City looks for ways to bring St. Denis St. back to life

The mayor of the Plateau Mont-Royal borough is reportedly giving himself a year to come up with an action plan to revitalize St. Denis St. and fill up the numerous empty storefronts.

Luc Ferrandez told La Presse that some of the ideas include a special tax on property owners who let their empty stores languish; allowing more apartments, offices and hotels; and widening sidewalks and putting in a bike path.

Montreal mayor Valérie Plante would not say whether she was in favour of reducing parking spaces and lanes on the major artery but that all options are on the table.

"We'll be able soon enough — I'm not going to give a timeline because there's still things to figure out — but what would be the possibilities, what we're moving towards," said Plante.

"What would be the best way to consult people and get feedback as well?" 

CJAD 800 spoke with taxi drivers who said they were against the idea of reducing lanes on St. Denis from two to one in each direction, saying it would just add to the headaches already resulting from all the traffic calming changes in the borough.

Pedestrians and cyclists on the other hand said they wouldn't mind fewer cars and parking spaces.

Some motorists said they were split — that they need their car for business and already find parking and driving in the city difficult but that they're not against more bike paths.

Merchants agreed that something needs to be done to boost business on a street where the vacancy rate now stands at around 25%.