The knock-on benefits of Montreal’s pedestrianisation push

Picture: Eva Blue, via Valérie Plante/X
Picture: Eva Blue, via Valérie Plante/X

The pedestrianisation of streets doesn’t just make them better for commuters – it’s good for business, too.

For the past four years, Montreal, Canada, has made a 2.5-kilometre section of Mont-Royal Avenue – a busy road in the heart of the city – a no-go zone for vehicles during the summer months.

Initially, the goal was to make the city more walkable and appealing to citizens and visitors, but it’s delivered a number of knock-on benefits as well.

Most importantly, the vacancy rate of commercial premises on Mont-Royal has declined to just 5.6%, from 14.5% five years ago, according to mayor Valérie Plante.

“Since pedestrianisation, the avenue is more dynamic and busy than ever and business is good. A great success,” she said on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

In fact, it’s been so successful that officials have replicated the idea across the city.

In 2022, Time Out named Montreal’s Rue Wellington – which was also pedestrianised four years ago – as the “coolest” street in the world based on “food, fun, culture and community”.

Nine other busy streets were pedestrianised in the summer of 2023, according to The Globe and Mail.


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