Cartier Bridge bike path re-opens as cyclists hope for year-round use in 2019

Commuters can get from the south shore to downtown on two wheels in addition to four as of today.

Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Incorporated, the federal crown corporation that takes care of the Cartier and Champlain bridges spent close to $2 million to keep the bike-path that runs across the former clear all winter long, but it has nevertheless been closed to cyclists since December. The corporation has stated that the path needed to be closed while improvements were made to the guardrails on the bridge.

Today, the path opens back up again, but urban-biking advocates say they still hope there won't be a need for a re-opening this time next year.

Mike Muchnik, a spokesperson for the Association des piétons et cyclistes du pont Jacques-Cartier, says the corporation originally wanted to delay the path's re-opening for several more weeks, but after pressure from urban-biking advocacy groups they allowed cyclists to resume using the path this morning.

He says that while he's thankful for the money and work that the corporation put in over the winter months to maintain and improve the bike path, its complete closure was unnecessary.

"I think it's something they could've been doing while allowing bicyclists on the path, especially since almost all of the work they do, they've been doing during the night," he said in an interview with CJAD 800 News.  He said that very few, if any, cyclists regularly use the bridge's path during the overnight hours.

He says that his organization and others with the same goal have been negotiating with the bridge's owner to ensure the renovated bike-path stays open through the winter months this year.  Muchnik says he's "not confident, but hopeful" that access to the path will become year-round starting this December.

When it opens at the end of this year, the new Champlain Bridge will also have bike lanes, but current plans call for them to be closed in January and February.  Muchnik says that cycling advocacy groups have been negotiation with the provincial Transportation Ministry to change those plans in time for the new bridge's December opening.