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Operation Red Nose (Operation nez rouge)
In between the holidays of Christmas and New Years. If you had to much to drink and have your car with you, you can call Operation nez rouge..It is the for drivers not to driver there cars under the influence of alcohol durnig the holidays. They will drive your car to where you are going for I believe to be free, I think they accept tips not sure...
Parking and driving in Montreal
We only parked two places in Montreal, once at Parc Mont Royal ($6CAD for all day) and at the library near our hotel on St. Denis, $10CAD per 24 hours EXCEPT when you park after library hours and it's $7 for that evening and then $10 per 24 hours. Took the attendant a while to explain that to us and another couple who were equally perplexed. For 48 hours we paid $27CAD instead of the $20 that we thought we should be charged.
At both places we had to use one of the pay parking boxes which accepted credit cards or cash and then display the receipt on the dashboard.
I didn't find driving in Montreal/Quebec at all challenging, maybe because I live in a big city and am used to lots of traffic. One way streets were clearly marked with arrow signs, when you got close enough to the highways, lots of signs to direct you. The French directional words are very similar to English-est (east), ouest (west), sud (south) and nord (north).
I read somewhere that there is no "right on red" in Montreal.
Let me add that there's absolutely no need to rent a car if you are just going to be visiting Montreal, you can get anywhere you need to go via public transport, on foot or by taxi. We decided to rent a car because we were also visiting Quebec City and Montmorency Falls and didn't want to be tied to a bus schedule.
Driving to Montreal
Getting there was easy, straightforward driving (well, I wasn't driving, lol!). From northern NJ, NY area, it took between 6 and 7 hours up the New York Thruway, Rt 87. We got to the border crossing at about 5pm and waited at customs for about an hour, which was a pain! We plan on returning often~it's so close, but you feel like you are far away on vacation!
Car rental at the airport
Once you arrive at the Pierre Trudeau Airport in Montreal, there are lots of options to get to your destination. One of them is renting a car. There should be no problem with this, even if you have not reserved one. Once you pick up your baggage, walk out into the parking lot and then into another building. There are counters for at least 5 major car rental companies: Budget, Avis, Enterprise, Dollar, and National. Show them your driver's license, fill out a form and you should have a vehicle in no time!
Pont Champlain alternative
If you're coming north from the US, you will most likely be taking the Pont Champlain into downtown. This bridge can get extremely crowded and you can be sitting in traffice for quite a while (one time over an hour!).
As an alternative, you can continue on Route 20 north about 6 miles and take Pont Jacques Cartier. Stay in the left lane as you exit the bridge and continue north until you reach Sherbrooke. Make a left and this will take you into downtown.
NOTE: Do not take this on Sat and Wed nights in the summer - it will be shut down for the fireworks festival.
Turning right on red light
Turning right on red light will become the standard in the spring 2003 in Quebec, everywhere (unless otherwise indicated) except in the city of Montreal where is it still being opposed. So when on the Montreal island only, do not turn right on red light.
Those using the highway without a cell phone, relax. Should your car break down, have a flat tire, etc, there are 162 live cameras (84 inside tunnels and 78 on highways around) watching you for your protection only. We (where I work) call the protection and a towing to asssist you within seconds of cars being immobilized, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.
Link to our cameras (ours are in real time) those are refreshed every 2 minutes : http://www.circulationmontreal.com/
On the pic, some of those with who I work... nice bunch.
Driving to Montreal
To get to Montreal from the Boston area, we took US Interstate 89 through Vermont to the Canadian border. At the border, there was a small wait, maybe 15 minutes while the Canadian border patrol and customs inspectors checked all vehicles entering Canada. With a birth certificate or US driver's license, American citizens should have no problems getting through.
At the border, Interstate 89 becomes a puny little two-lane country road in Canada (Route 133), weaving through a few small towns such as Pike River and Henryville on the way to Montreal. Near St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, you will get on Canadian Highway 10 that takes you over the St Lawrence River and right into the city.
The drive from Boston to Montreal is approximately 310 miles and it takes a little over 5 hours.
TO SOME PLACES IN THE LAURENTIDES - ONLY BY CAR
The Larentides is full of places that you can only reach by car, and these ones are the special places to see. Pierre and I are very brave men, and we decided to face the winter and spend some days in his chalet in front of Lac Mitchel...you really have to drive with attention because the roads are puer snow and ice!
