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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

A small victory for the Southwest: Turcot plans modified

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St. Remi_St_Jacques_Mar2010 revision

Modified based on an MTQ image – additions not to scale

This past weekend, the MTQ quietly broke the news to Radio-Canada and CBC News that the plan for the Turcot Interchange would be modified in response to some of the complaints made during the province’s environmental hearings (BAPE) last spring.

The winners of this announcement are the residents of rue Cazelais in the part of St. Henri known as ‘les Tanneries’, where 60 dwellings will be saved from the wrecking ball. (The remaining 100 units in the area won’t be as lucky.) The other area where revisions will be made is south of the Lachine Canal, where the A-15 skirts Côte St. Paul: rather than being rebuilt on an embankment (which critics charged would divide neighbourhoods), this section of the highway will be rebuilt on pillars, allowing movement underneath.

This is good news for residents of these areas, whose cause was taken up by the BAPE in its final report. However, the call to reduce total highway volume on the Turcot from the City and countless community groups went unheeded: the MTQ stands by its projections that daily flows will increase from 280,000 to 304,000 vehicles and there’s not a thing they can do about it. And their promise to integrate transit into the project with a reserved bus lane on the A-20/720 remains vague. (This is likely due to the incompatibility of reserved transit lanes with interchange ramps, where the very nature of an interchange requires that vehicles mix.)

It would be easy to rant against the MTQ for the general lack of vision exhibited in this cynical move to appease the more annoying voices in the southwest, but others will no doubt play that familiar tune. Rather, I would simply encourage folks at the MTQ to revise their drawings again, omitting inconsequential on-ramps like N, which serve no significant function in terms of regional transportation, yet threaten buildings like 780 St. Remi, a vibrant live-work space that houses many creative (and productive) artists for which Montreal is well-known.

The saga continues.



  1. You’re being too kind Jacob… While there are perhaps 30 odd homes on Cazelais N that may be spared (30 others were likely not that threatened to begin with)the real crisis that is the Turcot plan remains essentially unchanged.

    The MTQs news release is a perfect example of a rather tried and true strategy: Marketing and misinformation designed to direct attention away from the fact that they have changed nothing.
    Small victory indeed.

  2. We have come a long way from the Turcot Roundhouse, Riviere St. Pierre and Montreal Tramways at Turcot East POSSIBLY should read;

    Have we come a long way….?

    Much change since we watched steam locomotives from the foot of Decarie in the Forties.

    Ah well.

    The price of progress.

    Thank You!

  3. Notice that this information has not been confirmed by the MTQ. It could, yes, be a leak deliberately released in order to gauge community reaction. In those circumstances, it’s a bit early to be crying victory…

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