Montreal has a new plan for the old bus station on Berri St.
It wants to turn the vacated Ilot Voyageur terminal into a delivery hub for large trucks in hopes of easing traffic and making streets safer for cyclists and pedestrians.
“We have a lot of pressure in downtown Montreal, because there are many construction sites, because our infrastructure is old and we want to improve it, so it’s hard for the delivery,” said Robert Beaudry, city councillor for economic development in Montreal.
The goal is to keep large trucks out of the downtown core "to optimize the flow of mobility of people," said Beaudry, "because when we have big trucks in downtown Montreal that are stopped on the street, that has an impact on the flow and the mobility of people."
The details still need to be ironed out, but the plan is to have a few downtown businesses on board when the pilot project begins in September.
The trucks will arrive at the station, then smaller, zero-emission cars or bikes will pick up the goods and take them to their final destination, similar to food delivery services currently in operation.
Destination Centre-Ville, the group dedicated to developing and promoting activities downtown, agrees with the idea.
“We need to reduce the truck circulation in the downtown core, so we want to work with the city, with the merchants, to find new ways to make deliveries,” said Emile Roux, director of Destination Centre-Ville.
The future of the old bus terminal has been in question since the new station opened in 2011.
The province had plans to tear it down and build a 14-storey office tower, but it fell through. Now Plante believes using the site as a delivery hub is a way to share the road.
“The idea is to use that opportunity that this area is – central not occupied – and to see how we can better use the space that we have right now. And that will also improve the quality of the streets,” she said.