Nearly 20,000 runners are expected this weekend for the 31e edition of the Beneva Montreal Marathon, which risks complicating travel from east to west. The Plante administration is calling on residents to opt for public transportation, while service will be improved in the metro.
“We want our metropolis to vibrate to the sound of running shoes and not horns,” explains to The Press the administrative spokesperson for the City, Philippe Sabourin, who invited the media on Tuesday to provide an update on the event planned for Saturday and Sunday.
Around 19,000 runners as well as 1,000 volunteers and thousands of spectators are expected this weekend. On Saturday, for the 1, 5 and 10 kilometer events, the Maisonneuve Park sector should be avoided from 6:30 a.m. to noon. On Sunday, for the half-marathon and the marathon, the runners will leave Expo 67 on Sainte-Hélène Island to cross the island via Saint-Laurent to Rivière-des-Prairies.
The runners will then return via the Saint-Joseph axis to the 16e Avenue, to ultimately reach Maisonneuve Park and the Esplanade of the Olympic Park.
Mr. Sabourin immediately warns that “on Sunday, car travel will be particularly difficult from east to west.” “There will be crossing points like Highway 40, Rue Viger, Rue Sherbrooke, Rue des Carrières and the Van Horne viaduct, but we expect a high volume in these areas,” says he.
To avoid traffic and congestion, the ideal for motorists, adds the spokesperson, will be to leave before 6:30 a.m. and the start of the marathon, then return after its end, around 4 p.m.
Increased service in the metro
Moreover, “everyone should consider public transportation, therefore traveling by bus or metro,” adds Mr. Sabourin. The Société de transport de Montréal (STM) has already indicated that it will improve its service on the yellow line and the green line to anticipate the significant traffic to and from the start of the marathon. The Company invites users to purchase their tickets in advance to reduce queues.
On the road network, other obstacles to traffic will nevertheless be minimized to avoid the worst, maintains the City. The Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine tunnel will notably be open in both directions, the Ministry of Transport having canceled the planned closures due to the marathon.
The Jacques-Cartier Bridge will also remain fully open throughout the weekend. “Overall, we also ensured that there are no conflicts between our municipal work and the marathon route,” says Mr. Sabourin.
As for Montrealers who live on the marathon route, they have already been notified by mail that they will have to move their vehicle off the route during the event, under penalty of towing at their expense. In total, the City maintains that nearly 61,000 leaflets detailing each closure were given to the housing units concerned, in addition to an online communication campaign and in various media.