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  • Kate 17:09 on 2018-02-24 Permalink | Reply  

    Andy Riga has tweeted a terse but informative list of impending metro station upgrades expected this year:

    • Emily Gray 18:12 on 2018-02-24 Permalink

      I’m not sure if this counts as an “upgrade,” but maybe before the STM does all these upgrades, they can make sure all their escalators actually work.

    • Chris 22:06 on 2018-02-24 Permalink

      The addition of elevators is an upgrade, everything else is just maintenance. Nothing that’ll get people out of their cars.

    • Faiz Imam 00:28 on 2018-02-25 Permalink

      It’s worth pointing out that broken elevators and disgusting, badly cared for infrastructure definitely *will* push some back back to their cars.

      Maintenance might not be sexy, but it’s absolutely necessary if we want to live in a society that respects transit as a mainstream option.

  • Kate 12:58 on 2018-02-24 Permalink | Reply  

    Bombardier’s bitter tears over not getting selected to build the REM has resulted in Quebec pressuring Montreal to buy more metro cars from them sooner rather than later so’s to keep people employed at their factory in La Pocatière. It’s an attempt to make this city subsidize jobs in another part of Quebec, and at least partly to sustain support for the PLQ there in the upcoming election.

    • Ginger Baker 13:30 on 2018-02-24 Permalink

      In other words, we can’t maximize the value of the high-quality product we purchased (that still has nearly 20 years of life left in them) because a de facto publicly financed corporation is blackmailing an unpopular political party heading into an election.

      It’s not that Quebec is the most corrupt province; it’s that this is somehow legal.

    • mare 13:54 on 2018-02-24 Permalink

      Hey, if the Quebec government invests some money to finance building the green line extension and the pink line, Montreal will surely buy some extra metro cars…

    • ant6n 20:59 on 2018-02-24 Permalink

      Slightly ironically, if the REM had been more of a heavy-rail/metro hybrid, in order to ensure compatibility with VIA and the RTM, then Bombardier probably would’ve been in a better position to build that, since they have more experience with heavy rail.

    • Faiz Imam 00:32 on 2018-02-25 Permalink

      I can’t recall where I read this, but another fact that makes Bombardier’s position that much more cynical is that their own REM bid was apparently did not primarily Quebec based either.

      They planned on getting much of the work done in China, the same way their Toronto contract did most of the work in Mexico with finishing work locally.

      So pushing for a new metro contract is not at all about fairness or justice of any kind.

  • Kate 10:04 on 2018-02-24 Permalink | Reply  

    Odile Tremblay writes about Claude Dolbec who does sign lettering on the Main. A new documentary, Claude n’est pas mort, tells his story. Unfortunately, the Le Devoir piece doesn’t show any of the man’s work, but there’s some in this 2011 blog piece by Brigitte Schuster (which includes work for Laïka and Fuchsia, both now gone).

  • Kate 09:44 on 2018-02-24 Permalink | Reply  

    Every time Formula E is mentioned in the media, the total on the bill gets bigger. Creditors now want $34 million from the Montreal c’est electrique group – which doesn’t have it.

  • Kate 09:42 on 2018-02-24 Permalink | Reply  

    The lousy hockey season means lower bar takings as owners try to find other ways to entice people in.

    • Ginger Baker 13:24 on 2018-02-24 Permalink

      How much longer before taxpayers are expected to subsidize this as well.

      Credit where it’s due: bar owners never blame lack of parking on their woes…

  • Kate 09:31 on 2018-02-24 Permalink | Reply  

    The Globe’s Everett-Green traces down a cool piece of Montreal history: cookie baron Charles-Théodore Viau, his factory and his dream of a City Beautiful.

    • Patrick 14:18 on 2018-02-24 Permalink

      Literary footnote: Viau’s grandson, Roger Viau, who took over as president of the company in 1940 and wrote a book on its history in 1967, also wrote “Au Milieu la montagne” (1951), a “Bonheur d’occasion” type novel about an impossible romance between a poor young woman down in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve and a bourgeois Outremont man. Not a literary masterpiece, but readable and interesting for all sorts of historical details, including an account of the Laurier-Palace movie theatre fire, and what might be the first open mention of a gay bar in a Quebec novel (it takes a while for the waitress- heroine to figure out why the men aren’t hitting on her…)

    • Kate 19:24 on 2018-02-24 Permalink

      Thank you, Patrick.

  • Kate 09:18 on 2018-02-24 Permalink | Reply  

    A driver ran his car into a group of transport ministry workers in Dorval late Friday, killing one and injuring seven others. There’s no suggestion it was deliberate. Metro has more details about the incident.

  • Kate 06:40 on 2018-02-23 Permalink | Reply  

    Valérie Plante is talking about a subsidized low transit fare for the Montreal area, citing Laval’s free transit for seniors as an example. It’s one of the things promised during her campaign.

    • Chris 09:00 on 2018-02-23 Permalink

      Is cost really what’s stopping the population from embracing public transport? I would have thought it was more the infrequency and poor coverage.

