Cycling REV would be beneficial, according to Public Health

Controversial during its implementation, the Réseau express vélo (REV) would rather have benefits for health and the reduction of inequalities, according to a report by the Direction régionale de santé publique (DRSP) of Montreal.

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“There is no negative impact to this cycle network there. We did not note any in our study, if we are talking from a point of view of the health of users”, summarized Anne Pelletier, one of the authors of the study, and head of the environmental health and pathways service. life in urban areas at the DRSP.

The final report, which is not yet public, analyzes the network in all of what is planned, which should eventually include 17 cycle routes. The DRSP recommends that the city go ahead with the implementation of all of these to obtain the full benefits.

“The development of REV is a tool that is essential to improve security and also access at several levels. The deployment of all axes would have beneficial impacts on all road users,” explained Ms. Pelletier.

Unsurprisingly, it is stated that with its lanes physically separated from vehicular traffic, “the REV has the potential to improve the safety of bicycle travel and increase the perceived safety of regular users as well as the most fearful.”

Especially since the rate of injured or deceased cyclists is “higher on the metropolitan arterial network with several traffic lanes”.

In this regard, the report recommends, among other things, to “systematically” set up cycle paths physically separated from traffic on major roads, and to set up road improvements to promote traffic calming.

The DRSP proposes to re-evaluate, within five years, the contribution that the REV will have had to improving the safety of cyclists.

“An isolated cycling network improves the development and safety of users, and it allows many people to try using a bike,” said Peltier.

The study also notes that 54% of public schools in Montreal are located less than 500 meters from a bicycle network physically separated from traffic. A proportion that will rise to 66% following the implementation of the other axes of the REV.

Currently, fewer public schools in underprivileged areas have access to a bicycle network, a gap which, without being totally eliminated, would nevertheless be reduced by the implementation of the other sections of the REV.

The number of nearby public transit access points (less than 50 meters for a metro exit, and 25 meters for a bus stop) would also double. Despite this improvement, a large proportion of intersections near the transit network are not covered, the report says.

“One of the benefits [du REV], is to be able to easily access the public transport network. Often, metro entrances or bus stops are on very busy streets. To be able to access it directly, it will be really easier, ”said Peltier.

The report nevertheless indicates that certain neighborhoods where the number of people with low incomes is greater, such as Saint-Michel or Montréal-Nord, will not be well served by the bicycle network. The DRSP recommends prioritizing investments in these boroughs and ensuring that each neighborhood is well served.

“In general, there is a delay in the development of the cycle network in the slightly more disadvantaged neighborhoods of the island. And these are areas where there are a lot of arteries, so a lot of cars crossing at high speed. They deserve to have more protection for cyclists and pedestrians,” judge Peltier.

For the moment, the Réseau express vélo (REV) is present on five axes in Montreal. In the fall, that of rue Saint-Denis had recorded more than a million passages, less than a year after its entry into service.

Eventually, according to what has been planned, the network should include 17 axes, which will extend over 184 km across the island.

At the City, we confirm that we have “great ambitions” for the development of the network of cycle paths.

“Accelerating the ecological transition is a priority and the cycling network plays a central role in reducing our GHGs, since 40% of emissions come from transport. We look forward to presenting the development plan for the Montreal cycling network to the public in the near future, which will include the next phases of the REV,” said Catherine Cadotte, press officer in the office of the mayor of Montreal.

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