4 Days 4 Lines — Montreal Metro’s (In)Accessibility

(2020) McGill metro’s Union / Maisonneuve entrance/exit with an escalator to go up to the ground and stairs to go up or down.

4 days — 4 lines — 68 stations — 8600+ stair-steps

Left (2016): ‘<< Everyone could use a seat >> the STM is promoting courtesy among its customers and urges the public to pay more attention to other passengers who, for one reason or another, could be in need of a seat’. Right (2020): a rider walks their bicycle to the head of the train and an elderly rider rolls down their trolley at De l’Eglise metro station on the Green Line both heading towards East of Montreal.

1st fundamental design question: how can all riders access the metro with ease?

2nd fundamental design question: how can all riders complete their journey with ease?

Journey through the five odd structural obstacles:

1. Limbo Stations

Radisson metro towards the East end of the Green Line requires 26 stair-steps then go up the escalators (approx. 35 steps if they are out of order) and then have 22–26 stair-steps to get out of its three exits on Sherbrooke street.
Lionel Groulx metro station connecting the west arms of Orange and Green lines. Escalators (approx. 12 stair-steps) to go to the lower platform but 23 stair-stairs to go from the middle platform to the Terminal. Followed by 48 stair-steps and escalators to exit the station.

2. One-sided Coin

(Left) 31–35 stair-steps to go up or down and an escalator only to go up to the ground at Plamondon station on the West arm of Orange line towards the Cote-Vertu terminal station. (Right) Laurier metro on the East arm of Orange line has a uni-directional escalator going up or 63 steps to come down. After the escalator, there are 7 steps to go out on Rue Rivard.
De la Savane station on the West arm of Orange line. You enter the station and take 32 stair-steps to come down to this level, escalator only going up to the ground. Followed by bi-directional escalators or 63 stair-steps and then finally 20 stair-steps to the platform, no escalator in the final lag.

3. Stair Cardio

(Left) What 23 steps look like at the Universite-de-Montreal station on the Blue line. (Right) What 29 steps look like at the Place St Henri station’s St. Jacques exit.
(Left) What 24 steps look like at Place-des-Arts station on Green Line. (Right) What 32 steps look like at Honore-Beaugrand station on the East end of Green Line.
(Left) What 23 steps look like at Outremont station on the Blue line. (Right) What 25 steps look like at the Gare Lucien L’Allier exit from Bonaventure station.

4. Opposites Attract

Langelier metro on the Green line, Sherbrooke South exit (left), you have to take 34 stair-steps or bi-directional escalators to reach the mid-point and then have to take approx. 24 stair-steps to exit, no escalators (right).
Langelier metro on the Green line, Sherbrooke North exit has 56 stair-steps and bi-directional escalators.

5. Orange Cone Barriers

Vertical turnstiles at the Place des Arts metro station for the Jeanne-Mance exit.

Moving Montreal towards Universal Accessibility

A young rider and his mother carrying the stroller, climbing down 25 stair-steps to reach the Platform at Prefontaine station on the East end of the Green line.
23 steps from Platform to reach the Terminal of Cote-Sainte-Catherine station on the Orange line.
(Left) An elderly rider takes 31 stair-steps down to access Cote-Des-Neiges station on Orange line. The East exit has 31 steps and an escalator only to come up. Followed by escalators and 42 stair-steps to reach Terminal, then 23 stair-steps and no escalators to reach the Platform. (Right) An elderly rider climbs up 21 stair-steps at the Lasalle station on the Green line, followed by escalators or 33 stair-steps to exit the station.
Frontenac metro station on the Green Line — this man carried his bicycle up 19 steps from the platform to reach these escalators. In case these two rounds of escalators are out of order, that’s approx. 40 and then 45 stair-steps to reach the ground.
(Left) Place St-Henri station on the Orange Line. (Right) Outremont station on the Blue Line.
(Left) A mother and toddler at Mont-Royal station on the Orange line. (Right) A passage connecting different lines at the Jean-Talon station on the Orange and Blue line.
(Left) A pathway at the Cadillac station on the Green Line, reflecting the reality of the underserved homeless community. (Right) Construction tapes at the Place Des Arts station on the Green Line.
(Left) A visually-impaired rider canvassing their path at the Berri-UQAM station (Green, Orange, Yellow lines). (Middle) A rider climbs up 26 steps from the Terminal level to exit the Henri-Bourassa station on the Orange line. (Right) A rider takes the 2nd out of 3rd round of escalator down at Lucien L’Allier station on the Orange line. If these were out of order, they would have had to take 51 steps down. Prior to this, they took an escalator (equivalent to 37 steps), after this they took an escalator again (equivalent to 51 stair-steps) and then 30 stair-steps down to reach the Platform.

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