    • Kate 09:08 on 2018-02-23 Permalink

      Chris, when timeliness and convenience are not foremost in your mind, but cost is, as is often true for old people or folks who are not fully employed, this could make a significant difference.

    • Chris 09:16 on 2018-02-23 Permalink

      True, but is that 1% of cases, or a substantial amount? I don’t know. And what would such folks be doing otherwise? If the bus too expensive, then I’m guessing they wouldn’t own a car. Perhaps they cycle? I just don’t see this increasing the mode share of public transport. And it has the downside of basically being a funding cut too. I guess I should read the articles, maybe they have info. 🙂

    • Kate 09:36 on 2018-02-23 Permalink

      Perhaps they cycle?

      I doubt many seniors are cycling from lack of bus fare. And don’t forget, a bike costs money, bike maintenance costs money, a helmet and lock cost money, and even if you don’t own a bike, Bixi costs money.

      No, I think otherwise they have mobility troubles.

      An older woman I know, who’s since left town to be looked after by family, lived in a Lachine backwater for some years. There was nothing nearby but a dépanneur selling snacks. She could not easily get to any better source of groceries, and it meant a bus trip, which meant factoring the bus tickets into her expenses every time. Not all of us have lived so close to the bone but it would have helped her to know she could ride for free to and from the store, and I’m sure this would be true of enough old people to make a difference in their lives.

    • Chris 09:51 on 2018-02-23 Permalink

      Kate, seniors were not your only example; the “folks who are not fully employed” could be cycling. I’d wager it’s the cheapest way to travel. Yeah, it costs a bit of money, but practically zero for a used bike. Anyway, I don’t disagree with anything you’ve said. But if the goal here is a kind of social justice thing, then it could be a good idea. But if the goal is getting people out of cars, reducing GHGs, reducing traffic, increasing public transport mode share, etc., then I am very skeptical.

    • dwgs 10:29 on 2018-02-23 Permalink

      Chris, practically free? When did you last try to buy a used bike?

    • Michael Black 10:34 on 2018-02-23 Permalink

      Public transit exist for people who need to get around. Seeing it as a way of reducing traffic is a relatively recent concept.

      Time after time, in recent years, the question has become “how do we lure people to public transit?”. And it never addresses people who rely on it because they have no other option. It doesn’t care about people without money, because no improvement can compensate for the price of the fare

      People walk, or they don’t go very far (which would still be walking). Their world gets smaller. If they can justify a bus pass each month, it may take money from other things, though once they have it, they’ve got it made since taking one round trip isn’t $6.50 and justifying the expense.

      There was a story in the Gazette recently about a homeless man that some individuals had gotten off the street, including getting him a bus pass. Yes, some people consider that a basic, but if you don’t have much, that’s a big chunk of money each month. So you can get places, but can’t do much when you get there.

      More likely you walk somewhere, and hopefully the food bank has a bus ticket for you so you can ride home.

      A bus pass is only “cheap” compared to paying $3.25 per trip, which means using it enough to justify the cost. Casual use and not having money tend to intersect.

      For people with money, those without are the “odd” ones.

      For people without money, having money is “odd”.

      But those with money get to dominate, so people without money are further marginalized.


    • Kate 11:02 on 2018-02-23 Permalink

      Chris: “the “folks who are not fully employed could be cycling”

      In winter? With their kids? With their groceries? Maybe a few people can do this, but it’s not a universal solution.

    • Blork 11:44 on 2018-02-23 Permalink

      Michael Black’s comment makes a lot of sense. Doubters need to expand their view of humanity a bit and to realize that there are many different types of people with many different stories. As Kate’s reply to Chris shows, it’s not just a matter of young healthy people who live in perpetual sunshine and can cycle everywhere. There’s winter. There’s multiple people making trips together (families). There’s groceries and other stuff to be lugged.

      Some working poor people manage to have cars because they have erratic schedules and/or do work that isn’t compatible with public transit (delivery/sales/etc.) So if you’re poor and have a car* and it’s the weekend and you want to take your kids to the mall, your choice is to burn a dollar’s worth of gas or to buy eight bus tickets at $3.25 each ($26). Which would you choose?

      *Don’t complain about “Poor and own a car.” Some working poor need their car for work, and despite the propaganda it does not necessarily cost thousands of dollars a year to own one, so please do not come back with “they should sell the car and use the money to buy bus tickets” because that’s just stupid.

    • Blork 11:46 on 2018-02-23 Permalink

      Another thing; if we really want to shift more people from cars into transit then we need to focus on improving service and reducing costs for everyone. Sure, $83 a month doesn’t seem like a lot for working- or middle-class people, but multiply that by two parents and a few kids (even if kids passes are cheaper). It’s not insignificant.

      And a lot of families will keep a car regardless, because it’s handy for weekend outings and for visiting grandma in Lachine on Tuesday nights or whatever. But for day-to-day things like getting to and from work, or going downtown for a movie or some shopping, they would be more likely to take transit if transit were less expensive. Again, look at the price of four return tickets (or four monthly passes) versus a dollar or two’s worth of gas.

      Because the way to get people to leave their cars behind is to woo them into transit, not to force them into it by making their lives difficult.

