With thousands of students and staff circulating through, and around campus on a daily basis, the following documents and policies are intended to facilitate this movement for pedestrians, cyclists, private and service vehicles.
A protocol about transportation, traffic and parking on McGill’s downtown campus - October 2010
In April 2008, McGill University approved a physical Master Plan that calls for commitments to sustainability and environmental stewardship. The most recent expressions of this commitment include McGill’s adoption of a formal Sustainability Policy; the decision, in conjunction with the City of Montreal, to close McTavish Street to through traffic; and the elimination of most parking and vehicular traffic on the lower part of the downtown campus. These commitments will obviously result in changes in the way members of the community move about the downtown campus.
Putting people first means creating pedestrian-friendly zones, turning even greater sections of the lower campus into areas where the use of vehicles is strictly limited. It means allowing people to move comfortably about the campus. It means extending the areas of the campus available for quiet contemplation to areas that previously catered primarily to cars and trucks. And it means there is a need for people to make adjustments in their use of campus spaces, whether they drive, ride a bicycle, skateboard, take a taxi or walk.
Cars and parking
As of May 28, 2010, motorized vehicles (with the exception of emergency vehicles) no longer have access to the campus through the Roddick Gates. All other vehicular access is via the Milton Gates. With some exceptions (see Appendix A for details), parking has been eliminated on campus and circulation of delivery vehicles has been greatly restricted.
This development has its origins in the 2007 publication of the draft Master Plan principles that indicated surface parking should be eliminated from the lower campus. As well, we were overcapacity in terms of parking permits. It was clear that the number of permits had to be reduced. The decision was made to freeze the issuance of additional new permits and to reduce the number already issued by attrition. Because of this, very few were still entitled to park on the lower campus at the time leading up to May 28, 2010. These were accommodated in other parking facilities without anyone having to relinquish their parking pass.
During this time of transition, some adjustments will be required. That there have been and will be inconveniences for some as a result of this change is understood. The University will do its best to mitigate these where possible. Many will have farther to walk from their cars to their offices than they once did. Visitors to McGill arriving by car may need to be reminded to allow more time for parking than in the past. The supply of nearby parking garages is plentiful and the use of alternative transportation is strongly encouraged.
For parking information, please visit the following link.
McGill encourages and applauds the use of bicycles for commuting to and from the campus. In support of this, it doubled the number of bicycle rack spaces in 2010 to more than 2,000, making it easier for cyclists to use this environmentally-friendly mode of transport.
The lower campus is considered a Shared Space where cycling will be permitted. This means mounted cyclists will circulate on the same pathways as pedestrians. Pedestrians will remain the primary users of this shared space and will have the right of way at all times.
The University’s decision to adopt a shared-space approach follows a three-year consultation and research process led by McGill’s Cycling Working Group (CWG), which was struck in the fall of 2013. The CWG included relevant experts and representatives of a broad range of perspectives from across the McGill community. This approach, which aligns with similar approaches at other university campuses in urban settings, was validated by Vélo Québec, an independent external body.
Please note, the City of Montreal’s designation of McTavish Street as a pedestrian zone means the City’s rules regarding pedestrian zones apply to this space. Those rules require that cyclists dismount and walk their bikes while in the pedestrian zone. This can be enforcable by fines should the City choose to do so.
Pedestrians are encouraged to take full advantage of the pleasant new opportunities afforded them on the lower campus, but they are reminded that they should remain alert for cyclists and service/delivery vehicles. While most vehicle use has been eliminated, there will still be construction or delivery vehicles circulating on the campus’s roadways from time to time, as well as some University vehicles. Attention should still be paid whenever crossing paved areas on campus.
Motor Vehicle Circulation
Drivers of motor vehicles granted access to the campus must reduce their speed to below 15 km/h and give priority to pedestrians.
- Vehicle circulation on the Lower Campus is limited to emergency, delivery, service and certain construction vehicles, as well as those used by persons with disabilities or limited mobility. Emergency vehicles are permitted at all times.
