Move over Davis, California — Montreal has a $150 million plan to become North America’s cycling leader.
The city’s executive committee member responsible for transportation, Aref Salem, announced Friday that Montreal would direct the funds over five years toward cycling projects, according to Canadian Cycling Magazine. Goals include increased connectivity for downtown cyclists, more bike parking and promoting cycling as a safe and effective way to travel.
Ultimately, the city wants to boost the percentage of trips made by bike from 2.5 percent to 15 percent by 2032 (a number that, to be fair, wouldn’t necessarily put Montreal ahead of the oddball anomaly that is Davis, California, but would certainly make it a continental leader).
The plan is part of the city’s overall Vision Zero approach, CBC News reports, and came the day after two collisions — one of them fatal — involving cyclists.
The outlet also notes that the city’s local elections are scheduled for November 5, and Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre’s main challenger party is strongly pro-bike. One of that party’s members, Plateau-Mont-Royal Mayor Luc Ferrandez, recently questioned Coderre’s commitment to cyclists, and suggested that it was all talk.
“We want Coderre to say, ‘I don’t care about cyclists, I don’t care about deaths, I’m not interested,’” Ferrandez said, according to CBC News, adding that he believes that is “what he’s doing behind closed doors.”
Whatever happens with the November elections, Montreal cyclists seem ready for a major infrastructure rollout. As Jen Kinney wrote for Next City last year, researchers have found that cyclists in the Canadian city show up to work most promptly (and energized), compared to those using other transportation modes — and that’s true not just for summer, but for the cold, snowy days as well.
Rachel Dovey is an award-winning freelance writer and former USC Annenberg fellow living at the northern tip of California’s Bay Area. She writes about infrastructure, water and climate change and has been published by Bust, Wired, Paste, SF Weekly, the East Bay Express and the North Bay Bohemian