The start of the month of August brings with it a major revamp to the downtown Montreal core. In a bid to breathe life into the city during the pandemic Mayor Valerie Plante has decided that seven terraces, public squares and patios will be set up at various locations across the city.
Busy areas like Jardins du Centre St-Jax, Place d’Youville and the corner of St-Laurent and Rene-Levesque Blvds will play host to this fall's installment of the carnival of traffic causing chaos.
The mentioned areas will feature live music, circus performances and pop-up shows through to mid-October. The question to ponder is: why is no one downtown in the first place?
Many Montrealers have taken to Twitter to complain about the constant road closures, repurposing of parking spaces and nonstop construction.
The fact of the matter is that parking has become limited. Even with the reduced number of students and tourists it is difficult to find a spot to leave your car. The Mayor, who in the past has declared herself an environmentalist, has once again clogged up the streets and pushed people away. Could these new measures be a Trojan horse to push through those kind of policies? The official opposition party at City Hall, Ensemble Montreal, has called Plante and her party Projet Montreal “anti-car.”
Plante herself forgot to consult trucking and delivery companies when she closed off 327 kilometers of bike lanes at the start of the summer. That time around she told the Montreal Gazette, "an element of the network would be to try to involve cultural and arts organizations in finding a way to have fun and enjoy our city" and that “there are so many possibilities, but we need to think outside of the box.”
It’s becoming more apparent that her first lane closures didn't work for business, and that the only box that car owners want her thinking inside or outside of is a parking space.