- The Milton entrance located at the corner of Milton Street and University Street is the main entrance for all authorized vehicles to enter campus. The Roddick entrance on Sherbrooke Street is now closed to all motorized vehicles, except emergency vehicles (i.e. ambulance, fire trucks, police).
- Taxis do not have access to the interior of the Lower Campus, except when they are transporting persons with disabilities. (McGill Ancillary Services has notified Montreal Taxi companies.)
- Only authorized vehicles are permitted on McTavish, between Sherbrooke and Dr. Penfield Avenue.
- To drop-off persons with disabilities and limited mobility near McTavish Street departments, services and the Faculty Club, taxis and other vehicles may use the public lanes between McTavish & Peel Streets. Access is also provided via the Brown Building, through to the University Centre from 8:00 a.m. until 5:15 p.m., Monday to Friday. Drop-off for this route is on the south side of Penfield, east of Peel.
- Vehicle access for urgent, exceptional situations that cannot adhere to the normal access policies must be arranged through McGill Parking Services.
Parking and Circulation
The following document outlines the location and type of parking spaces available on the downtown campus.
Vehicles must enter campus at the Milton entrance, unless they are making a delivery.
For more information on parking, please visit the following link.
Service Vehicles and Delivery
As part of the pedestrianization of McGill’s downtown campus, vehicular access to the campus has been restricted from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Deliveries occurring after 11 a.m. will be required to use off-campus unloading zones.
The Building Deliveries Map defines the buildings affected by these restrictions in addition to highlighting the on and off-campus loading zones.
Please follow this link to get specific information regarding vehicular access to campus as it pertains to construction vehicles, moving vehicles, couriers, taxis, visitor vehicles, emergency vehicles and disabled vehicles.
For more information regarding parking policies and procedures on McGill’s downtown and Macdonald campuses, please visit the Parking Services website
Persons with Disabilities
- For information on McGill's Adapted Mobility Bus, please visit the following link.
- All vehicles used by persons with disabilities, including the STM Para transit bus and taxi service, continue to have access to drive and park on the Lower Campus. The only change is that these vehicles must use the Milton entrance.
- Measures have been taken for persons with disabilities to be able to reach McTavish Street destinations. To drop persons with disabilities and limited mobility near McTavish Street departments, services and the Faculty Club: Taxis and other vehicles may use the public lanes between McTavish & Peel Streets
- Access is also provided via the Brown Building, through to the University Centre from 8:00am until 5.15pm, Monday to Friday. Drop off for this route is on the south side of Penfield, east of Peel. The McTavish Gate provides non-vehicle access to McTavish from the lower campus.
- Designated parking spaces for persons with disabilities who hold official disability parking plates continue to be available and clearly marked.
- For any questions or concerns, students should contact the Office for Students with Disabilities; faculty and staff should contact the Benefits Office of McGill's Department of Human Resources.
In early 2010, the Ville-Marie borough approved by-law CA-24-138 that transferred the management of the urban space on McTavish Street to McGill. On May 28th, 2010 the section of McTavish Street between Sherbrooke Street and Dr. Penfield Avenue was transformed into a pedestrian zone. More specifically, street parking was eliminated, vehicle through-traffic was eliminated and deliveries were restricted to between 7:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.
The City of Montreal’s designation of McTavish Street as a pedestrian zone means the City’s rules regarding pedestrian zones apply to this space. Those rules require that cyclists dismount and walk their bikes while in the pedestrian zone.
The creation of a pedestrian zone on McTavish Street is complementary to McGill’s Campus Greening initiative, designed to enhance the University’s natural environment, increase green space, decrease paved areas, improve landscaping, minimize motorized vehicles on the lower campus – and ultimately create a pleasant, green oasis within the downtown urban core.
This project constitutes concrete action by the borough, and is one of a series of sustainable, sound measures that help make Montreal an urban, environmental leader.
For more information please visit the Greening the Lower Campus page.