Servicing the North Shore by public transport

Believing that an important chapter concerning them has been omitted or forgotten in the draft Strategic Development Plan (PSD) unveiled by the Regional Metropolitan Transport Authority (ARTM), the prefects and elected officials of the Northern Crown propose a series of measures which they consider to be missing from the document, including the establishment of a new line of the Metropolitan Express Network (REM) in the east-west axis of Highway 640, an option that must be studied immediately in their opinion.
On behalf of the Table of Prefects and Elected Officials of the North Crown (TPÉCN), the mayor of Boisbriand, Marlene Cordato, and the mayor of Terrebonne, Marc-André Plante, thus unveiled, last Monday, as part of a virtual press conference, the brief that their group will submit in response to the document presented last October by the ARTM.
In the summary of the brief, which the media have obtained a copy of, the Table of Prefects and Elected Representatives wrote as follows: “The A-640 axis should constitute the foundation of the structuring network of public transport in the North Crown and connect the main development centers of this, the three train lines and their stations, the extensions of the REM in the north-south axis and the Notre-Dame axis. The A-640 axis must play a dual role: to become the backbone of the regional structure on the northern crown and, simultaneously, to ensure integration into the structuring networks leading to Laval and the island of Montreal …
The North Shore has changed.
Both mayors believe that for many in the Northern Crown that believe in the thinking, sleep at North Shore and work in Montreal during the day, is outdated and no structural project in terms of public transport has been realized for a long time.
“Our region is experiencing strong demographic, economic and job creation growth, the strongest in the entire greater Montreal area for several years. Unfortunately, the low level of amplitude and frequency of bus services and the lack of structuring equipment are all obstacles to the development of the North Shore and of the entire metropolitan region. We therefore want the ARTM document to be revised in order to include the northern crown in its vision,” said Mayor Cordato, mentioning that the number of car trips jumped by 18% between 2008 and 2013, while transit trips increased only 3% during the same period.
“This trend is not the consequence of ill will on the part of our fellow citizens, but rather of a shortage of public transport which lasts and persists”, added Mayor Codato, while Mayor Plante argued that the new reality is that 66% of morning trips are now made within the northern crown.
The “remedial measures”
In addition to this east-west axis of the REM, which would extend from Oka to Terrebonne, the Table of Prefects and Elected Officials are proposing what it calls a series of other “remedial measures.”, Namely the extension of the REM towards Boisbriand when it passes through Laval; the development of reserved lanes and park-and-ride lots on the existing highway network; the improvement of the service of the Mascouche line or the installation of an antenna which would extend the extension of the REM from downtown Montreal to the east of Montreal to Repentigny; the extension of the Deux-Montagnes REM to the Mirabel airport zone; as well as the improvement of the current bus service.
The two mayors are aware that everything will not happen overnight, that their memory is “ambitious” and that it will be realized beyond the current decade, but that it is necessary to work on it now to avoid any delay.
And as for the costs that this will entail, Ms Cordato believes that it is more appropriate to ask, “what is the cost of doing nothing”.