On Thursday evening, the Borough of Lachine presented its comments and recommendations to the Autorité régionale de transport métropolitain (ARTM) as part of the public consultations on its Strategic Development Plan (SDP).
"We are grateful that the Quebec government has granted $20 million to the ARTM to undertake an opportunity study designed to propose a new mode of transportation infrastructure linking the borough of Lachine to downtown Montreal. This will represent the western branch of the pink line and it will be an important part of Montreal's economic recovery plan; a part of the $800 million commitment that was outlined in the Quebec Infrastructure Plan. Our community is ready to meet the challenges of our time," said Lachine Mayor Maja Vodanovic.
The proposals in the Borough's brief are complementary to those that will be tabled on January 21 by Eric Alan Caldwell, who is responsible for urban planning and mobility at the City of Montreal.
Consolidating the existing network: In support of Lachine's growing needs
With two commuter train stations currently serving nearly 400,000 passengers annually, the Borough wants the work planned in the coming years to be in line with the sector's demographic growth and the potential appeal of the neighbouring economic centres.
To this end, the Borough would like the work planned by EXO at the Lachine station (Vaudreuil-Hudson line) to include an extension to its existing tunnel so that this station is finally connected to the industrial park, where there are thousands of workers. It would provide people who enjoy active transportation with a safe connection between the residential area to the south and the industrial area to the north. The Borough also wants to maintain service on this line, which is expected to experience a drop in ridership when the REM becomes operational.
Since the Canal station (Candiac line) is still considered temporary by the Quebec government, the Borough will recommend that it become permanent and that it be universally accessible. Strategically located on the same axis as the future tramway, it will be essential during the reconstruction of the Saint-Pierre interchange and will serve the new Lachine-Est Eco-district, a sector of more than 60 hectares undergoing major transformation: It will eventually include several employment centres, will be home to more than 10,000 new residents and will be developed in keeping with the principles of ecological transition. The Borough will support any new growth opportunities serving this line.
Developing the streetcar: building the resilient neighbourhoods of tomorrow
The Borough of Lachine has commissioned two studies that confirm that the streetcar, with it's exclusive right-of-way unencumbered by traffic, is the best mode of transportation to meet the needs of the community. It is one of the least expensive modes of transportation, can be easily integrated into the existing urban fabric and has a reputation for revitalizing neighbourhoods. It is quiet, comfortable, universally accessible, operational in all seasons, and it complements the existing network.
With a forecasted population growth of 37% over the next 15 years, Lachine anticipates the arrival of 16,600 new residents, bringing the total population to 61,089 by 2035. In order to support this demographic growth, which is among the largest in the metropolitan area, and in order to create efficient connections to the metro, to REM stations and to the Lachine-Est Eco-quartier development, the Borough supports the City of Montreal's decision to expedite study of a more expansive structuring project to develop this transportation axis that was first conceived as the western portion of the pink line.
Innovation in the field of freight transportation: evaluating the tram-cargo
The Lachine industrial park is strategically located between the Montreal airport and the Canadian Pacific and Canadian National rail yards, making it a hub for transportation logistics. Several renowned companies in this field have chosen Lachine to enhance their performance, including Amazon, UPS, U-Haul, Purolator and Fedex.
In a context where the transportation of goods by truck is skyrocketing in line with the growth of online shopping, it is important to find solutions that reduce traffic congestion and air pollution. According to data from the Montreal Metropolitan Community (MMC), GHGs produced by light trucks in Quebec have more than doubled since 1990 and those produced by heavy trucks have almost tripled. In order to improve industry standards, the borough is partnering with the industry to explore the feasibility of a tram-cargo that would use the same rails as the regular tramway.
"Today, more than ever, we are pleased to see that the collaboration between the ARTM, the Government of Quebec, the City of Montreal and the Lachine community is making it possible to develop projects that meet the challenges of our time," concluded Ms. Vodanovic.
Brief and presentation by the Borough : The streetcar to transform and revitalize the city on a human scale