While the details still need to be ironed out, a key point is reducing the speed limits on many of the city's main streets to 40 km/h and residential streets to 30 km/h — a measure already in place in several boroughs and de-merged municipalities.
"Speed limits must go down," Coun. Éric Alan Caldwell told reporters Monday as the city unveiled its new, three-year Vision Zero plan.
Montreal to reduce speed limits to improve pedestrian safety
"We will give the fine details of that after consulting in the neighbourhoods, with the boroughs and the police service."
Caldwell is the city's executive committee member responsible for urban planning. He said reducing speed limits will be one of the city's top priorities, especially in areas where there are a lot of pedestrians and cyclists.
Mayor Valérie Plante said it is important "for us to do this step by step" as the city moves as "quick as we can" on reducing speed limits.
She said reducing speed limits is just one step the city is taking as it implements 22 "concrete" actions under its new plan to reduce the number of pedestrian and cyclist deaths and injuries — a number, she says, that remains intolerable even if it has gone down in recent years.
"For me, security is more than just a buzzword," she said. "It has to be connected to very concrete actions. Too often, we witness collisions that lead to serious injuries, sometimes even death. Collectively we cannot accept that anymore."
In 2005, 453 pedestrians and cyclists were seriously injured in vehicle collisions and 54 were killed. The next year, it was even worse, according to statistics published by the city Monday.
“For me, it’s the first step,” Catherine Bergeron said. “And it’s a good step.”
Vision Zero refers to the policy goal undertaken by many North American cities, including New York and Toronto, to reduce their number of road deaths and severe injuries to zero.
The plan will be most most effective when all of the city's stakeholders and citizens take part and everybody, from the trucking industry on down to the average citizen, is working to make the city safer, Plante said.
Stakeholders that have already signed onto the plan include Montreal's public health department, the province's automobile insurance board (SAAQ) and transportation ministries on the provincial and federal levels.
More than 30 organizations participated in developing the plan and signed a declaration of engagement. Those signatories, Plante said, also include representatives of the trucking industry.
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The city did not specify Monday which streets would be affected because it still needs to consult with the leaders of Montreals 19 boroughs, but said certain measures could be in place by the end of this year.
The city will open seven new positions within the urban planning and mobility department to ensure the plan is followed in the coming years as Montreal focuses on improving key areas such as construction zones and street crossings.
The upcoming substantial work on the train tracks shared by the Deux-Montagnes and Mascouche railways for construction of the REM is also expected to increase travel time for tens of thousands of commuters.
"In turn, we intend to improve winning conditions for mobility with better planning of roads, sidewalks and the cycling network, especially around schools," she said.
From now on, she said the Vision Zero plan will serve as a guide each of the city's mobility and development projects in the future but, she added, "it is not a quick fix."
After many years of growth, the number of bus commuters in Montreal dropped from 2013 to 2018, while the number of people taking the metro, riding bicycles, and driving cars increased.
With improved collaboration across the board, the overall mentality of road users will change for the better, making the streets safer for all, the mayor writes a statement affixed to the 34-page booklet outlining the plan.
Its the latest step in the Vision Zero plan to eliminate collisions between drivers and pedestrians and cyclists that Montreal launched several years ago.
"This open and evolving approach that we are embarking on today will begin with our efforts to bring about a paradigm shift in road safety and mobility choices," she writes.
"I invite all Montreal citizens to join the process by also signing the declaration of commitment of the Montreal community."
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Montreal sees its share of pedestrian and cyclist deaths every year. Though the number is on the decline, almost 25 pedestrians and cyclists are killed each year.
The most common contributing factors in fatal collisions are speed, impairment, and distractions, such as cellphones.
Often, cyclists and pedestrians are blamed for recklessness and lack of attention when crossing the street. However, as the number of cars in Montreal grows, attention must also be turned to drivers.
The city unveiled its plans for “Project Zero” today. Project Zero is a new initiative that aims to make pedestrian and cyclist deaths obsolete. A main feature of the three-year plan is a reduction in speed limits.
TL;DR The city will decrease speed limits to 40 km/h on main streets and 30 km/h on residential streets as part of their Project Zero initiative.
It is thought that a reduction in car speeds will make roads safer for pedestrians and bikers. Many boroughs in and around the city have already adopted this initiative.
City Counsillor Éric Allan Calwell told reporters today that “speed limits must go down,” and that more details are still to come. The city will first need to consult with police, boroughs, and other stakeholders.
Mayor Plante has stated that this is just one of 22 steps the city will take to reduce the number of accidents involving cyclists and pedestrians.
Project Zero began under mayor Coderre, and Plante is now taking the project under her wing. This follows in the steps of many large cities like New York, which has likewise adopted measures to precent cyclist and pedestrian injuries and deaths.