After weeks of bickering with the City of Quebec, the Legault government confirmed its decline by authorizing, black on white in a decree, the choice of the shared street on René-Lévesque for the tramway project.
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Despite the rebellion of several CAQ ministers against this vision and the reluctance expressed by the Prime Minister who feared the impacts for motorists, the Legault government ended up rallying to the arguments of Mayor Bruno Marchand who got what he wanted.
The scenario of a shared street (between De Bourlamaque and De Salaberry avenues) in the Cartier sector has always been the one put forward by the City of Quebec. This means that motorists will have to reduce their speed to 20 km/h in this 500-meter zone and will have to cohabit on the same lane as cyclists and pedestrians.
Otherwise, they will have to resign themselves to taking parallel arteries such as Grande Allée and Chemin Sainte-Foy. Minister Éric Caire, it should be remembered, had criticized the City for “polluting the existence” of motorists before retracting.
A default recommendation
The environmental decree, signed by the Council of Ministers, suggests that it nevertheless recommends the shared street by default, since the City of Quebec has not sufficiently documented the two other variants originally proposed.
Abandoned by the Project Office, these variants would have made it possible to retain at least one traffic lane (eastbound) dedicated to motorists or even two exclusive lanes to vehicles. These scenarios, however, would have resulted in the felling of a larger number of trees on René-Lévesque, it was argued.
“In the case of a surface insertion in this section, considering the insufficient level of information to assess the impacts and mitigation measures of development variants 2 and 3 in the documents (…), these two variants cannot be made”, decides the Ministry of the Environment, acknowledging that there is only one valid option left: the shared street.
The decree also leaves the door open to underground insertion in the Cartier sector, but Mayor Bruno Marchand quickly closed it at the start of the afternoon on Friday.
Other conditions imposed
If the decrees relating to the launch of calls for tenders – which have not yet been issued – are not accompanied by specific conditions, the environmental decree itself has 18, as we have seen.
Several conditions are linked to the sound environment during the works or the operational phase of the future tramway, to air quality or to the protection of wetlands. None of these conditions surprised the mayor’s office, which has no doubts about its ability to fulfill them.