Summer carfree stretch of Montreal main street
- A piece from the Montreal Gazette today about the closing for most of
the summer of a nearly 1 km stretch of Sainte-Catherine Street, one of
Montreal's main commercial streets, in the "East" end Gay Village.
This stretch was carfree on several weekends last year and the year
before in August 2006, for a whole week during the OutGames hosted by
Montreal. To my knowledge this is the first carfree project of any
significance in Montreal, but still far from what has been put n place
in many European cities, or even the Rambla of Barcelona, or South
American cities or even Brisbane...
The affected area, for anyone who would like to find it on Google Maps
or Google Earth or another similar map tool, extends between
45°31'21.77"N by 73°33'8.13"W and 45°30'56.32"N by 73°33'32.03"W.
Terrasses taking shape as Gay Village gears up for strip without cars
ANNE SUTHERLAND, The Gazette
Published: 3 hours ago
The Gay Village is a hive of activity as merchants and construction
crews race against the clock to get 54 outdoor terrasses ready for
Planks line the sidewalks and workers with hammers, staple guns and
electric drills are banging together extensions to the bars,
restaurants and cafés that line the portion of Ste. Catherine St.
between Berri and Papineau Sts.
Until Sept. 1, terrasses will be allowed to extend beyond the
sidewalks and onto the pavement, which will be closed to vehicular
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Ville Marie borough mayor Benoit Labonté chats with workers
constructing a terrasse yesterday.
DAVE SIDAWAY, THE GAZETTE
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"We've got two days to put up eight terrasses and four teams working,"
Dave Raymond said yesterday as he and another member of the
construction battalion connected planks outside the Piazzetta
restaurant at Amherst and Ste. Catherine Sts.
"This is the greatest urban experience in Montreal this summer," said
Ville Marie borough mayor Benoit Labonté, out for a stroll yesterday
on the closed street. "This is not just a borough project, this is a
collective project involving the businesses and the merchants'
Closing Ste. Catherine St. in the Gay Village has been done twice
before on a temporary basis - for two weeks during the 2006 Outgames
and for six long weekends last summer.
Those dress rehearsals allowed the borough and the merchants to iron
out the problems of access for emergency and delivery vehicles and
As solutions, breakaway plastic poles have been installed allowing
ambulances and fire trucks to barrel through 13 streets that bisect
the closed portion of Ste. Catherine. The delivery of food and liquor
to restaurants and bars will only be allowed between 7:30 and 10:30
a.m. Speakers will not be permitted on terrasses or in windows.
Closing a street does not come cheap for either the city or the
Montreal will forfeit $300,000 in parking revenue from unused parking
meters for the duration of the street closing, Labonté said.
Each terrasse costs the merchant $500 - for the city to look inspect
the file, $350 for a surveyor to do the same thing, and $500 for the
SAQ to study the file and issue a permit for outdoor sales.
"We were told these were one- time costs, so if the terrasses are
allowed next year we won't pay again, just the price of a liquor
permit," said Sam Tharani of the Espressonet café.
What could prove more vexing to merchants who sell more wine than beer
is a deal that the Société de Développement Commercial (SDC) du
Village struck with Labatt Brewery to defray the costs of security,
cleanup, marketing and administration.
Labatt gave the SDC $100,000 worth of beer and, in return,
only Labatt products can be sold on terrasses. Each merchant with a
terrasse must purchase Labatt products from the SDC equal to 90 cents
per terrasse chair per day. For example, a bar with a 20-seat terrasse
will have to buy $1,350 worth of Labatt products.
"The total cost of the event is close to $1 million (including the
lost parking revenue) and the rest of the budget will be covered by
the SDC," said Dénis Brossard, president of the Société de
Développement Commercial du Village.
"There are hiccups the first time any event is held," Tharani said.
"This is a great pilot project, but the results have yet to be seen."
© The Gazette (Montreal) 200
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