    • Bill Binns 16:24 on 2018-02-23 Permalink

      “Because the way to get people to leave their cars behind is to woo them into transit, not to force them into it by making their lives difficult.”


      Drop the mic Blork.

    • SMD 07:31 on 2018-02-24 Permalink

      Welcome back, Bill!

    • Chris 11:45 on 2018-02-24 Permalink

      dwgs: Heck, you can get a brand new bike at Canadian Tire for $150; used for less. That’s practically free considering the lifetime of a bike. Even if it lasts only a year, and even if your only money is the $600 (or whatever it is these days) that you get per month on welfare, that’s just 2% of annual income. That’s very low. StatsCan says average household budget spends 14% on transportation. Other than walking or hitchhiking, I’m not sure how you could budget any less.

      Kate: of course it’s not a universal solution, in fact I didn’t claim it was a solution to anything. If you reread my second message, I was merely musing about how people that can’t afford public transport are in fact getting around currently, not how they ought to.

      But since we’re on this cycling tangent: cycling doesn’t require much more fitness than walking, of course there are people that can do neither, but many can. Groceries easily done on a bike: some in a backpack, a bag on each handle bar. One might need to do several trips, but it’s not like you can match an SUV Costco run by bus either. In winter? Certainly less so. But it’s clear dry pavement out there right now for example.

      IIRC, the STM gets roughly half its revenue from ticket sales, higher than most North American cities. Improving public transit costs money; increasing ticket subsidies reduces revenue. So there is a conflict here. I’ve finally read both articles, and neither give an estimate for the revenue loss. Makes it hard to decide if this is a good idea overall.

      And both articles quote the mayor about mode share, which seems to be the motivation, not social justice in general.

    • Kate 12:37 on 2018-02-24 Permalink

      a bag on each handle bar

      There speaks a man who’s never done an endo when something dangling off a handlebar caught in his front wheel.

      Chris, you’re not thinking clearly. The idea of “2% of annual income” is all very well for people with a regular reasonable income. For people who get $600 a month, and for whom most of it is probably already owed for rent or bills or loans from friends by the time it arrives, $150 is a fortune.

      I have to admit the social fare notion appeals to me personally. I’d like to think that as an old lady I’d be able to hop on the bus without counting out loonies for a ticket. Maybe you think I’d be better off getting a used bike for my old age?

    • Chris 22:53 on 2018-02-24 Permalink

      “Poor” is a spectrum of course. Blork vociferously includes people that can afford a car, and Kate seems to require them to be so poor as to not afford a used beater bike. I wonder where on the spectrum Mayor Plante will land. Neither article said anything about at what level this proposed subsidy would kick in.

      Anyway, I’m just back from rural Cuba, and let me tell you, their poor make our poor look rich. Plenty of old and frail people bike there. It’s an undeniably cheap and efficient way to travel, and it’s cheaper than the bus.

      Kate, hopefully you’ll do both. If I were benevolent dictator, public transit would be free for all. And I’d be happy to buy you a trike with rear basket to do your shopping in your dotage. 🙂

  • Kate 06:31 on 2018-02-23 Permalink | Reply  

    Seems to be the season for data visualizations. Besides Roberto Rocha’s recent water main breakage map, Metro has an interactive map showing where vehicles are being towed most for snow removal, and Le Devoir has a festival of ten maps displaying aspects of the city demographics.

    • Patrick 20:07 on 2018-02-23 Permalink

      All thanks to open data from the City in the first two case and the Federal government in the last one.

  • Kate 06:29 on 2018-02-23 Permalink | Reply  

    A fire broke out overnight at Atwater Market and it took fifty firefighters to put it out. Radio news says the market will be closed Friday morning for a cleanup. It’s being blamed on an electrical problem.

    Update 11 am Friday: CBC is saying the market has reopened.

  • Kate 07:03 on 2018-02-22 Permalink | Reply  

    A Globe & Mail writer strolls around the Vieux.

  • Kate 07:01 on 2018-02-22 Permalink | Reply  

    Christopher Curtis examines the Journal’s anglo fest last week. An entertaining read.

  • Kate 06:57 on 2018-02-22 Permalink | Reply  

    Residents of two buildings in the Point have been told to leave their homes by Thursday at noon, and not given any compensation up front to help them find new places.

    • steph 10:49 on 2018-02-22 Permalink

      I know it doesn’t help them in the immediate, but can they sue the landlord for breach of contract/lease for compensation & expenses

    • Kate 21:20 on 2018-02-22 Permalink

      Toward the end of this CTV item it does explain that there will eventually be a hearing at the Régie, but it’s unlikely the people affected have deep pockets to cover expenses in the meantime.

  • Kate 06:52 on 2018-02-22 Permalink | Reply  

    Urbanist Jean-Claude Marsan demolishes the Royalmount (15-40) plan with a keen critical eye.

  • Kate 06:36 on 2018-02-22 Permalink | Reply  

    Since 2005 the city has been collecting money from condo developers in lieu of including social housing in their projects – but hasn’t been building social housing with it. Valérie Plante wants to put the millions to work.

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