More room for pedestrians in Old Montreal as of 2024

10 Jun 2024


Go back to NewsMore room for pedestrians in Old Montreal as of 2024Zone priorité piétonne du Vieux-Montréal

Pedestrians will once again be at the heart of Old Montreal's historic district, as the first phase of the Pedestrian Priority Zone (PPZ) is gradually implemented this year.

This first phase targets the three main pedestrian and visitor areas of Old Montreal: Place d'Armes, Place Jacques-Cartier and Rue Saint-Paul, as well as Rue de la Commune. Following the example of other pedestrianized historic cores around the world, by 2030 Old Montreal will be progressively secured by traffic calming measures. To ensure an optimal project that meets the aspirations of the neighborhood and the needs of its residents and merchants, the configurations of future phases will continue to evolve, taking into account the results of each phase.

Starting in the summer of 2024, and in line with the completion of construction work in the area, the City will contribute to calming the neighborhood and restoring public space to the population within the quadrilateral bounded by the axis of Place d'Armes and Saint-Antoine, Berri and de la Commune streets, through the following interventions:

Enhancement of Place d'Armes
by transforming peripheral streets into shared streets, and by pedestrianizing the section of street in front of Notre-Dame Basilica on a permanent basis;

Enhance the experience on rue de la Commune
by creating a sustainable mobility corridor between boulevard Saint-Laurent and rue Berri, including :
Maintaining all terraces and widening pedestrian space;
Making the street one-way and restricting access to all vehicles except buses (STM, tourist, school), cabs, local deliveries and emergency vehicles;
Creation of a two-way bike lane on the south side of rue de la Commune.

Continued pedestrianization of Place Jacques-Cartier and Rue Saint-Paul

While they are currently pedestrianized during the summer season, Place Jacques-Cartier and Rue Saint-Paul will now remain pedestrianized year-round, preserving the tourist appeal of these areas for their many visitors.

These measures will be phased in over the coming months.

Old Montreal, as the historic heart of the metropolis, a living environment and a key tourist destination, has a limited road infrastructure that is under heavy pressure from through traffic. This configuration puts the safety of pedestrians and more vulnerable road users at risk, and necessitated interventions to ensure safe movement and better cohabitation of uses. In addition to improving the experience of the thousands of people who travel through this busy area every year, these measures will reduce pressure on Old Montreal and limit through-traffic.

All trips by local residents, as well as those wishing to enjoy the cultural and gastronomic offerings of Montreal's historic district, were taken into account, regardless of the mode of transport chosen. To this end, access to the various parking lots in the neighborhood has been maintained.

"Starting this year, the gradual implementation of the first-ever Pedestrian Priority Zone will calm the busy Old Montreal district, ensuring the safety and comfort of the most vulnerable users, many of whom stroll through the area throughout the year. Thanks to this project, residents and visitors to the area will enjoy an improved experience that will enhance the attractiveness and dynamism of Old Montreal. By putting people back at the heart of public space and facilitating cohabitation with other users, this project anchors our historic district in the zeitgeist and aims for greater inclusivity, for the benefit of all,” stated Sophie Mauzerolle, Executive Committee member responsible for transportation and mobility.

A joint vision with the community
Old Montreal's needs are as diverse as its players. In the fall of 2023, the city launched a major consultation process to ensure the development of an optimal project.

The Comité de concertation du Vieux-Montréal, which brings together more than twenty organizations from various sectors (government and municipal partners, merchants, employers, tourism industry representatives, residents' groups, cultural and museum institutions, environmental organizations and organizations promoting active mobility) was heavily involved in the development of this project.

About the Pedestrian Priority Zone (PPZ)
A pedestrian-priority zone is an area where pedestrians take precedence over other road users, without automobile traffic being systematically closed. Pedestrian Priority Zones are generally designed to enhance historic and heritage areas, such as Old Montreal. The Old Montreal ZPP aims to protect and enhance the heritage site, promote pedestrian-friendly cohabitation, support residents' quality of life, enhance the district's attractiveness and economic vitality, and improve access to local services. The measures implemented will be constantly monitored for adjustments and improvements, throughout the implementation of the various phases.