The contrast between them was striking on Thursday a Quebec mayor who advocated a revolution in cities for sustainable mobility and public transportand a Quebec government unveiling its new version of an outdated highway project.
The day before the Legault administration presented the reduced version of the third link, Mayor Bruno Marchand was on a tour of the Montreal media.
The first elected representative of Quebec therefore called for a united front of the cities around common goals such as mobility and public transport, the environment and social housing. His photo and his clear words filled several national daily newspapers with ideas that reflect the concerns of the modern age.
As Mr Marchand has said many times since his election, cities need to become more autonomous and be able to diversify their revenues. The mayor of Montreal supports his claims, as do many other mayors.
The Mayor is particularly concerned about climate change and the legacy our generations will bequeath to young people. He’s taken to making city announcements next to a chair decorated by the children of La Parenthèse of École Sacré-Coeur de Québec, who sit permanently on the executive committee.
Driven by this leitmotif, Bruno Marchand is concerned about the urban sprawl that the third link will cause until proven otherwise.
The mayor’s speech is frankly refreshing compared to that of the CAQ trying to boost its third link with no study or details on the cost.
Transport Minister François Bonnardel sees “a fashion” in densification. “Who are we to say to these families because it’s fashionable today, compaction, that you have to live in a tower,” he asked himself on Thursday at the unveiling of the “new” third link.
The task of a modern government that has to find solutions to the region’s congestion problems is precisely to avoid urban sprawl. This is a well known and documented phenomenon.
But that’s exactly what the Québec-Lévis Tunnel will do, experts say. It will encourage people to settle further afield and force them to travel by car in increasing numbers and over longer distances.
A project from another time when we multiplied road links, the third link will not solve Quebec’s congestion problems. It will only help.