Montreal drivers, roads and traffic!
I realize these are three items I hate about Montreal, but I couldn’t find a collective term to cover everything. An old Canadian joke says Canada has two seasons: winter and July. This may not be as true now with global warming, but the Montreal version is as accurate as ever. Montreal has two seasons: winter and construction.
A recent survey showed that none of the top ten terrible and worst roads in Quebec were in Montreal. At first, I found that hard to believe. But I’ve come to understand why. Every other road is a total disaster.
The Parisians may be known for triple parking, but Montrealers are comfortable with double parking even if there is a legitimate parking spot ten yards ahead or behind.
The drivers are particularly insane. This hasn’t bothered me much because they are well aware of the road and believe they can accomplish anything if they drive fast enough. And to be honest, they’re usually very successful, unlike Torontonians who take up three lanes driving even in the smallest of cars.
If you must drive, trust your GPS. It’s pretty good at identifying road closures and detours you have to take. This isn’t always the case, but sometimes you might think you can see a shorter path, and you will be wrong.
Like any big city, there is always congestion to consider. However, with the terrible conditions of the roads and the crazy drivers and the construction, you were bound to end up in a traffic jam at some point in your journey. Rush hour will be the worse, but there’s no guarantee you’ll find a good time unless it’s three in the morning. And even then, you might run into roadblocks, detours, road closures, reduced lanes, bridge closures, and a myriad of other things.
If you must drive to Montreal, find a place and park it for your entire stay and try to avoid underground garages. The bus system isn’t bad, and the metro system is excellent. I would make the same recommendation for practically any city I have visited.
If you are adventurous in the summertime, consider renting a bike from one of the 800 BIXI stations. You can download their app, and they also have electric bikes for rent at an added cost.
Published annually, the Greater Montréal Bikeways map features 3,450 km of bike paths in the Greater Montréal and surrounding area, including the Sentier cyclable et pédestre Oka-Mont-Saint-Hilaire and the Route Verte network.
Whatever your mode of transportation, be sure to follow the rules, or you might find yourself with a ticket.