Needed: a bike bridge to access Pont Jacques Cartier sidewalk from the north direction
Montreal is an island. It needs bridges to the north and south shores of the Saint Laurence River.
But what if we need a bridge to get to the sidewalk on the bridge?
This is the problem cyclists are faced with when they try to access the Pont Jacques Cartier Bridge from the Plateau or anywhere north/west of Ontario street.
The present-day access to this bridge is from the south only. OK if you are coming from the Rene-Levesque bike path, but the majority of Montrealers live north of Rene Levesque!
The usual from-the-north access to the Pont Jacques Cartier is via de Champlain street, turning at rue Lafontaine. It is impossible to get across Papineau north that is the main bridge artery for outbound traffic. The walk signal in the street light permits a walk signal every 4 minutes, a very slow time, and a long wait for cyclists. Then, the inersection is made for pedestrians only, it is narrow, the sidewalk ramp is offset from the sidewalk to the bridge, this sidewalk is in terrible condition and it has no separate lanes for pedestrian and bicycle traffic. We could go on, but our point is: cyclist access from the north for Pont Jacques Cartier is inadequate and unsafe.
We propose an architecturally interesting bridge over Papineau from Lafontaine street. Building access bridges for safe bike access is done all over the south shore. Some of these bridges are quite attractive. We can do it here too!
We were promised that connecting the Pont Jacques Cartier to the bike path network to the north (i.e. Rachel street bike path) was a Ville de Montreal priority and it would be done "soon."
We need a campaign to make the Pont Jacques Cartier bike-access safer and and more accessible for cyclists coming from the north. Crossing the various busy road-traffic access roads to the bridge is dangerous and anti-active-transport. A bike-bridge is the best solution. Is the city listening?
We love the Pont Jacques Cartier. Montrealers deserve a safer and more convenient route to get to the bridge itself.
The south side of the bridge is no perfect-world either! In Jongueuil the bike path goes down to one metre in total width, but this is promised to be improved in 2010. (one hopes this also includes installing maps/signage to identify links to the existing south shore bike paths?)
Perhaps we could synchronize the improvements to the south and north sides of this magnificent bridge? Governments acting together? Don't laugh, it could happen.