The Route verte concept
Based on an idea that originated with Vélo Québec, the Route verte has been under development since 1995, with the collaboration of the Québec ministry of transportation as well as numerous regional partners.
When completed, the Route verte will comprise 5,300 kilometres of bikeways linking the various regions of Québec. A powerful catalyst for the development of cycling, the Route verte carries on a tradition that has led to development of the world’s greatest cycling routes:
- Denmark’s national cycle routes;
- the National Cycle Network in Great Britain;
- the Danube and Rhine bikeways (crossing five countries);
- the greenways and bikeways developed in the United States by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and Adventure Cycling, and in Europe through the Eurovelo initiative.
Given regional variations and the broad range of development opportunities, the Route verte is expanded in a number of different ways:
- by using public right-of-ways (abandoned rail corridors, towpaths, hydroelectric right-of-ways);
- by paving shoulders to make roads safer for cyclists;
- by identifying certain rural roads with little traffic as “designated cycling routes.”
The Route verte is a bikeway that must meet the safety standards associated with the activities engaged in by its various users. Published in 1997, the Guide de réalisation de la Route verte outlines the technical parameters for the development of the various sections of the bikeway.
Furthermore, the Route verte is marked with signs standardized by the Québec ministry of transportation. These markers are often accompanied by signs displaying route information and by tourist signs highlighting nearby services or attractions.
The cooperation of various regional authorities is key to the development of the Route verte. Be they regional development councils, regional county municipalities, regional tourist associations, regional sports or leisure agencies, or other regional bodies, the Route verte cannot be built without the collaboration of these crucial partners. The regional committees, recognized by local authorities, or the managers of existing sections become the channels through which the Route verte is developed.