Major work underway on Upper Main Road

Greater accessibility, less pavement and better water management are among the redesign objectives
Design renderings of a future Upper Main RoadDesign Services, FMAS

Upper Main Road on McGill University’s downtown campus is being transformed, from the Y intersection to the front of the McCall MacBain Arts Building, to make the area more pedestrian friendly and universally accessible, with about 20 per cent more green space.

As well, lighting will be improved and additional exterior furnishings installed to create a more welcoming environment. The redesign was planned with the projected needs of the next fifty years in mind.

“The area in front of one of our most iconic buildings will finally do justice to its architecture,” said Jeremy Glenn, Senior Landscape Architect. “It won’t just make it look better and more in-line with its heritage status, it will also make getting to and around it easier for those with mobility challenges.”

More than a facelift

To increase universal accessibility, slopes near the McCall MacBain Arts Building will be reduced. This will be accomplished by widening a central planting bed and narrowing the stretch of road that runs along the front of the building. That work will include cutting down four evergreens, planted about 20 years ago.

“Though many of us have grown attached to them, those types of trees are neither part of the original design nor consistent with the neo-classical style of architecture,” said Glenn. “Replacing them with denser but shorter trees and planting beds was reviewed and approved by the city authorities who issued the permit.”

From evergreens to more green

Cutting down the evergreens for the redesign work will make it possible to create a slight slope away from the Arts Building, offering better protection from water infiltration. It will also provide an opportunity to add more small trees, bushes and perennials.

For more information about the project, estimated timelines and impact-mitigation measures, visit the Facilities Management project page

The redesign of Upper Main Road It will will allow for the addition of more small trees, bushes and perennialsDesign Services, FMAS
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Randall Grant
6 days ago

The road was already pedestrian friendly 10 years ago when they decided to limit vehicle access. I thought the university was short of financing but it appears to have a lot of money for unnecessary cosmetic projects. I would put the money into research, faculty and keeping tuition costs down.