. The second, a more recent addition, is a smaller section to the west which features plenty of programming and music near the Place des Arts.

I put together a montage that will give you a small taste of the experience. It’s hard to convey the peace and quiet you feel, but I tried.

I last visited Montreal in 2001 to ride the annual Tour de L’ile, and the bicycling is as good as I remember it. We got Bixi bikes one day and documented a little of the biking life. The p.m. rush hour in Montreal is pretty thick with cyclists in the protected bike lanes. And, as in world’s other great bike cities, you’ll see many children and seniors riding. Good indicator species.

Mikael Colville Andersen at Copenhagenize seems to think Montreal doesn’t get its bicycle props. I’d have to agree, at least during the beautiful summer months.

I’ll end with the below photo. My wife used a restroom and was telling me all about this great advert on the back of the door featuring women and transit. I wanted to see it badly, so I made her go back in and take a photo. Translated as “Beautiful Girls Aren’t Just in Limousines,” it sends a great message to young women: “Save time, save money, chance encounters, autonomy, speed, etc. Public transportation is more than just a way of getting around.”

I’d love to see similar campaigns here for American teens. After all, a big part of gaining independence is having the ability to travel.

30 Comments

Study: Cyclists Gravitate Toward Streets With Protected Bike Lanes

Intersections in Montreal with protected bike lanes saw 61 percent more bike traffic than comparable intersections with no bike infrastructure. Image: zmtomako/Flickr

By now there’s not much doubt that protected bike lanes can be a game-changer for cycling in U.S. cities. Making streets feel safe to bike on boosts overall cycling rates, attracting people who otherwise wouldn’t even consider cycling. The safety benefits keep accruing as more people on bikes hit the streets, since drivers become more aware of the presence of cyclists and pay closer attention.

Here’s some new evidence demonstrating that bike infrastructure attracts cyclists. A study published in the Journal of Transport and Land Use [PDF] found that intersections in Montreal with protected bike lanes see 61 percent more bike traffic than those without. Meanwhile, intersections with plain old painted bike lanes see a not-insubstantial 36 percent more cyclists. The results demonstrate a strong preference for bike infrastructure — the more separation from traffic, the better. Previous research by Jennifer Dill at Portland State University has also quantified people’s preferences for bike infrastructure over streets without bike lanes.

The study, conducted by Jillian Strauss and Luis Miranda-Moreno of McGill University, examined 758 intersections in Montreal. Researchers modeled how different factors are linked to the volume of bike traffic at intersections, controlling for several variables.

In addition to the presence and quality of bike infrastructure, they also found a link to land use: the greater the “mix of uses” — or intermingling of retail, housing, and office space — the more bicycling. A 10 percent increase in “land mix,” researchers found, was associated with an 8 percent increase in bicycling. Higher employment density — or the concentration of jobs near intersections — was also found to be a significant predictor of increased bike traffic.

4 Comments

Study: Low-Income Neighborhoods Much More Likely to Have Dangerous Roads

Who suffers most from bad road design? Not surprisingly, the answer is poor people, according to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health.

Poor people are much more likely to live near wide, high-traffic streets and are thus much more likely to be injured by a car, according to a new study. Photo: Naples News

Researchers examined injury rates for pedestrians, drivers and cyclists over a five-year period in Montreal. They found pedestrians living in low-income neighborhoods were more than six times more likely to be injured by a moving vehicle than those from high-income neighborhoods.

Motorists and cyclists in low-income neighborhoods didn’t fare much better. These drivers were 4.3 times more likely to be injured. For cyclists the ratio was 3.9 to 1.

The reason, researchers said, was “exposure to traffic.” The study found that low-income neighborhoods were more likely to contain major arterials and four-way intersections — two of the biggest risk factors for those traveling by any mode. The study also found low-income neighborhoods were subject to traffic volumes 2.4 times greater than high-income — one of the best predictors of injury.

“Traffic volume at intersections increased significantly with poverty,” the authors wrote. “If the average daily traffic at intersections in the poorest census tracts were equal to that in wealthiest census tracts, … there would be 21% fewer pedestrians, 19% fewer cyclists, and 25% fewer motor vehicle occupants injured at intersections in those areas.”

Low-income residents also faced additional risk factors. They were much more likely to rely on walking or transit to get around. They tended to live in higher-density areas, a factor that was associated with high traffic volumes.

So what’s the best way to reduce injury? Study authors say promoting alternatives to driving is an important strategy.

Read more…

21 Comments

This is What a Bike-Friendly City Looks Like


Montreal: Youth, extraordinary bravery and helmets are unnecessary.

buffered_bike_lane4.jpg
Montreal: A two-way, buffered bike lane on a residential street.

buffered_bike_lane6.jpg
Montreal: A two-way, physically-separated bike lane on a busy avenue.

buffered_bike_lane1.jpg
Berlin: Bike lanes along this busy avenue are clearly differentiated from the street and sidewalk using color and physical separation.

buffered_bike_lane3.jpg
Berlin: Bike lanes often share sidewalk space but are clearly separated from pedestrians.