Shifting public attention from cars to housing on wide downtown streets
Number of actions improved marry ecological and social justice than turning community land devoted to noisy, hazardous and polluting automobiles into social/co-op/rental housing. A prime prospect for this form of transformation is the René Lévesque Boulevard in Montréal.
On April 1, I bumped into about 500 pupils protesting powering a banner stating, “Justice Sociale, Local weather Justice: même combat” (“Social Justice, Local weather Justice: Same Wrestle.”) As the march spilled on to equally sides of René Lévesque I was reminded of its monstrous nature. At its widest the boulevard is 10 lanes and a few a long time in the past a metal barrier was mounted in excess of numerous blocks throughout from Complexe Man-Favreau. The presumed goal of this “highway-ization” of downtown is to stop pesky pedestrians from crossing halfway down the street.
In tacit recognition of its disastrous character, promoters of the Réseau categorical métropolitain (REM de l’Est mild rail) proficiently argue they can build an previously mentioned ground eyesore on René Lévesque that will make improvements to urbanity considering that four lanes will be turned into a pedestrian promenade and bicycle paths. Even though that might be appropriate, it is barely an argument for not making the line underground.
From Atwater to the Jacques Cartier Bridge, most of René-Lévesque is vast ample to build a row of lodgings with a slim road on each and every aspect. In a direct autos-for-shelter exchange, thousands of social/co-op/rental models could be built though simultaneously improving upon urbanity.
Though it may possibly appear radical, this go would just reverse an historical error. In the 1950s, hundreds of buildings and properties had been demolished to widen the street. If housing ended up to substitute the roadway, thousands—probably tens of thousands—could attain obtain to cost-effective housing in an spot with quick entry to employment and providers by foot and bicycle as perfectly as to the city’s two most important Metro lines.
At the pupil march on Friday, protesters chanted versus colonization. As part of having general public land away from polluting automobiles the metropolis could commit some of the land to Indigenous operate/targeted cooperative or social housing. It would be a modest Montréal contribution to the increasing “land back” movement.
With cost-free land in a centrally located area, co-op housing can be created with modest community help and federal government backed financial loans. To construct important amounts of social housing would call for provincial and federal federal government funding. Just one (considerably less than ideal) way to fund the housing could be to give components of René-Lévesque to condominium companies in trade for constructing social housing units elsewhere on the avenue. The city can also provide discounted land to providers that commit to creating rental models. In the very long-term, home taxes from 1000’s of models on René-Lévesque would deliver significantly additional revenue than parking service fees.
One more benefit would be decreasing greenhouse gasoline emissions. Personal cars are the most important source of GHGs in Montréal, with transportation representing 40 for each cent of the city’s GHGs and is also growing.
Just a several times in the past, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Local climate Change introduced a new report that concluded we are “firmly on keep track of towards an unlivable world.” The research appeals for immediate, large-scale change absent from fossil fuels.
Turning René-Lévesque into social/co-op/rental housing is the form of alter that can dent runaway weather change although increasing housing affordability and urbanity.
It is time for radical action.