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Pedestrian street: an experience that ends too soon

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Pedestrians can stroll down Mont-Royal Avenue one last time, before it reopens to cars upon returning from Labor Day. However, many people would have liked the experience extended.

“I would like it to continue into the fall. It’s too early and it’s still sunny, ”admitted Sandra Ulloa, owner of the Rütrafe jewelry store.

In her eyes, the experience was very positive, both for her and for her customers. “I like it, it changes the atmosphere, especially with all the things they have done in terms of layout. Makes the road beautiful. I love it, “she added.

She is far from the only one to make such an observation. On Friday, the QMI agency went to meet the merchants on Mont-Royal Avenue. Of the ten people we met, almost all of them would like pedestrianization to be extended for a few weeks in the fall.

“I would say another month wouldn’t hurt. Or maybe open the pedestrian street first,” suggested François Crette, florist and owner of Les Champs Fleuris, which opened this summer when the boulevard was already pedestrianized.

Since June 8, the avenue has been closed to cars between Fullum Street and Saint-Laurent Boulevard, a stretch of just over two kilometers. This is one of the ten arteries that were entitled to such an experience this summer.

Amanda Weisbrodt, manager of the Bubbles store, believes that the initiative helps improve the tourist experience in Montreal, precisely because of its uniqueness.

“I think it’s great. For us it went well, there are always a lot of people. I think it gives good energy,” he noted.

In the Séduction boutique, Jasmine and Léa compare the experience of the pedestrian street with that of a shopping center, which allows passers-by to stroll at their own pace and take the time to view the windows.

“People have more time to stop and give a shop a chance. There are people who otherwise would not have come to the sex shop alone. It also helps attract tourists, ”Léa said.

“The facilities are beautiful. I would have liked us to continue [la piétonnisation] later in the season. It’s really nice, but there may be a lack of places where there is shade, ”Jasmine noted.

For his part, Alex Renaud, owner of the Adam et Eve boutique, is already worried about the transition period that will follow.

“The week before it becomes pedestrianized, the street is very untidy. We lose a lot of people when they do rearrangements. And when they reopen the road, no one knows that it is no longer pedestrian and people will no longer come by car. Our sales are down, ”she learned.

In 2020, then in the midst of a pandemic, the Municipality had launched the project for the first time, banning some commercial arteries to cars to allow better social distancing of pedestrians.

Believing the experiment to be a success, the city administration repeated it in 2021, with thirteen streets taking part in the project.

In addition, in April, the City of Montreal announced a $ 12 million grant dedicated to the pedestrianization of its commercial arteries until 2024.

In the mayor’s office, we say we are “proud” of the success of the pedestrian streets.

“We can confirm that the pedestrian streets are now projects in their own right and not pilot projects. In collaboration with traders, DSC and the public, we are now investigating whether it is possible to create longer and more numerous pedestrianization projects for the years to come, ”said Alicia Dufour, press officer.

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