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Expected expansion of Montreal express bike lane praised by cyclists, merchants despite some pushback
CTV News Montreal Videojournalist
Published Aug. 8, 2022 8:00 p.m. EDT
The dedicated bike path along St-Denis street in Montreal has become so popular that it’s expected to be expanded, but not everyone is thrilled with the idea.
With more than a million rides a year, the Réseau express vélo (REV) bike path along St. Denis street is being hailed as a success and talks have started to expand the network.
“We want more people to try new methods, they have to have options, the REV is an option,” said Catherine Boundjia, the Quebec Liberal party candidate for the Mercier riding.
Just like sidewalks, some people believe bike lanes should be offered on more streets. Severine Lepage from the ghost-bike organization Vélo fantôme said the city has to rethink its road system.
“There’s not enough cycle paths on main arteries. There’s enough room on all our streets to have a REV on all major arteries if we want to, it’s just a matter of sharing space. Enough space for sidewalks, bike lanes, parking and cars to travel,” Lepage said.
Jacques Nacouzi, a REV rider and merchant on St. Denis, said the bike path is good for his business, Les Ateliers Kikicode.
“If you compare my 2019 to 2022, my revenues have doubled. Is it only because of the REV? No, there are many factors, but the rev definitely has helped,” he said as families cycled past him on the bike path.
Boundjia added that a greener future for travel is the way to go. “It’s important our neighbours understand the long-term vision,” she said, which is “to reduce the effect of climate change and to increase active mobility.”
Some shop owners contacted by CTV News on Monday who did not want to be interviewed on camera said that they didn’t think the REV led to an increase in their sales.
The St. Denis Merchants’ Association wrote, however, that the occupancy rate on the stretch between Roy and Gilford is about 81.5 per cent — the highest rate since the association started keeping records three years ago.
Nacouzi said he has some advice for business owners who may be faced with a bike path in front of their own storefront
“Ask for it and ask for it quickly,” he said. “It will definitely help you, it will bring new customers, it will change the experience of the street.”