But for sure you will never forget such a fabulous moment!
January 25th, 2005
Arrows and Flashing lights??
Just a few tips if you are from the US and want to drive in Montreal.
- Do not make a right on Red.
- A straight arrow means STRAIGHT. This gives pedestrians time to cross. When it turns to a solid green light you can turn right.
- A flashing green light means you can turn any way you want, left, right or straight.
- The roads are in terrible shape. If you drive, park your car and take the metro. It will take you everywhere you want to go.
Watch out for the potholes!
In Montreal, our roads are TERRIBLE! I know of people whose airbags deployed because they drove through a BIG pothole... No joke. Our rims get dented, our tires ruined, our backbones hurt! This is NO joke. I am embaressed at the state of our roads! Take the Metro!
Beating The Traffic Doldrums at the Decarie Circle
It is a nightmarish situation you do not want to be. If you happen to be in the traffic specially at this point during the rush hour, be extra patient particularly when you are taking the 520 exit you have to wait for a free passage. Sometimes it will take you 30 to 45 minutes just for that spot.
The picture tells you all. It is a helluva mess you do not want to be when you are in a rush.
To see the paranoia of the traffic in a panoramic shot, click here.
- Road Trip
We drive fast and sometimes we drive even faster!
Montrealers tend to have heavy feet when it comes to driving. While the speed limit is 100km'h most locals drive 120km/s on the highway. I don't suggest you brake the law, but going with the flow of traffic generally works and keeps people around you from waving their fists at you.
Montreal is not a "road rage" city so you don't need to worry about :)
You cannot turn right on red lights in Montreal. And the red light means that you must stop. Some people in Montreal seem to not know this either ;)
Europcar in Montreal
Heres a tip... Dont rent from Europcar in Montreal! My wife and I confirmed and rented a vehicle thru Europcar Montreal with unlimited milage. After returning the veicle in perfect condition and ahead of the scheduled time Europcars agent told us he had assessed an over milage fee of over $150 stating that we didnt have unlimited miles. Although the agent and Europcar knew of where we were to go and that we had confirmed an unlimited milage agreement they had changed the contract to specify a limited milage of 200 km / day. This company is dishonest and sneaky, they will attempt to add costs at every opportunity (we watched two other very upset customers return their vehicles and agrue the charges in just one hour of waiting!). Beware of this company!
- Budget Travel
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- Road Trip
Connected throughout the world...
Connected throughout the world by major airlines, Montréal is only an hour and a half from New York, two hours from Chicago, and 6½ hours from London. Montréal's airports are conveniently close. Taxi's, limousines and shuttle buses get travelers quickly to and from the city center, stopping at major hotels. Services are excellent, and available in many languages.
Trains from New York or Washington stop at Montréal's Gare Centrale, also the main stop for domestic trains from Eastern or Western Canada. The downtown stop is conveniently connected to Bonaventure underground Métro by a pedestrian corridor. Bus travelers land at downtown Terminus Voyageur, connected to the Métro.
By car, Montréal is only 47 km (29 mi) from the New York border. The New York State Thruway (I-87) becomes Route 15, U.S. I-89 becomes two-lane Route 133, joining Route 10 at the border. From I-91 in Massachusetts, Routes 55 and 10 reach Montréal. Entering from east or western Canada, Montréal is accessible on route 401, or the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1) via routes 20 and 40. Québec road signs are in French, and speed limits are in kilometers (100 kph equals about 62 mph). Gasoline is sold in liters (3¾ liters equal 1 U.S. gallon).
In town, use the public transportation system (buses and metro) ... for more info:
You can easily travel from Montréal to any other city within the province and even to other provinces or the US by bus or train.
Driving in Montréal can be quite an adventure as Montrealers are fast drivers ... and not very polite! But you can easily drive to other cities on one of the many highways. Remember that the province of Quebec doesn't have anymore toll highways, so you can spend you money elsewhere!!
I'm still figuring this one...
I'm still figuring this one out. Maybe my advice is to know what's going on before you go downtown. A car happened to be a very horrible thing though at the time, with plenty of traffic and construction, even late at night.
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