Pedestrians can take one last stroll along Mont-Royal Avenue, before cars reopen on their return from Labor Day. However, many would have preferred to prolong the experience.
“I would like this to continue into the fall. It is very early, and it is still sunny,” admitted Sandra Uloa, owner of Rutrafe jewelry store.
In her eyes, the experience was very positive for both her and her clients. “I love it, it changes the mood, especially with all the things they have done in terms of the layout. It makes the street beautiful. I love it,” she added.
She is far from the only woman to have made such an observation. On Friday, the QMI agency went to meet the traders on Mont-Royal Avenue. Nearly all of the ten people we met want to extend the walk in the fall for a few weeks.
“I would say another month won’t hurt. Or maybe open the pedestrian street first,” suggested François Crete, florist and owner of the shop at Les Champs Fleuris, which he opened this summer, when the avenue is already pedestrianized. was going on.
Since 8 June, the avenue has been closed to cars between Fullum Street and Saint-Laurent Boulevard, a distance of more than two kilometres. It is one of ten arteries entitled to have such an experience this summer.
Amanda Weisbrod, manager of the Bubbles store, believes this initiative helps improve the tourist experience in Montreal due to its uniqueness.
“I think it’s high. It’s been good for us, there are always a lot of people. I think it gives a good energy”, she said.
At Seduction Boutique, Jasmine and Lee compare the pedestrian street feel to a shopping center, which allows passersby to stroll at their own pace and take the time to look out shop windows.
“People have more time to stop and give shop a chance. There are some people who do not come to the sex shop by themselves otherwise. It also helps in attracting tourists,” said Lee.
“The facilities are beautiful. I wanted us to continue [la piétonnisation] later in the season. It is really pleasant, but there may be a lack of places where there is shade,” said Jasmine.
For his part, Adam at Five boutique owner Alex Renaud is already apprehensive about the transition period that is to come.
“A week before becoming a pedestrian, the road is very messy. We lose a lot of people when they rearrange. And when they’re going to reopen the road, nobody knows it’s no longer pedestrian and people won’t come by car anymore. Our sales are falling,” he said.
In 2020, then amid a pandemic, the city first launched the project, restricting some commercial arteries to cars to allow for better social distancing for pedestrians.
Recognizing that the experiment was successful, the municipal administration repeated it in 2021, with thirteen roads participating in the project.
In addition, in April, the city of Montreal announced funding of $12 million dedicated to the pedestrianization of its commercial arteries by 2024.
In the mayor’s office, we say that we are “proud” of the success of the pedestrian streets.
“We can confirm that pedestrian roads are now projects in their own right and not pilot projects. In collaboration with traders, the SDC and the population, we are now in the study phase of whether longer and more pedestrian projects are expected for years to come. Is it possible to make it or not,” said Alicia Dufour, press officer.