Right on Red

So between Covid and Mayor Plante’s continuing reduction of parking spaces and traffic lanes, is this finally the time to allow “Right on Red” and bring Montreal in line with most other North American cities? Summer seems to be the time for experiments in this city. And we’ve seen some bad ones with the incredibly unpopular closure of Camilien Houde Road on Mount Royal two summers ago.

This seems like the summer for a good idea. Much less traffic, sadly much less people in the streets. It’s the perfect time for a “controlled experiment” with Right on Red. It will bring a bit of good news to Montrealers when there is so much we “cannot” do. To this idea the answer should be “yes we can.”

This will cost the city nothing. It will relieve frustration amidst our construction chaos. And will reduce pollution by cutting traffic congestion and the idling of cars.

We’ve lived through so much disruption the past year in Montreal. We’ve witnessed so much that goes against common sense. It seems rule and regulation is missing where it is needed — and there is too much rule and regulation where it is not needed.

This simple change will allow us a breather from the nonsense in our streets and give us needed change that will make our lives easier and better.

Montreal is only one of two urban centres in North America that does not allow right on red. The other is Manhattan. One can hardly compare the complexities of running one of the world’s largest and most densely populated cities with Montreal. Everywhere else in Quebec drivers have been allowed right on red since 2002. Without any problems. Surely, we on the island of Montreal are not dumber than our fellow Quebec citizens.

Aren’t you fed up with driving across a bridge and seeing that silly sign telling us that on this island — somehow an alien territory — we can’t turn right on red? Do we somehow get stupid when we cross the river and breathe Montreal’s air? It’s ridiculous!

The statistics for accidents are no better on the island than in Laval or the South Shore. We’re not better off for this arcane rule. We just get more frustrated waiting at lights. Even the mayors of West Island suburbs have called for this change since 2016. They just don’t want it done piecemeal.

Over the past 40 years the number of vehicles on the road has tripled, license holders have doubled yet road fatalities have dropped from 2200 a year to some 300 in Quebec. There is no danger in doing this. Surveys over the past three years have found that over 70% of Montrealers favor this. And according to experts there are 18,000 intersections on the island of Montreal. Over 2,500 of those have traffic lights, and while safety issues would prevent right on red at every single one, there are about 1,500 lights where drivers could safely turn right at all times.

Right on red. It’s a good thing. And it’s time has come.

(4) comments


so I just posted a common critical of this idea, and the suburban removed, and it just shows that you’re just a hack newspaper, and I’m only on one time commentor, but I will remember you guys for being the close minded editorial staff you are. by the way, the writer of this article sounded like a total idiot on CBC radio this morning and I see only reason I commented. You guys make all Anglophones look bad.

Oliver Staff

As you can see below your original comment was not removed. It was never removed. The only time we remove comments is if they are offensive, hateful or off topic. I am sorry if you feel that way about the newspaper. I can assure you that being Quebec's largest English weekly newspaper that has been in business for 57 years did not happen by accident. We have had, ad still do have many talented journalists that work very hard to cover what matters in the community. We have serviced the English community well.


There are far too many cars on the road already, but this opinion piece wants those cars to have even more free movement on already crowded streets. I would like to take a guess that the writer of this piece does not like bicyclists, or care too much for the speed at which elderly people may walk, when he is feeling lead-footed, and in a rush to drive the 5 blocks to get to the office to write an opinion piece which few agree with.

Leslie C.

This is a very bad idea, whether in the West Island or elsewhere in Montreal.

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