How will the future Rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest function?

    The future Rue Sainte-Catherine will offer a new downtown experience. The street will be transformed to adapt to 21st-century urban and commercial realities. 

    The typical configuration will be rethought to place greater importance on integrated mobility and respond to new consumer habits. In addition to wider sidewalks (an average of 6.2 metres), the City has opted for a configuration that will create a single lane of traffic and eliminate street parking. Open spaces that give pedestrians priority will be created and dotted with interconnected places.

    How will the street be more user-friendly?

    Rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest will be modernized and offer a unique atmosphere and inviting public places. Consisting of wider sidewalks for greater convenience in all seasons, it will also have the potential to be converted into a pedestrian mall on request. The artery will be bordered by urban furniture specifically designed for Rue Sainte-Catherine and a row of trees will be planted every 9 metres in continuous tree wells to ensure their healthy growth. The future Rue Sainte-Catherine will be made more beautiful, cleaner, greener and, most of all, more appealing. It will be a genial meeting place, peaceful yet full of life, an ideal spot for strolling and making new discoveries in all seasons.

    How will the future Rue Sainte-Catherine be a smart street?

    Free Wi-Fi and new LED lighting are the main elements that will make Rue Sainte-Catherine a smart street.

    What is the scope of the work on Rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest?

    Phase 1 of the work covered the area between Rue De Bleury and Rue Mansfield. Work operations carried out from January to May of 2018 involved the rehabilitation of a sewer main. The underground infrastructure work that began in February 2019, between Boulevard Robert-Bourassa and Rue De Bleury, is now completed.

    Work on the roads and sidewalks (made of concrete paving blocks), between Rue Saint-Alexandre and Rue De Bleury, began in July 2019. These work operations are on hold for the winter and will resume in the spring of 2020. The final phase of development work on Rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest, between Boulevard Robert-Bourassa and Rue De Bleury, is expected to be completed in the fall of 2020. Work operations between Boulevard Robert-Bourassa and Rue Mansfield will start in 2020. Work operations between Boulevard Robert-Bourassa and Rue Mansfield will start in March 2020.

    Phase 1 of the project will also include work on Square Philips, Place du Frère-André and the adjacent streets. Ongoing work aimed at decontaminating the old public toilets at Square Phillips were completed in December 2019. Underground infrastructure work on the Square will begin in the fall of 2020.

    Work operations under Phase 2 of the project, between Rue Mansfield and Avenue Atwater, are scheduled to begin in 2022. Finally, work operations on Avenue McGill College, between Rue Cathcart and Rue Sherbrooke, should begin in 2023.

    What will the City do to reduce the impact of the work on traffic?

    The City hopes to control and minimize as much as possible any irritants to citizens, shop owners and users of the street while the work is carried out. As part of the project planning, experts from the City and Ville-Marie Borough were involved in developing mitigation measures involving work sequencing. The City is committed to ensuring that the work is well coordinated to reduce any impact on traffic and improve the quality of communications with citizens. All the sector’s worksites are also being coordinated. 

    Liaison officer assigned to the project: Louis-Marc Bédard  (7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.)
    Telephone: 514 867-9339. e-mail: stecatherineouest@ville.montreal.qc.ca

    What does the City intend to do to reassure shop owners?

    Montréal is doing everything possible to maintain the vitality of the street during the work. The Service du développement économique has implemented a support plan for the business community as part of the commerce framework of the Plan. The support plan is specifically designed for owners of shops adjacent to the Rue Sainte-Catherine worksite.

    The PR@M-Sainte-Catherine Program has two components. The first, which involves the deployment of street entertainment and promotional campaigns, is aimed at supporting commercial activity and maintaining customer traffic. The second consists of grants to renovate commercial buildings. Details of the program are available here

    The city has also launched a financial assistance program for establishments affected by the major work operations in the area. Under the program, merchants can receive a grant of up to $30,000 per financial year. Details of the program are available here

    Will delivery zones be maintained despite the single-lane traffic configuration?

    Deliveries will continue during and after work on the street. Staff in charge of relations with neighbourhood residents and shop owners will be in contact with those affected to identify their delivery requirements during the work.

    Once the work is completed, the final single-lane configuration will make for fast and efficient deliveries thanks to a sufficiently wide street that will not affect traffic flow.

    Available delivery zones during winter break

    Why was the concept of heated sidewalks not retained?

    Heated sidewalks were a bold and innovative option, one that would have lent a distinctive character to the experience on this commercial strip, winter and summer. However, following further study the idea was shelved in 2018, even though it was implemented in other municipal projects (Place Vauquelin). The decision not to go with heated sidewalks was based on the fact that the overall investment and the operating costs associated with energy and infrastructure maintenance were deemed to be too high in comparison with traditional snow removal operations, in the case of Rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest. Instead, the city emphasized the design work, by integrating measures to facilitate and optimize snow removal operations, for example by providing sufficient space between street furniture elements for snow removal equipment.


    Does the park at Square Phillips really need to be redeveloped?

    In the current circumstances, the municipal administration holds the view that it makes sense to maintain scheduled investments in public works, particularly in projects undertaken in key areas. These include the downtown redevelopment project, which will ultimately play a key part in the city’s economic recovery. 

    The same logic applies to the Square Phillips project. It is aimed at transforming an iconic landmark into an oasis of greenery in the downtown core, one that is sure to improve the visitor experience. Specifically, the project calls for planting 34 new trees, an additional 20 per cent of seating space, a 30 per cent expansion of the square, to go along with play fountains and free WIFI.

