Project Bonaventure - phase 1
The development sector’s borders are as follows: Duke Street to the east, Dalhousie Street to the west, Saint-Jacques Street to the north and De la Commune Street to the south, including the lands containing the Ville-Marie borough roadway workshops.
The reconstruction of the Bonaventure Expressway is the cornerstone of the Montréal Harbourfront vision of the future. A one-of-a-kind urban reconstruction project in Québec, it redefines the city’s gateway, enables the re-appropriation of both the land and the borough’s unique identity, materially improves the quality of public spaces and reconnects the east-west and north-south links. From a civil engineering point of view, this project is unique, as it is rare for an expressway to be so radically transformed into an urban thoroughfare integrated into a new inhabited borough taking the human factor into account. As such, the reconstruction of the Bonaventure Expressway is actually an urban redevelopment project mainly inspired from civil engineering, which recalls the area’s heritage, reconnecting the faubourgs of old and setting the stage for an architectural process with a strong focus on the future. The Bonaventure Expressway reconstruction project is most assuredly sustainable and gains its raison d’être through the restoration of the area’s heritage and layout to forge a New Montréal. The development and transportation components meld together, thereby enabling the creation of a new urban milieu: the Bonaventure Project.
Urban Reconstruction Policy
Between Wellington Street and Place Bonaventure, the rail overpass and Bonaventure Expressway jointly occupy an area 150 metres wide and 750 metres long, essentially dedicated to regional transportation. During morning and evening rush hour, cars, buses and commuter trains travel through this corridor, carrying thousands of passengers to or from the downtown core. In order to meet the needs of labourers, visitors and other mass transit clients, this corridor is serviced by vast, open-air parking facilities in the heart of the faubourgs. The presence of these two major transportation infrastructures has created an unused area the size of roughly 22 football fields at the feet of the business district!
The Bonaventure Expressway reconstruction project basically aims to recreate a piece of the city at this strategic spot by leveraging a few major reconstruction concepts, such as the creation of intersections and the addition of latitudinal and longitudinal links. Said concepts are detailed below.
In the Bonaventure corridor reconstruction plan, the expressway’s levelling will enable to create intersections and optimize traffic management. By focusing on balancing pedestrian and vehicular co-existence, the new intersections first seek to ensure the safety of pedestrians and cyclists, while maintaining adequate traffic flow. The planned phases include the construction of wide sidewalks, the integration of safe crosswalks, the animation of public life (business activities, clear ground floors, etc.), as well as the development of quality urban facilities.
The removal of the barrier created by the current road infrastructure and the construction of central blocks enable to extend the built environment and bring back urban life at the faubourgs’ junction. Along this new addition to the city landscape, the rail overpass can be redeveloped and populated. The east-west links are promoted and prioritized: crossing thoroughfares (Wellington, Ottawa and William street), pedestrian axis (Saint-Maurice Street) and vista (Saint-Paul Street). Along these streets, the built environment’s consolidation, urban animation and the facilities’ quality foster foot traffic and enable a reconnection between faubourg des Récollets, Griffintown and Old Montréal.
The boulevard’s new configuration forms a link between the downtown core and the Peel basin, along two large avenues joining the Quartier international, the northern part of faubourg des Récollets, Cité du Multimédia, the Old Port and the Lachine Canal. The redevelopment of the public area, the consolidation of the built environment and the re-appropriation of the rail overpass enable to improve foot traffic quality and security on the north-south axis, and create visual cohesion along the gateways (from Duke Street onward to the downtown core) and exit roads (from de Nazareth Street onward to the Peel basin and the river).
Bonaventure Mixed Project Office
The Bonaventure Project is among the City of Montréal’s top projects and is part of Vision 2025, the Harbourfront promotion and development project created by the Société du Havre deâ€¨Montréal under municipal mandate.
With the creation of the Mixed Project Office in March 2011, the City of Montréal has already taken the reins of the Bonaventure Project, while ensuring the continued professional support of Société du Havre de Montréal in this matter. This office is currently in the critical planning and assignment stage for the work to begin this fall. A management committee, comprised of two management-level municipal representatives from the Service du développement et des opérations and one representative from the Société, guide Office operations.
The creation of a Mixed Project Office dedicated to the Bonaventure Project proved to be an efficient management strategy in light of the large number of government stakeholders involved and extensive expertise leveraged in this major project (water, bridges, tunnels, road network, urban development). Furthermore, the Bonaventure Project consists in much more than tearing down a structure that would inevitably need to be repaired at great cost within the next four years, long before the opening of a new Champlain Bridge. Indeed, this project is also the catalyst for development among the city’s oldest boroughs, which will become an extension of the business district over the next decade.