The Montreal area's outdoors: an incomplete offering
At Mount Saint-Bruno Park, there are two bike racks that are not anchored to the ground. Who would dare to leave his bike there?
Are you a fan of walking, running or cycling and you like the natural places to practice these activities? In the Montreal area, there is a great offering, but if you want to combine two activities (e.g. cycling and running) and safely leave your equipment, it becomes more complicated. Some good and less good examples...
At Longueuil's Michel Chartrand park, there are lockers in the reception pavilion. This is one of the only major parks in the Montreal area to have them.
Mont Saint-Bruno Park is the most visited national park in Quebec. In 2015-2016, SEPAQ counted more than 950,000 one-day visits. Not surprisingly, it is located in the most populous region of Quebec, only 25 km from Montreal (bike route). For residents of Montérégie, it's even closer.
I have been going for several years. I like to run there and go there by bike from home (La Petite Patrie neighborhood in Montreal). The trails are beautiful and the landscapes are varied. However, the park is not welcoming for cyclists-runners. Bike racks are not anchored to the ground (so not safe) and there are no lockers in the reception pavilion to leave things behind. So when I go there by bike, I have no place to leave my bike clothes and shoes. Leave my things at the counter is impossible. The clerk I spoke to told me it was done before, but not anymore. Reason: Employees have been accused of stealing things.
Another beautiful park in the area, the Boucherville Islands Park. But to get there by bike is impossible. Summer (from the end of June to the beginning of September), however, you can take the river shuttle from Longueuil or Montreal. They accept the bikes, but there is a fee ($8.50 round trip) and to this we must add $8.75 for park entrance fees. In addition, it is in operation only on weekends and holidays. Recently, I discovered another option: the Islands bus. From the Longueuil metro station, you can take a free shuttle. It's in operation from June to early September, weekends and holidays. However, they do not accept bikes. A bit ridiculous! Once on the islands, good news: there are lockers at the rental building. For a dollar, you get a key that allows you to lock it (money back in exchange for the key). Mont Saint-Hilaire
A great place to walk or run is the Galt Reserve. For a few years now, it has been equipped with a bike rack, close to the gatehouse and well anchored to the ground. If you want to leave items, ask the attendant at the reception pavilion, he will place it in a safe place. It's good on that side! Maisonneuve Park
In the heart of Montreal, there is Maisonneuve Park. There were lockers in the pavilion, but during the renovation, they were removed and spaces with hooks were installed, unsecured. Incomprehensible! I approached the district to ask for lockers, but I did not hear anything. Same thing in the Cap Saint-Jacques regional park. There is no locker at the reception pavilion.
The lockers installed during renovations at the Maisonneuve Park chalet in Montreal are unprotected. As a result, I have never seen anyone leave their things there.
These are but a few documented examples. And of course, the majority of people drive to these places. However, if we want to encourage active transportation to these places, should not we make life easier for people who want to do so?
You are a cyclist and a runner-walker and you want safe places to put your belongings, write to your municipal councilor or to SÉPAQ if it is a national park.
Credit Photos: Stéphane Gagné
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