Growing Pains in Suburbia

The main entrance into Cote-Saint-Luc, a city of 30 000 inhabitants surrounded on all sides by train-tracks is through the Cavendish underpass. This underpass  was constructed in the 1960s. Since then its capacity has long been reached due to several factors.  Firstly, there has been much construction of new Condo buildings along and beside Cavendish, and secondly there has been increase car usage since that time period. Most of the traffic that goes through the underpass ends up in the left turning lane, which heads towards fleet and eventually Decarie. In the morning rush hour, the left lane is clogged up for several hundred meters. To help this longstanding problem, the city has decided to restructure the interchange and add an extra left turning lane.    It is not so clear how much benefit the extra lane will have in the long term.  It is possible that the smoother flowing traffic will just get backed up anyways a few kilometers later as it approaches Decarie. In addition, there are thousands of new potential housing units planned for Cote-Saint-Luc, particularly in the redevelopment of the Cavendish mall complex. If these units share similar driving patterns, it will not be long before the backlogs reoccur with two lanes.  Perhaps what is needed is not a second left turning lane, but more public transit to encourage people to leave their cars at home.Cavendish and Fleet, October 27th 2008


  1. The underpass also needs a cycling lane. I remember going there some years past (the Jewish General Library had been temporarily relocated in CSL during rebuilding and I was doing research there) and having to risk a fine by riding on the sidewalk (where there wasn’t a single pedestrian). The underpass for cars was a death trap.

    Although the area seems fairly densely-populated and urbanised (also has a very good municipal library), the public transport situation is woeful, and one of the buses there takes forever on Fleet Street, where there is a stop at every bloody corner.

  2. It definitely could use a cycling lane. Itis really difficult to bike through the underpass alongside the cars. Apparently NDG will be building a bike path on or along their part of Cavendish. If this occurs, it would be a great opportunity for Cote Saint Luc to extend the path through the underpass and into its territory.

  3. A subway expansion is needed in both NDG and CSL. Both are quite dense and urban and would be ideal spots for new stations on the Blue or Green Lines.

  4. There is talk of a bike route that could go from Meadowbrook golf course down to the Falaise Saint Jacques from where it could go to the river at Lasalle and/or Verdun and east towards Downtown/Saint Henri/ etc. No reason it couldn’t go through Cote Saint Luc as well.

    you can scroll down here

  5. Cote St-Luc is suburbia?!?!!

    You seem eager on the trigger Michael, this mean everything outside the Plateau and is close surroundings is suburbia?

    About the subject, there’s no one else to blame but the good people of CSL, they have been against any road dev. to interconnect their little ghetto to the outside world. They have been against Cavendish being connected to the north. If they wanted to, they could have connected the countless little streets to the east and north and ease the natural congestion of having only two connections to the rest of the world.

    Pains? maybe, it depends on your definition, that’s what the people of CSL want.

    Mass transit dev. is way beside the point here.

  6. Cote Saint Luc is a suburb in several senses of the word. It is a suburb in the sense that it is a seperate political entity from the main city of the metropolitan area. This has been the case with Cote Saint Luc from its foundation till today, except for a brief period during which it was merged with the island wide city of montreal. It can also be considered a city in terms of its specific characteristics. The vast majority of its citizens work outside the boundries of its territory. in that sense it can be considered a sleeper suburban community.
    What differentiates CSL from other suburbs either in the west island or off island is that it is connected to the Montreal Street grid and thus not as dependent on highways. Another difference perhaps is that it is has an extremly dense core.

    In addition I do not believe it would be fair to blame CSL or its citizens for the current situation. Cote Saint Luc has long requested that kildare be connected to jean talon. this route would provide direct access to decarie and the namur metro station . CSL actually traded a piece of its land (the area around decarie square and a neigbhorhood called north of hampstead) to montreal in exchange for the construction of the road. Montreal took the land and reneged on its promise to build the road. Eventually CSL took the land back in a lawsuit and nothing else has occured.
    In terms of the Cavendish extension, it is true that CSL has long held that up. However in recent years the city has agreed to the extension. The city of Montreal in its recent transportation plan has unfortunatly put the project on the backburner.

