The OPCM has already begun public consultations for the Quartier Bonaventure which will drastically overhaul the no-man’s land between Griffintown and the Quartier des Recollets (just west of Old Montreal). What I originally thought of away as a simple remake of the highway actually turns out to be an entire neighbourhood with residential and commercial towers, a public square, and new green spaces near the canal. At first glance I’d say it’s a better spot than most for those ubiquitous high rises.
Being a fan of re-inhabiting unused nooks and crannies in the city, I quite like the plan for “Renewed use of the Canadian National rail viaduct”
In order to reinsert the rail viaduct into the urban fabric of the faubourgs, it is proposed to reopen its fenestration, reclaim the ground-level floor space for commercial use, and make more safe and comfortable the many east-west passageways. That part of the rail viaduct between Ottawa and William streets, facing the public place, could house, most usefully, the necessary facilities for the users of public transportation. (From the city of Montreal’s Quariter Bonaventure Synthesis document PDF).
So far the main controversy is over the Dalhousie bus corridor which would funnel buses from the South Shore through the neighbourhood (there are currently about 350 of those buses a day and they have to take a more circuitous route through the old streets).
The vibrations from construction and concentration of bus traffic could harm the historic New City Gas Co. building, and opponents describe the corridor as a barrier and a health hazard for local residents. Apparently, a business man with interest in the area has been trying to mobilize citizens against the Dalhousie bus corridor.
Rendering of the Dalhousie bus corridor, with the CN rail vaiduct with fenestration re-done and new commercial spaces.
At the outset, I’m a bit concerned that this neighbourhood is being planned independently from the Windsor-Station-train-tracks-over-St-Antoine idea that has been floating around recently. It would be a shame to invest so much transforming the Bonaventure autoroute into an urban boulevard and integrating the CN viaduct into the urban fabric, only to create a brand new barrier a few blocks away.
I don’t know enough about it to say much at this point. For those interested in learning more, the OCPM is holding an information session tonight (Nov 26) at 7pm at the Cathédrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde, 1110 rue mansfield. Another information session will be held December 1st at 7pm, and memoirs and comments can be presented January 12, 2010.
Both images are from the Fiches synthèses du rapport de l’avant-projet détaillé, mars 2009 (PDF) as seen on the OPCM website