Tram’s blind spots

On the eve of a new Committee of the Whole, The newspaper wanted to dwell on certain aspects of the tramway which are often discussed during the presentations of the project office, but which sometimes go under the radar, due to the abundance of information.

If the scenario favored by the City of Quebec materializes, a large portion of René-Lévesque Boulevard, in Montcalm, will become a shared street. Concretely, this would lead to a drastic limitation of the place of the car, since priority would be given to the tram, pedestrians and bicycles. The speed of cars would be lowered to 20 or 30 km/h, between avenue Belvédère and rue de Claire-Fontaine (east of the Grand Théâtre). Parking would be prohibited on René-Lévesque Boulevard, since only two traffic lanes – one in each direction – would be maintained. It is expected that 80% of road traffic will be diverted onto Grande Allée, which could raise the issue of through traffic.

Regis Labeaume

Photo Stevens LeBlanc

Regis Labeaume

The question comes up often. Why go back? After all, wasn’t the tramway removed from the streets of Quebec in favor of buses in 1948? Like its predecessor Regis LabeaumeBruno Marchand repeats to anyone who will listen that today’s technology has absolutely nothing to do with trams (or street cars) of the time. Many modern streetcars have emerged in recent years or are under construction around the world, including in Canada. “When we think of that, we think of the old trams that we see in Lisbon or that we have already seen in Quebec. We’re not there anymore. There have been metros for 50, 60, 70 years. Does that make it less modern? The car exists [aussi] for a long time and it is not outdated. It’s the same thing for the tramway”, replied the mayor during a facebook live last January 27.

Bruno Marchand

Photo Stevens LeBlanc

Bruno Marchand

At the end of January, the City of Quebec confirmed that the cost of the project had risen from $3.365 billion to $3.965 billion, an increase of $600 million (which we hope to reduce to $530 million). The volatility of the real estate market (the Municipality must make numerous acquisitions), inflation and the delay in the procurement process explain this additional cost. The mayor Bruno Marchand would like the additional costs to be absorbed in the same proportions as those of the project (50% from the Government of Quebec, 40% from Ottawa, 10% from the City). Although the two upper levels of government have shown openness, no formal agreement to complete the funding has yet been signed.

For the past few weeks, the new Marchand administration has been increasing citizen meetings, consultations and facebook live to better sell the project to a population that seems skeptical. The last Léger survey carried out in January illustrates the steepness of the slope that the Municipality must go up. Barely 41% of Quebec citizens say they support the tramway and 43% of respondents say they are little or not at all familiar with a project that was announced four years ago.

The concrete platform supporting the tramway will be “vegetated” over approximately 35% of its length, mainly in the west (Legendre sector, Pie-XII corridor, Laurier boulevard, Rochebelle campus, Laval University and Pôle Saint-Roch). “The final choice of plants is undetermined and will have to be tested, but turf, seeding herbaceous mixes or sedum mix are likely to be part of the group”, reads -on on the Facebook page of the project. The equipment used for snow removal in winter should make it possible to clear the rails without damaging the vegetation cover in these places, it is believed. Why not vegetate 100% of the platform? In dense urban environments, when cars are too close to the platform, de-icing salts could damage the plant surface, it was explained.

The project in numbers

19.3 km long (of which 1.8 km of tunnel), from Cap-Rouge to D’Estimauville;

29 resortsof which 2 underground ;

36 oars ;

100% electric ;

18,970 jobs created;

1584 trees cut along the course;

20 trees planted for each tree that disappeared;

Procurement process split in two: rolling stock and infrastructure;

■ Commissioning in 2028.

* A questionnaire on the insertion of the tramway in the Montcalm sector is online from March 4 to 25 on the Ville de Québec website.

Leave a Comment