How Would You Like Your Pine and Park?

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By Montreal standards, it was a remarkably quick construction project. Perhaps that is because it mostly involved deconstruction: an entire interchange dismantled and replaced with a straightforward, easy-to-negotiate and pedestrian-friendly surface intersection. It has already been several months since the revamped Pine/Park interchange was opened. Since then, I’ve come to appreciate its wide sidewalks and broad vista of Mount Royal, uncluttered by highway signage and crumbling concrete bretelles. I don’t think I’m alone, either, considering how much pedestrian traffic there seems to be at the new intersection.

Of course, the roads, sidewalks and light fixtures might be installed, but the intersection is far from complete. Four parcels of land on each corner of the intersection remain vacant. Now, the Plateau Mont-Royal borough wants to know what you think should be done with this space. Three stages of public consultation will take place this fall, culminating in what will hopefully become Montreal’s greatest new public space. The first stage, which will last until October 9th, is an open call for ideas. The borough has set up a form for you to share your vision of the interchange, so make yourself heard! The best ideas will be compiled and presented on November 9th, followed by a “grand échange” on the 24th.

Personally, I hope that the space at Pine and Park will be used for something dynamic and unconventional. I would love to see some sort of water feature — this city doesn’t have enough fountains — and a mix of uses that will ensure a constant level of activity year-round, perhaps including a bit of outdoor retail space for cafés and street vendors. Over the summer, community activists in the McGill Ghetto made it clear that residential development would not be tolerated, and I agree that condos would be a rather poor use for what is, after all, a bridge between downtown and the mountain. But simple park space, like some have proposed, would be just as bland and unimaginative.

But enough about me: what do you think? This is your space, Montreal. Tell us what you want!

Crossposted from Spacing Montreal.

This entry was written by Christopher DeWolf , posted on Thursday September 13 2007at 02:09 pm , filed under Canada and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

3 Responses to “How Would You Like Your Pine and Park?”

  • This project is one of the most annoying ones in Montreal. We were told that there would be a net increase in available green space once the interchange was demolished, but in effect two large roads have been added on the west side which have cut in half the lovely grassy expanse from the gazebo/band stand south, leaving actually less green space. It seems to me that this is just another example of how Mont Royal is being nibbled away. The changes planned for the Molson Stadium are another worry. So is the sorry state of sidewalks along Park Avenue. For anyone who walks this regularly (as thousands do every day) it has been and continues to be an obstacle course.

    Perhpas this attempt at city consultation is a belated response to criticism of the way the overpass re-do was handled. This is really one to watch carefully though, because certainly the city was not very forthcoming in their original information about the project (none of the maps showed the road that now cuts across the grass toward McGill.)

    Mary

  • Mary, I’m not sure if I agree. Although I can’t recall whether or not that road was noted in the original plans, I don’t find it offensive at all. In fact it’s very useful for pedestrians and cyclists since it creates a diagonal path between Park Avenue and McGill. Didn’t it replace another road that led up to the fire headquarters anyway?

  • Desmond Bliek says:

    Those new roads do cut through the park in a fairly alarming way, and significantly cut the distance of the lower mountain’s skate-ski loop. But man, there’s some nice skateboarding to be seen there in the summer…

    Chris- I agree that it’d be a shame to see more conventional park outside of the intersection’s northwest corner. It’s begging for a strong wall to be built, framing the park and giving this new entry to the city a good, strong edge. It would be great to bring more of the apartment buildings from further up Pine avenue down towards the Hôtel-Dieu, linking up a similar scale with that old school that was converted into condos, and giving Pine a fairly consistent scale and identity from East to West.

    It’s a pity that the arrondissement du Plateau Mont-Royal isn’t web 2.0 enough to integrate an ‘Upload your SketchUp model here’ function…