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Montreal looks to reduce heavy truck traffic using zero-emission delivery vehicles

Plan calls for trucks to unload downtown onto smaller electric vehicles to be delivered throughout city

Montreal wants to cut the number of large delivery trucks on city streets by creating a centre where trucks can drop off merchandise and have it delivered by smaller vehicles.

The drop-off spot will be Îlot Voyageur, a former bus station along Berri and St-Hubert streets, between de Maisonneuve Boulevard and Ontario Street.

The choice of location was natural, since “it is really in the heart of downtown Montreal, above Berri Station, and near commercial areas such as the Village and downtown,” said Coun. Robert Beaudry, executive committee member in charge of economic and trade development.

The idea is simple: heavy trucks making deliveries in Montreal will be encouraged to unload their goods at the delivery hub.

From there, smaller zero-emission vehicles, such as cargo bikes, will cart the goods to their final destination rather than having large trucks zipping around city streets.

Along with the reducing emissions and truck traffic, the city hopes the yearlong pilot project will reduce noise pollution and improve the safety of both cyclists and pedestrians.

Part of the site, which the city acquired in 2018, has been unused for several years. The abandoned building is fenced off and the passenger drop-off area is pockmarked with massive potholes.

Given that it is a pilot project, the city says officials will evaluate the process and modify as needed, looking for ways to improve the terminus and delivery bays as well as the unloading and delivery process.

Beaudry said $100,000 has been earmarked for the project and the city is still looking for a company to provide electric vehicles.

The initiative is part of a larger push by the city to improve mobility and the transportation of goods.

With files from Radio-Canada and Kate McKenna

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