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Posts Tagged ‘montreal gazette’

It’s impossible to look at the Cross Bronx Expressway…

…and the Decarie Expressway…

…and not see a a lot of similarities.  They’re both ditches.  They were both plowed through existing neighborhoods.  The toll the Cross Bronx took on new York is well documented by Robert Caro in his book about Robert Moses, The Power Broker.  But what was the price Montreal paid for its trench highway?  Search as I may through the Gazette’s archives I cannot find one article on any opposition.  What gives?  Was Drapeau able to keep it out of the papers?  Was there any opposition at all, anyway?  If anyone has any first-hands accounts, I’d love to hear them.  Granted, Decarie Boulevard was a wide street and not much needed to be torn down or moved compared to the Cross Bronx but someone had to be pissed, right?

Robert Moses was invited to Montreal in 1938. He couldn’t make it but sent an aid.  It’s not surprise, looking at those two photos that Moses’ opinion was very much sought after but just to confirm it check out this Gazette article from 1955:

Just in case you the people of Montreal needed a little prodding…  Of course, this was right at the beginning of Jean Drapeau’s first term as mayor.  Given the three years he was in office it would have been impossible for him to commence construction on the massive projects we would later become famous for, thought he must have been thinking about it.  Drapeau held power in Montreal for a total of 29 years, Moses in New York for 44.  No doubt, Drapeau saw in Moses bits of himself and saw things that Moses built that he also wanted to build.  I’m sure Drapeau wanted Moses’ name in the public’s ear as much as possible at the time, but by the time he got re-elected 1960, Moses was on the road to irrelevancy, though it would be a few years before he finally reached the end of his reign.  Drapeau would keep shaping Montreal until 1986, foisting upon it’s citizens many projects that years later would be broken, falling apart or in need of demolition.

So, what was the relationship between Jean Drapeau and Robert Moses?  Drapeau was coming in as Moses was going out.  Whatever contact was made between the City of Montreal and Mighty Triborough it’s obvious, just by looking at the Decarie Expressway, that Moses’ influence was guiding the hands of Montreal’s planning department.

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