No more abandoned cones? Transport Minister Geneviève Guilbault wants to believe so. Quebec will now pick up orange cones after 72 hours of inactivity on a construction site, she announced Monday. From December, the government will also install “metal slides” rather than colored cylinders in the work zone.
“If there are at least 72 hours of inactivity, we will remove the cones and put them back for the rest of the site. I think we have a duty to set an example as a government. Already with that, we’re going to set the tone,” explained Ms. Guilbault at the curtain raiser for the Strategic Forum on Transportation of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal (CCMM). This announcement comes nearly a month after the City of Montreal Worksite Summit, which referred to a “maximum delay of 24 hours” for the installation and dismantling of worksite signage. The elected head of transport and mobility on the executive committee, Sophie Mauzerolle, welcomed the minister’s announcement on Monday, speaking of a “collective desire to review our ways of doing things”. “Whether it’s 12, 24 or 72 hours, it’s still a big improvement over what we had before. Either way, I think it’s going to be very positive,” she said on the sidelines of the event.
More generally, Quebec says it wants to “tighten” the ways of managing the work, especially downtown. Thus, by June, the Ministry of Transport and Sustainable Mobility will also modify its signage standards to “further encourage the use of small cones when possible”. This was also a request from Valerie Plante’s administration. Ms. Guilbault also says that she would like “site dressings more in tune with the styles of each district”, referring in particular to “opaque fences, for example”. His ministry also promises “technical changes” in the coming months, which will affect the barriers installed near the sidewalks, which will become smaller in order to have “more fluidity”. It is also planned to create a clearer pictogram for blocked sidewalks. Finally, a third horizontal board will be added to the barriers blocking the sidewalks, in order to improve detection by blind people.
In December, Quebec will take another step by seeking at all costs to “install metal barriers rather than orange cones to make the necessary separation framing the construction sites,” said the minister. “It may be less aggressive, always in this search for this balance between visual cleaning, fluidity, but always the security aspect,” she explained. “It will make a difference for the citizen, for the perception of the city, and also on a kind of frustration that there are always cones”, reacted the president of the CCMM, Michel Leblanc, in talking about what he sees as a real “organizational culture shift”.
By summer, the Department also plans to change its signage standards in downtown Montreal, in “densely populated areas with speed limits between 30 and 40 km/h”. In particular, a speed category below 60 km/h will be added; signage should be less cumbersome than on the highways, among other things. “We want it to be less wall-to-wall,” said the Minister of Transport and Sustainable Mobility, citing “encroachment on public space” as well as access to businesses and parking as priorities. .
Quebec is committed to creating an “innovation cell” that will work to make an “inventory of best practices” in the management of public works. One of its mandates will be to work on a possible “connection” of the various technological platforms such as the Obstacle Management System (SGE) of the Ministry of Transport and the Assistant for the Management of Interventions in the Street (AGIR) of the City of Montreal. Both systems essentially accomplish the same task, that is to map the construction sites on the territory. “We are well equipped to be able to do it,” reacted Sophie Mauzerolle, showing herself open to starting this “connection”. “So far, it has to be said that it has often been done at the last minute, often even without coordination,” said Michel Leblanc, calling on the authorities to take action quickly.