Dan Lambert and Roger Jochym of the Westmount Walking and Cycling Association attended the Westmount Municipal Association meeting on Jan 17, 2011 to present their ideas for a Westmount Master Traffic Plan.
They hope that their ideas will be helpful to professionals who are soon to be hired by the city to develop a Master Plan, but to this date have been unable to have a meeting with anyone at the city.
The Guiding Principles for the Active transport component of the Westmount Master Traffic plan proposed by the Westmount Walking and Cycling Association give a good overview of the plan presented.
They are as follows:
1. Westmount and all the municipalities of the island of Montreal must decrease the amount of vehicular traffic flow. It will take encouragement and a reversal of direction by local governments in supplying ever more infrastructure for traffic flow. Some infrastructure might need to be deconstructed. It is of prime importance that the number of vehicles decreases by 10% every 5 years.
2. Westmount master traffic planning should include active transport, public transport, vehicular transport, and urban parks as integral parts of a mandate. By this is meant that the interweave of cycling, walking, running, public transport, vehicular transport, the green spaces of parks and green ways, green walls, and pedestrian streets should be designed as a whole, should be exemplary in a way that other communities might follow. Linking green spaces to walking paths will entice residents to walk. Not to design all these elements in an integrated fashion will lead to unnecessary design conflicts in the future.
3. Westmount should have a cycling network. This network would integrate with those of surrounding boroughs. This network would make special efforts to encourage the student population to use active transport, especially Westmount High, Dawson, Marianopolis, Selwyn House, International, etc. This network would be graded according to function or difficulty of grade: “Cycling Paths” “Branch Cycling Paths” “Athletic Cycling Ways”. Its main pathways should be four-season.
4. Westmount should have Pedestrian Streets. By delineation, use of materials, planning, and treatment, certain streets should be pedestrian for various lengths of time, either year round, seasonal, or on certain specific days. Prime candidates are Greene, parts of Victoria, Sommerville, Prince Albert and Sherbrooke. They are a key part in regaining Urban Civility.
5. Westmount should have Bixis. They are essential part of an active transport city. It allows being pedestrian at an urban scale all the time, no matter where in the city.
6. Westmount should have a designated network of Walking Paths that are so laid out as to provide some sanctuary from the hubbub of the city and the constant presence of vehicles. It would therefore take advantage of the existing parks, certain exceptional laneways, the new linear park along the railway, newly designated greenway streets. Along these Paths signage would be installed for directions and distances. There should also be signs to indicate significant places near the Path, i.e. the Hurtubise house. There would also be certain amenities such as small resting alcoves, small lookouts, foot lighting where necessary. Part of the Walking Path system should be a network called the Athletic Way that would lead hockey players and swimmers to their complex. It should be expected that athletes be able to walk or cycle to their hockey or swimming activities, certainly if they are within 1.5 km of the facility, approximately 75% of the population.
7. Westmount should consider in consultation with running groups, how best to integrate the needs of runners into the Plan. It is especially crucial at this time since this group is underserved yet significant in numbers, especially since the rebirth of the Montreal Marathon.
8. Westmount should have design features that give the whole of the city back to the human scale: walking and cycling path signage, reading alcoves, cycling bridges, viewpoints, refuges from rain storms, streams, etc.
9. Certain Westmount streets should be designated as extensions of adjoining parks, Greenways. Prime candidates are de Maisonneuve, Montrose, and Belmont Crescent. Summit Circle, Belvedere, Academy Road, and Melville should be considered as being Park Streets. These different designations would entail different regulations, treatments, access, plantings, etc.
10. It is tantamount that for environmental and ecological reasons that Westmount should have a Green Linear Park Wall running along the railroad tracks from the Westmount Railway Station to Atwater. It would serve as an essential flyway leading birds to various city parks and back yards. It is would then be a natural extension to the St. Jacques Escarpment. It would help to filter the air coming off the adjoining expressways and diesel railway engines. It would also act as a partial sound filter.
11. Summit Park should be extended to the other side of Summit Circle to the north and down to Côte des Neiges. It should have pathways and a small stream whose waters would be supplied from a created pond of snow melt and rain waters located within Summit Park. These new paths should be integrated with the Walking Paths of Mont Royal Park and Mont Royal Cemetery. The created pond would provide Spring and Autumn wetland for migrating birds, reintroducing in a small way what has been destroyed in and around the island of Montreal.
12. Westmount’s Plan should, where appropriate, integrate into progressive Plans that may already exist for adjacent boroughs or for the region. Of course it would be most wise to integrate them with a regional plan, to influence a cohesive visionary plan where the city would be given back to the human scale by various measures through time. Some of these measures would involve a comprehensive network of infrastructure for active transport; some measures would involve an extension to, intensive improvement to the design quality of, and integrated coordination of the public transport systems; some measures would involve decreasing the volume of traffic flowing into Westmount. Concerning the last point Westmount should clearly state by resolution the importance it attaches to the redevelopment of the Turcot Interchange. The Resolution should state that Westmount expects the new interchange to be so designed as to decrease vehicular traffic by decreased capacity and by necessary corollary direct funds to increase public transport by increased capacity and new installations.
13. Westmount should initiate through its Sports and Recreation department education courses for both the young and adults in proper methods of walking and cycling, and especially in how to protect themselves from accidents with motor vehicles. Westmount might contact local schools to encourage them to initiate similar courses.
14. Westmount should insist that the law enforcement bodies ensure that everyone, walkers, cyclists, and drivers proceed with safety through the city. They should pay special attention to vehicles since their speed, power, and momentum make them extremely dangerous to unprotected walkers and cyclists. At certain dangerous intersections, the Lansdowne – Ste Catherine for example, Westmount should install photo technology to track infractions.