    Work on Square Phillips began with the decontamination of the old public toilets. These work operations began in the summer of 2019 and were completed in December 2019. The next phase of work operations on the square will begin in the fall of 2020 and continue until the end of 2021. These work operations will include the rehabilitation of certain infrastructures on adjacent streets and the redevelopment of the public square.

    Prohibiting motorists from parking on Montréal’s iconic Rue Sainte-Catherine will kill businesses and lead to the street’s decline.

    The new concept for Phase 1 of the Rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest Redevelopment Project places pedestrians front and centre. As it stands, the space allocated to pedestrians is clearly insufficient in relation to the pedestrian traffic observed during certain periods: 6,000 pedestrians per hour during peak summer periods, and 8,000 per hour on Black Friday.

    This focus on pedestrians is among the key elements identified in the various consensus-building and consultation activities dating back to 2014. It is as true in 2020 as it was in 2014, and that’s what is projected and desired for the future.

    This project is part of a broader vision whose aim is to improve the consumer experience downtown and highlight its distinctive character compared to the shopping mall experience. The widening of the sidewalks will provide more space for terraces (making for a livelier downtown) and street furniture (greater potential for rest areas) and make it possible to increase the city’s green canopy.

    On the issue of reducing the number of available parking spaces on the street, the city continues to deploy a dynamic parking guidance system downtown, with the installation of electronic signs displaying the number of parking spaces available and the direction in which they are located. These signs point the way to 11,000 off-street parking spaces. Eventually, more than 100 such signs will be installed downtown.

    What consensus are you referring to when you talk about Rue Sainte-Catherine being pedestrianized? Where was this information obtained (surely not from merchants)?

    The concept of the new Rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest is based on a broad-ranging public consultation process carried out in 2014 with the objective of rallying the actors concerned around a project that fulfils the aspirations of Montrealers. While the pedestrianization scenario was raised in the course of the consultations, the true consensus on the issue stems from the primary focus is on the pedestrian experience of the street. Also expressed was a desire to adopt a street configuration that is compatible with that of a pedestrian street. In the short term, the plan is to maintain pedestrianization activities on an occasional basis, notably in connection with events.   

    To sum up, the consultation process included various public interaction and consensus-building activities with leading community actors: 

    • Speaking to people on the street (more than 450 people interviewed)
    • Meetings with discussion groups made up of more than 100 stakeholders and key actors (six meetings)
    • Tabling of memorandums (30 tabled) 
    • Public survey (800 respondents)


    A summary of the consultations is available on the project’s Web platform at  https://www.amenagermontreal.ca/sainte-catherine-nouvelles 

    Resumption of work operations

    2018 work operations

    Work on the Rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest Redevelopment Project began in 2018 with preparatory work (rehabilitation of the collector between Robert-Bourassa and De Bleury and construction of access pits for the Commission des services électriques between Mansfield and Robert-Bourassa).  These preparatory work operations were carried out from January to May of 2018.

    2019 work operations

    Following the preparatory work, the city carried out infrastructure work between Rue De Bleury and Rue Robert-Bourassa (Lot 1A-Infrastructures) from February to October of 2019. In 2019, development work (Lot 1A-Development) began between Rue De Bleury and Rue Saint-Alexandre (July to November).  

    2020 work operations

    Ongoing development work (May to November 2020) between Rue De Bleury and Boulevard Robert-Bourassa will be completed this year (2020). Infrastructure work (Lot 1B-Infrastructures) is also being carried out between Robert-Bourassa and Mansfield from May to November.

    In addition, infrastructure and development work (Lot 2D-Development of Square Phillips and Rue Union) on Square Phillips and on surrounding streets will begin in October. The only infrastructures that will be rehabilitated are those directly around the square and beneath Rue Union.

    2021 work operations 

    In 2021, development work on Square Phillips and on Rue Union will continue until the end of the year. 

    In addition, development work between Robert-Bourassa and Mansfield (Lot 1B-Development) will take place between April and November of 2021. 

    Work operations between Mansfield and Metcalfe, as part of Phase 2 of the Rue Sainte-Catherine Redevelopment Project, are currently in the design phase.

    2024-2025 work operations

    Work operations along the Rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest corridor (between De Bleury and Mansfield) and on Square Phillips are still slated for completion in the fall of 2021.  

    Work operations planned on streets adjacent to Square Phillips and Place du Frère-André will be carried out after work is completed on the private Brivia tower in 2024. This will allow the city to ensure that the heavy truck traffic involved in these work operations does not damage the new development of the street.

    Why is the work not being completed in smaller sections?

    Major work operations have already been subject to segmentation, including surface infrastructures and development. Further carving up the work would not be efficient, not to mention that the nature of certain work operations requires a minimum scope. For example, water mains must be rebuilt from one valve house to another. In addition, breaking down work sites into multiple smaller sections would prolong the work operations (a large work site provides more space to work more efficiently), make managing the impacts on traffic more complex, and have a negative impact on public finances. Smaller work sites also entail higher costs compared to large work sites, due to lost economies of scale.

    Have you considered taking advantage of the current situation to inform merchants about subsidies available to provide universal access to their businesses?

    Indeed, this might be the right time for businesses to do just that. The Retail Business Accessibility Program (PAAC), established in 2017, provides a maximum of $10,000 to make buildings or their amenities barrier-free. Program details are available at ville.montreal.qc.ca/affaires, in the section on programs. You can also contact Paul Leduc at the city’s Service du développement économique. Mr. Leduc can be reached at 514-280-0936.