Last weekend, our Montréal team took a field trip to visit the bicycle infrastructure in Candiac, a municipality just outside of Montréal on the south shore of the Saint Lawrence River. We’re excited to be kicking off a new project in the City of Candiac this fall, in which we’ll analyse and pinpoint opportunities for improvement to the city’s current cycling network.
Candiac is an extremely forward-thinking municipality, already boasting 33 kilometres of bicycle infrastructure (10 kilometres of which are maintained throughout the winter) — an impressive number for a municipality with a total area of less than 20 square kilometres. Beyond striving to provide the basic on-street infrastructure, the City understands that bicycle amenities, such as air pumps and fix-it stations, help to normalize and facilitate bicycling as a convenient mode of transportation.
Like many North American suburbs, Candiac is a commuter municipality, and most of its residents travel outside of its bounds to get to work. Unfortunately, following the model of mid-20th century North American urbanisation, this means that the roads that link Candiac to surrounding municipalities are all highways — several of which cut straight through the centre of town. As a result, freeways and interchanges pose barriers to straightforward crosstown connectivity if one does not have access to a car. At the same time, we were pleased to see innovative solutions at work, such as this bicycle bridge across Autoroute 15, which conveniently connects the south-east half of Candiac to the north-west.
There is still progress to make, particularly in terms of regional, non-motorized transportation connections beyond Candiac. However, this community of 21,000 is well on its way to setting the standard for other North American suburbs facing the mobility barriers that come with auto-centric design. In terms of innovation, there are already local plans to prioritize transit-oriented development around the commuter train station and new mixed-use development areas, and a pilot project of Canada’s first automated shuttle is under way. We’re here to help ensure that future bicycle and walking connections are as direct, convenient, and safe as possible. Candiac is well-positioned to increase the local bicycle modal share, and to leverage existing potential for active, multimodal travel among residents already travelling by commuter train to downtown Montréal.
Welcome to the future of bicycle (sub)urbanism.