Mont-Royal closure, day 1: sirens and shrugs

The controversial road closure on Mont-Royal went into effect at midnight on Saturday.

Motorists are blocked from driving down one strip of road. You can drive up to the parking lot at Beaver Lake to the west, and the parking lot at Maison Smith to the east - you just can't drive between those two spots.  

City, school and tourist buses can still cross, as can police and ambulances, and cyclists and pedestrians.

City workers in green t-shirts answered questions and handed out pamphlets under the sun on Saturday. They said reaction from drivers was mixed, with half for the ban and the other against it. 

Cote-des-Neiges resident Ani Shahbazian walked up to the mountain. She likes that the ban could be better for the environment.  'I'm on board but I'm not sure how effective it's going to be. Because, it's a short distance that was blocked and there are still cars. I really don't know how useful it is.' 

Kirk Mortenson, a tourist from Michigan, drove up from the east side: 'I was here this fall, it was really nice being able to cross over. Now I can't, so we're going to have to come back around.' He said he is careful while driving around the many cyclists on the route. 

One cyclist who had just crossed westbound told CJAD 800 he was for the ban. 

A handful of motorists who crossed the police line were greeted by a police siren, and were pulled over and given a warning. Fines could be handed out after this weekend's transition period. 

The city is building two open-air seating areas at lookouts on Camillien-Houde Way. 

Mayor Valerie Plante put the idea of a car ban forward after an 18-year-old cyclist died in a collisions with a driver making a u-turn on Camillien Houde, on the east side of the mountain. That part of the road is still open to drivers. 

The ban and consultation period continue to October 31. Citizens can have their say at ocmp.qc.ca/acces-mont-royal