You’ve made up your mind. Montreal is the city in which dreams are made of and you are finally ready to make this one-of-a-kind city your home. Congrats, and welcome! We understand that finding the perfect pad to accommodate your upcoming Montrealaise lifestyle is important, be it located amidst the bustling business district, tucked in the bohemian side-streets of the Plateau, or situated in the residential suburbs of Laval. One of the key things to consider while hunting for home sweet home is how you plan on getting around the city; ie identifying your preferred methods of transportation. We’ve come up with some important questions that will help you begin to evaluate where exactly it is you want to be and how you plan on trekking about to all those places you’ve got to go.
First things first: how are you going to get to work?
For many of us city slickers, getting to work is the longest commute we make all day, and often requires entering the downtown business district. Say you own a car, how much time do you want to be spending er…in it? If you plan on living in suburban paradise, make sure to figure out what major routes are nearby. For example, Autoroutes 13, 15 and 19 are the main routes which run north-south from central Montreal to Laval. Also, don’t forget about traffic. If you are travelling at peak hours keep in mind that the further away from work that you live, the more Celine Dion you may be subject to on the local radio station. And finally, don’t neglect the thrilling endeavour that is finding public parking! For on-street parking, remember your parking spot number in order to pay at any pay station around downtown. There are also a number of open-air and covered parking lots, many of which are attached to office buildings. Prices vary from $12 to over $20 for 24/h, with most lots charging 20 or 30 minutes up to the maximum.
MUST I own a car?
Absolutely not! While owning a car may be convenient, it is often unnecessary in metropolitan areas such as Montreal. In fact, residents are encouraged to go car-free as a part of the development of Montreal as a city committed to TOD neighbourhoods. What’s a TOD? Transit Oriented Development is the planning of urban areas with the goal of bringing homes and all other destinations closer together in order to reduce the necessity of automobiles. It includes intentionally planning neighbourhoods which are in a close proximity to public transit and which contain safe and convenient biking and pedestrian routes. Most of all, it’s a plan to promote sustainable communities and quality of life within the city of Montreal while accommodating its continual development. Just another reason to be proud of the city you live in!
So... what are my alternatives?
Many of us rely on the noble fleet of public transportation to get us to-and-fro, or participate in a nifty car-share program! Is your dream home within the proximity of the bus or metro? The Societe de Transport de Montreal (the STM) offers 196 day-time and 23 night-time service routes, and includes 68 metro stations spread across four lines. Not only is it a user-friendly system as well as a favoured site for “Missed Connections” Craigslist posts, you can also get attached to your local metro station’s artwork, as each station’s display is one-of-a-kind. Single passage tickets are 3$ for both bus and metro, 23.50$ for a week pass and $75.50 for a month, with discounts for students. Or perhaps you’d prefer to participate in Communauto, a popular car rental service that lets you rent out a car at your convenience for specific trips around the city in which public transportation is less than ideal. Have your cake and eat it too! You can sign up online (http://www.communauto.com/) or in person to gain 24 hour access to number of different cars to choose from, all without committing to automobile insurance.
Do I have more alternatives?
We all know that keeping in shape is important, so perhaps you are considering biking or walking as your main method of transportation. Choose a home that lets you do that! Montreal is considerably cyclist-friendly, with over 500km of bike paths which can take you pretty much anywhere throughout the city. Neighbourhoods in and surrounding the downtown core (from above Little Italy all the way to the Old Port) will allow you to get most places in a very reasonable timeframe while atop your fashionable fixie or reliable cruiser. Don't have a bike? Grab a BIXI! Available in large quantities from depots located throughout the city, BIXI is Montreal's famous bike rental service. Convenient for short distances and available by credit card, just remember to bring your own helmet! Major bike paths run along Rachel, down St Urbain, across Maisonneuve and alongside the Canal. Just remember to strap on your helmet, bust out those bike signals, and congratulate yourself for being so eco-friendly!
We encourage you to keep these factors in mind while perusing the various neighbourhoods you might like to call your own. Keep an eye out for TOD destinations and enjoy getting to know all the inner and outermost corners of the city!