  7. Jean Naimard’s post in rankly anti-semitic and racist and I would like to suggest it be removed.

    I realize this kind of trolling is commonplace, but I’d like to think that we can do better here.

  8. Yes, in the first sense even Westmount is a suburb, absurd as it is to call an old district entirely surrounded by other urban areas such a thing. As was Outremont until the merger (unlike Westmount, Outremont didn’t seek to demerge).

    The density of the core area with the highrises largely inhabited by elderly citizens seem higher than many districts in Montréal, even older central ones.

    I recall that the blue line was supposed to go west to NDG – near Loyola campus, perhaps? and maybe Montreal-West, but the STM has never even completed the eastern extension to Anjou.

    The green line seems much to far south at its western end. Wouldn’t it more logically go deeper into Lachine?

    I’m sick of the clichés about the Plateau. At one point I was “accused” of living in the Plateau (as if that is something to accuse another person of. Somehow Villeray and La Petite Patrie have become “Plateau-Nord”…

  9. I guess we can argue about the technicalities of what constitutes or better, defines a suburb, but for me, perceptually at the very least, the suburbs begin at about the western end of (Ville) St.Laurent er, formerly Ville St. Laurent. That said, I don’t know any people from Westmount, CSL, Hampstead, TMR, or St Laurent that consider themselves to be in the suburbs. They are all pretty centralized geograhically.

  10. CSL is definitely one of my least favourite neighbourhood in Montreal.

  11. I believe the STM did studies and concluded that there wasn’t enough traffic to justify extending the Blue Line into the “West End” (presumably it would not make public transit trips downtown any faster), though it always seemed to me that it would make sense as part of a longer extension into Lachine or to the airport.

  12. Stewart, I’m sure that’s correct.

    On top of that, I also seem to remember once reading something about the actual ground west of Decarie in that area, that it’s former marsh or something, and it would have been difficult and more expensive lay a stable tunnel through it…?

  13. CSL has its urban planning team looking at bike paths/lanes within its territory, connected to other paths (such as through Montreal West to the Lachine canal) and to create bike lanes through the underpasses.

  14. That is really good news. Do you have a links to any studies or preliminary maps done by the dept?

  15. “. Perhaps what is needed is not a second left turning lane, but more public transit to encourage people to leave their cars at home.”

    Answer: NO

    The public transit in this area is rather well developed with several bus lines and the metro.

  16. As a resident of csl, i’m sure we do not want the metro or any more busses entering the city!

  17. I dont know if that last comment was sarcastic or not. Not everyone who lives in Cote Saint Luc has their own automobile. For some it is impossible due to physical reasons (young students, the elderly), some due to financial choices, and other personal lifestyle choice perhaps environmentalism. These people need proper public transit. In addition, the more people who are riding buses, the more space there is on the road for those who wish to use their own cars.

  18. Michael, just for fun put your other hat on. The wealthier 4 cars in the driveway hat. There must be some csl residents who dont want too many people coming in to csl. You are correct with what you say, I just think that there are powers taht be that influence these muncipal decisions other than that is right.

  19. The best thing to happen to CSL will be the
    extension of Cavendish on both finacialy and economicly.

  20. Cavendish Underpass in CSL opened on June 27, 1965.
    Cavendish Underpass in NDG to Upper Lachine Rd., (now St. Jacques), opened up in 1956.

    A Shtern

  21. Côte-St-Luc needs to build its first bike lane. Correct me if I’m wrong, but no bike lanes exist in CSL, right? Not surprised from a town that forces cyclists to wear a helmet. Same with Montréal-Ouest and Westmount (although Westmount has a bike lane along Maisonneuve now), being the only towns in Quebec with the regressive helmet rule. Sounds like Australia.

  22. You are correct.  There are no bike paths within Cote-St-Luc.  Within the city itself there is very little need for investing in segregating cyclcists from motor traffic.  The volume does not warrant it.  An argument could be made for a bike path on the two underpasses that are required to enter Cote-St-Luc and on Fleet rd.

    As for the Helmet law, I agree with you.  I believe the intention is good, but its just counterproductive.  It assumes that cycling is a recreational activity and not a means of daily transportation.

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