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Quebec to open ‘project office’ for potential Metro orange line extension

Rapid transit buses also under study for Notre-Dame and Saint-Martin axes

The provincial government has announced it will be setting up a project office in Laval in order to study the feasibility of implementing an improved north-south public transit axis between Laval and Montreal – including a Metro orange line extension from Montreal to the western and northern districts of this city.

The announcement was made on Thursday last week by CAQ Transport Minister François Bonnardel, along with Laval mayor Stéphane Boyer and Sainte-Rose CAQ MNA Christopher Skeete.

Although they were vague as to the form the project will take, they said the project office will be mandated to carry out studies to determine the best way to implement efficient service, while seeking ways to reduce road traffic congestion.

Transit improvements

“We are giving ourselves the means to support sustainable mobility in Laval through projects that will be complementary in the north-south and east-west axes,” Bonnardel said, adding that the provincial government has been spending record sums on public transit since first being elected nearly four years ago. “These projects will help provide efficient public transit options for citizens,” he said.

At the same time, Bonnardel announced the implementation of a new rapid transit bus service (BRT) to be located on Notre-Dame and de la Concorde boulevards in west and central Laval. The route would be set up between Curé-Labelle and des Laurentides boulevards.

According to the government, the Transport Ministry will also examine the feasibility of creating another BRT on Saint-Martin Blvd. to relieve congestion on this very busy artery.

Improved mobility

Mayor Boyer said the three announcements hold the potential “to positively change the daily lives of the entire Laval population since they will completely improve our mobility.”

He said the Saint-Martin Blvd. public transit project alone would connect half the neighbourhoods in Laval to one another, and would promote the development of the city.

A statement issued by the transport ministry said the government was expressing its “willingness to support” the Notre-Dame/de la Concorde SRB project though the creation of the project office, without offering any specific commitment.

Overseen by project office

It might be noted that in the past, similar offices have been created for projects such as the extension of Cavendish Blvd. in west-end Montreal, even though the Cavendish project, after a multitude of announcements, is still far from going ahead, fifty years after first being proposed.

The projects hold the potential “to positively change the daily lives of the entire Laval population,’ said Mayor Boyer

The Société de transport de Laval currently provides 600 bus service transits per day in the areas the Laval project office will be studying, transporting 13,500 passengers daily. The STL says that it has already established a project office of its own, in conjunction with the City of Laval, the Ministry of Transport and the Autorité régionale de transport métropolitain (ARTM).

Taking action, says Skeete

“In fifteen years or so, Laval has seen itself transformed into a true centre of employment,” said Christopher Skeete. “Therefore, it is necessary to take significant actions for mobility in order to improve the quality of life of all Laval residents. These three important projects will help support sustainable and responsible development in the region.”

Planning ahead

In the decade from 2011 to 2021, the City of Laval has seen its population increase by 9 per cent. According to projections made by the Institut de la statistique du Québec, the acceleration in population will reach 15 per cent in the coming two decades.

Officials at the municipal and provincial levels believe that this rate of demographic growth will place a heavier burden on basic local infrastructure, including public transit services.