Halifax’s got it. Winnipeg’s got it. Calgary’s got it. Vancouver’s definitely got it. Even Ottawa’s got it. No, it’s not a new kind of street cleaning device. It’s a once a week street closure for the use of cyclists and pedestrians.
Colombia’s boom town of Bagotá started the practice in 1974 and seems to have formalized it in the early 1980s. The South American city still offers over 120 km of car-free streets are available on Sundays and public holidays from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., though there has been some debate in recent years over how this affects traffic flow.
Montreal will become one more international city to institute the practice of a weekly Cyclovia. From May to October in the Sud-Ouest, every Sunday, there will be a Cyclovia from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. over an approximately 5-10 km path on Monk Blvd and Parc Angrignon.
Projet Montreal has been critical in bringing the project to the city, and presented the motion in 2014 to the City of Montreal, citing things such as the popularity of the event in other Canadian cities as well as Montreal’s desire to promote an athletic lifestyle for all.
Cyclovia might be getting a little more excitement than it deserves. Montreal already has places dedicated for pedestrians and cyclists. In 2015, five streets were slated to be transformed into pedestrian streets (Ontario Street, Beaubien Street, Castelneau Street, Stanislas Street, and Park-Stanley Avenue), adding 1.1 km to Montreal’s current 7 km of pedestrian streets. Every summer, Rue St. Catherine goes car free in the Gay Village. Ever struggling, Prince Arthur is a pedestrian street that can’t seem to keep a business, save for Cafe Campus. However, the pedestrian streets in Chinatown seem to do just fine.
Those who want to keep it rolling can use 650 km of bike paths available on the island of Montreal and 1770 km worth in the Greater Montreal Area. Though many run on city streets alongside traffic, others, like the Lachine Canal bike path, run where no cars go. For maps of the city’s bike routes you can check Velo Quebec, Ca Roule Montreal, Pedal Montreal or Route Verte.