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Montreal’s elevated highways take some getting used to. When I first moved here, I admit it, I was scared of them. I’d heard about the collapse of the Laval overpass that killed five people. I eyed the crumbling cement structures — in some places seemingly held together only with wire sutures — and imagined a chunk falling on my head as I walked by underneath. When I started driving in the city, I imagined an elevated highway giving way beneath my wheels, sending me plummeting to my death or dismemberment.

elevated highway

But lately, I’ve come to see the highways as having a particular kind of beauty of their own. In their stark but sinuous way, they slice through Montreal, marking borders between neighbourhoods, north and south, east and west. They mark psychological boundaries between communities of very different means and cultures. When I lived in Verdun, the 15 and the 20 were inescapable; they fenced off the neighbourhood from Montreal and gave it the feel of some small market town in the countryside.

I have a dream for Montreal’s elevated highways. One day, when automobiles and trucks have ended their brief empire over our cities, I imagine them reverting to wilderness. Helped along by humankind, they would become mile after mile of parkland, allowing a pastoral retreat above the city, but serving forever as a reminder of Montreal’s post-war growth. I admit, this is not an original idea. New York City’s soon-to-be-open High Line Railway is the first park in this model. But if Montreal one day dedicated every mile of its elevated highways to parkland, we would outstrip the High Line at least one hundred fold.

Meanwhile, back in the real world (!), this blog provides some great insights into what is actually going on with one section of the highways — the Turcot Exchange.

RSS News from the Guardian

  • South Korea ferry: divers recover more bodies after entering ship April 20, 2014
    Confirmed death toll now at 52, as investigators unravel events on the bridge before the ship sankDivers have begun to recover bodies from inside the ferry that sank off South Korea, pushing the confirmed death toll past 50, officials said on Sunday.After more than three days of frustration and failure, divers finally found a way into the ferry, discovering […]
    Associated Press in Mokpo, South Korea
  • Police called in over drug scandal at major football club in England April 19, 2014
    Police called over suspicions of regular class-A drug use Allegations involve at least one high-profile figureA major football club in England has been rocked by a drugs scandal that has gone as far as the police and the English authorities, the Observer can reveal.The police were called in to investigate after senior members of staff started suspecting some […]
    Daniel Taylor
  • Deadly Ukraine gunbattle threatens fragile Easter truce April 20, 2014
    At least four reported dead in clash near Slavyansk, which is controlled by pro-Russian forcesThree pro-Russian militants and at least one other person were killed in a gunbattle near the volatile eastern Ukrainian town of Slavyansk early on Sunday, a local leader told journalists.Vyatcheslav Ponomarev said the battle broke out at a barricade put up in a vil […]
    Agencies

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