Josh Freed: Montreal’s great COVID roads experiment


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Welcome to Covidtown Street Laboratories, a vast new Montreal experiment in how we use our city, after Hurricane COVID-19 ripped through town.

With many Montrealers planning summer “staycations” in Kitchenland and Balconville, city hall says it wants to make Montreal a people-friendly summer “laboratory.”

IT is  experimenting with everything from “sanitary walking corridors” and temporary “safe” bike paths to entire streets transformed into outdoor terrasses.

But will it all work? I’ve been testing the city’s new Covidtown creations and here’s an early report card:

Experiment 1: Mont-Royal Ave. has now been totally closed to traffic all summer from Parc Ave. heading east, in what a city contractor overseeing it told me is “the longest pedestrian street in the world.”

I spent a night wandering the street, a lively scene filled with strollers, shoppers and bustling reopened restaurant terrasses. It’s got a great festive vibe in our festival-free-Festival City.



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