Tramway in Saint-Charles-Garnier: cars could lose their tracks

The City of Quebec unveiled, Wednesday evening, three “imperfect” scenarios to insert the tramway on René-Lévesque, in the Saint-Charles-Garnier sector. One of them provides for the withdrawal of cars altogether.

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“There is nothing that is decided in advance,” assured Mayor Bruno Marchand, who did not want to announce his colors and the choice he preferred. He prefers, this time, to take the pulse of the population before deciding.

A few weeks ago, the mayor of Quebec had already mentioned the possibility of dropping the Saint-Charles-Garnier station to save a majestic alley of mature trees in this sector. This is another scenario on the table right now.

Possible shared street

That of the shared street, also envisaged by the City, with a reduced speed of 20 km / h (as in the Cartier sector, between avenues De Bourlamaque and De Salaberry), is on the menu, he confirmed. In a shared street, the car keeps its lane, but it must cohabit with pedestrians and cyclists in the same space.

The balance will be difficult to find. Each scenario has advantages and disadvantages.

Scenario 1 (the shared street) is the one that will have the greatest impact on the felling of trees, deemed inevitable. Other trees will be replanted. Scenario 2 (removing the station from a strategic crossroads) would have a major impact on the movement of workers and students in this very busy hub.

Tramway in Saint-Charles-Garnier: cars could lose their tracks

Courtesy illustration, Quebec City

Tramway in Saint-Charles-Garnier: cars could lose their tracks

Courtesy illustration, Quebec City

As for scenario 3 (removal of traffic lanes in a short section near Collège Saint-Charles-Garnier), the impact will be felt on automobile traffic and neighboring streets.

Tramway in Saint-Charles-Garnier: cars could lose their tracks

Courtesy illustration, Quebec City

No ideal solution

“We would like to tell you that there is an ideal solution that meets all the challenges,” admitted the mayor, acknowledging that there was none. “We will make a choice together through the choices that are offered,” he said.

“Tonight, we are not telling you what we are prioritizing. I don’t want to influence the consultation. First, I want us to hear from the citizens and the workers in that sector. It is a very strong center of workers. There are 5500 workers. The voice of citizens is going to be very important […] Not everything will be answered tonight and we have to accept that.

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Upcoming Consultations

The representatives of the City repeated several times, Wednesday evening, that it was about an session of information. Nearly 600 people from the Saint-Sacrement, Sillery and Cité-Universitaire districts were registered for this virtual activity.

Other evenings of discussions with citizens will take place on April 20 (face-to-face) and April 21 (virtually). An online consultation will take place from April 22 to May 8.

Impact on Grande Allee

Asked about the effects of the shared street on René-Lévesque (between De Bourlamaque and De Salaberry avenues), the director of the transport and mobility department, Marc des Rivières, confirmed that the number of vehicles that travel along Grande Allée is expected to increase from 21-22,000 daily to around 33,000 vehicles per day in 2028.

Mitigation measures are planned, however, to try to improve travel time for motorists. The addition of cameras and fiber optics to operate traffic lights remotely should improve travel time.

Faster than the Metrobus

Asked by citizens about specific travel times, the director of the design and integration division of the Project Office, Benoît Carrier, argued that the tram would be faster than the Metrobus, because of its priority at traffic lights.

He referred to a “net gain”, for example, to get to Laval University from Cartier station and during the morning rush hour. Currently, Metrobuses take 13 to 17 minutes to cover the distance. If nothing is done by 2028, the City estimates that the conditions will deteriorate and that the same journey will take between 15 and 20 minutes by bus, compared to 10 minutes by tram.

cars on the platform

The concrete platform, exclusive to the tram on almost the entire 19 km route, will also be shared with motorists on a short section of around 200 meters in Sillery, between rue du Parc-Gomin and avenue Le Norman, we recalled.

“It is an exceptional situation. This type of insertion was chosen to avoid having an impact on the cemeteries on either side, explained Maxime Béland, from the Project Office. Traffic management will be done with light signals at each end, ”he explained.

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