A privileged inner-city suburb of Montreal, Westmount is known for its hillside homes and heritage architecture. Located adjacent to downtown Montreal, two perpendicular commercial arteries – Greene Avenue and Sainte Catherine Street – form Westmount’s main shopping district. While functioning as an ensemble, the two streets are fundamentally different: Greene Avenue features animated sidewalks, high-end boutiques and a well-tended village atmosphere whereas Sainte Catherine Street is home to generic retail outlets, narrow sidewalks, and a neglected streetscape.
The project seeks to consolidate the image and identity of the two streets, create a prestigious entry to Westmount and improve the quality of sidewalks and public space. While Greene Avenue’s commercial vitality and conviviality are assured by its existing street geometry, the avenue’s sidewalks and street furniture are more than forty years old and in urgent need of renovation. Ste. Catherine Street required more fundamental changes including the revision of its street geometry, the reorganisation of traffic patterns and the widening of sidewalks. As well as specific street revitalisation initiatives for both streets, the scheme includes a long-term vision for the reconstruction of vacant land in the surrounding neighbourhood.
The Greene Avenue portion of the project includes the replacement of sidewalks and street furniture and the consolidation of street walls with infill buildings. Revitalised public space on Greene Avenue is structured around granite-trimmed sidewalks punctuated by three mini-squares which slow traffic and provide space for vegetation and benches. While Westmount is home to a great abundance of parks, these mini-squares are among its first hard-surface urban spaces.
Reconfiguring Sainte Catherine Street from two-way to one-way traffic eliminates a traffic lane, creates a broad new sidewalk on the south side of the street and conserves existing on-street parking. Other initiatives for Sainte Catherine Street include the creation of a new public square, extensive planting, new street furniture and lighting, and an integrated commercial signage strategy. Studies were carried out for the renovation of the facades of existing commercial properties.