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Metro Roulette: de la Concorde, in the making

Posted by Hannah / June 20, 2006

concorde.jpgIn an ironic twist on the public-transport versus personal-vehicle debate, I had to drive to my Metro Roulette station. De la Concorde is still being built. Over 5 kilometres of tunnel have been carved out beneath Rivière des Praries, connecting the island of Laval to the island of Montreal, but the first train won't run until early 2007.

concorde%203.jpgDe la Concorde is the second of three stations--all in Laval--to be added to the Orange line. The construction of this trio of stations puts an end to the provincial government's metro moratorium and celebrates 40 years since the Cote-Vertu-Henri-Bourassa (orange) line was finished in 1966. In fact, it's been more than 20 years since a metro stop was added to Montreal's underground.

The station will serve as a transportation hub. It provides the Blainville commuter train another access point to the metro, and will feature a Kiss'N'Ride (what's that in French?) drop off, a taxi-stand and bike racks.The AMT estimates that the extension will bring 50,000 passengers through the new stations and pull 3,000 cars from the roads and bridges daily, easing some Laval-Montreal commuter congestion.

Gilles Vallencourt, the Laval mayor, told CTV's news magazine On Assignment that the improved accessibility will allow the city to focus on a more pedestrian-friendly phase of urban development. And, quite frankly, the neighbourhood around de la Concorde station could use it. (Apart from the Maison des arts a little less than a kilometre down the road.) Some blocks west of the station, de la Concorde street turns into a wide boulevard split by islands of green. It has a quaint, village-like feel that encourages walking. What the intersection does have is a bike path (part of La Route Verte) that leads down to the water, where one can tour a series of riverside parks and a bizarre assortment of housing styles ranging from suburban McMansions, ascetic modern boxes and one-storey mid-century bungalows.

concorde%202.jpgLike the metro systems other stations de la Concorde is expected to pull natural light into the station's depths and feature artwork as part of the Quebec government's 1% funding plan.

Although, in essence, the Laval extension is a good thing, the project is hopelessly over-budget--nearly $700 million. Our own MP contributors Sara and Mike describe the Laval metro extension project as a boondoggle.

Our metro system is reputed to be the second-largest in Canada, but it still screams for improvements. The ticketing system is archaic, the price of a ride is outrageous (and discourages commuters from leaving their cars behind) and its reach remains pathetic. Certainly not the mega-metro that was envisioned back in the sixites. metro%20plan.jpg

Discussion

15 Comments

Dave / June 20, 2006 at 01:47 pm
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The fact that the extention into Laval is soooo over budget really kills me. It pretty much guarantees no more expantions for quite some time.

Although the fare of a ride seems expensive, when you compare it to Toronto, who have a Student Rate Bus Pass at around $100 per month, it's really not that bad.

In terms of the new station itself, it's nice to see it incorporate some natural light. Always appreciated.
Sara / June 20, 2006 at 08:38 pm
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metro to the airport! shit yeah!
Dave / June 20, 2006 at 10:40 pm
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Well, it won't be that far off. A hotel is currently under construction at the airport's main terminal. Under the hotel will be two things. 1: new US flight check in and immigration facilities. 2: a train station for the high speed rail link to downtown Montreal.
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