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.