Updates from August, 2020 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 08:49 on 2020-08-28 Permalink | Reply  

    Quebec announced a boost of $800,000 for downtown Montreal, specifically the Quartier des spectacles, on Thursday, including creating “animation culturelle” and “réaménagements.”

    (Forgive me, I can’t help picturing the “animation culturelle” as clowns with the Quebec logo on them.)

  • Kate 16:58 on 2020-08-27 Permalink | Reply  

    Two days ago I promised Bill Binns I’d email the STM and inquire about wheelchair users of their regular buses. I did so, and have just had a reply. After several introductory paragraphs about STM accessibility policy, it says: “Nous n’avons pas de statistique sur l’utilisation des fauteuils roulants dans les bus réguliers.”

    I would’ve thought they’d at least want to know how often those ramps were deployed, for maintenance purposes. But in addition, for social reasons I think it would be good if the STM could say something like “4000 wheelchair users successfully took our regular buses last year!”

    So all I can tell Bill Binns is that, when I was a regular bus user, I saw wheelchair users from time to time, so it isn’t an imaginary service, but I can’t say how often the option is taken advantage of.

    • Ephraim 19:03 on 2020-08-27 Permalink

      Why would they, unless their schedule is unpredicatble… transport adapte is door-to-door for the price of a ticket

    • Kate 21:12 on 2020-08-27 Permalink

      As I understand it, you have to reserve adapted transport well in advance, and you may even have to give an explanation why you need it, so forget making any spontaneous plans or having any personal emergencies.

    • Blork 21:24 on 2020-08-27 Permalink

      What Kate says. I know someone who uses it almost every day to get to and from work, and she always has to book it a day in advance, or longer.

    • Michael Black 21:48 on 2020-08-27 Permalink

      You have to reserve at least the day before (I can’t remember the exact deadline), and if you want to get back, you have to reserve that too.

      So you have to be ready, and you may get there earlier than you need. If your visit is longer than antipated or you decide to do something else, you can cancel, but I don’t think you can arange transport for the change on short notice.

      It is a tiny bit less than regular bus fare. And yes, it is convenient leaving your home, since you don’t have to get to a bus stoo.

      I got a card last November. At rehab they said they were less likely to issue cards for people with temporary disability, but I got it, good through next June. I thought I’d be having a bunch of appointments.

      But by the time the card arrived, those had never materialized. I’ve used the card twice.

      I wasn’t sure how long, so only booked the going. I ended up walking home. The next week I reserved a round trip, but I waited for the doctor for hours, so I cancelled the return.

      By then I was more mobile, but for what I needed, it wasn’t convenient trying to plan when I’d be finished, or me planning to wait somewhere. I’d thought of going to St Anne’s, but it didn’t seem fair for trivial purposes.

      Then things shut down, few places to go. When I went to the Jewish General in June, six months had passed, and I decided the only reason I’d reserve is because it was cheaper than a taxi.

      So I can’t imagine using it again.

      It’s about having a “normal” life, so you don’t have to justify a trip. It likely is way more useful for regular transport. It wasn’t perfect for my mother, but towards the end she was mostly taking regular trips, so door to door was really useful with a walker and later a wheelchair.

      But “normal” is variable, it’s spontaneous, and lots of people aren’t old. Their lives don’t fit into rigid pre-planned trips or times. A bus isn’t perfect (some stops can’t accommodate the ramp, and snow brings problems), but it let’s people live “normal”. Walking, or wheeling, has benefits in itself

      One reason I’ve mostly walked everywhere was I didn’t like waiting around, or just missing the bus. Once the need for adaptive transit lessened, I found the planning too much. Other people can live with it, and some surely benefit from door to door service (withiut the price of taxis)

    • Ephraim 22:04 on 2020-08-27 Permalink

      My mother is on Transport Adapte and yes, you have to reserve ahead of time, I think the cut off is 4PM. More of a problem for her when she has a doctor’s appointment, because you don’t know how long… so she takes something to read with her. And they aren’t happy about packages.

  • Kate 16:46 on 2020-08-27 Permalink | Reply  

    Mayor Plante is persisting with the St-Denis bike path against criticism, but she also says she doesn’t approve of the movement to boycott businesses that are openly against it.

    • david282 17:09 on 2020-08-27 Permalink

      More of that importation of US politics here, where some now take the position that a person who disagrees with on x doesn’t just hold a different opinion, and they’re not even just wrong, no, they’re bad people who we should punish to the maximum possible extent.

    • Kate 17:47 on 2020-08-27 Permalink

      david∞, I suppose you don’t have any interest in Brexit, because then you’d be aware the highly divisive politics are a function of our time and technology, and not specifically a U.S. thing. I take an interest in the UK’s problems because I have dual citizenship, and things are like that there too. But my impression is that in other cultures I have some feel for – France for example – things are just as polarized and likely to push to extremes. “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity” as the fellow said.

    • Blork 17:54 on 2020-08-27 Permalink

      Yeah, it’s definitely not US-specific. But it does stink. I’m not opposed to all “cancellations” but this kind of boycott over a disagreement on policy has the pong of a jackboot on it.

    • Chris 18:20 on 2020-08-27 Permalink

      Indeed it’s not US-specific, but they are the exemplar.

    • david282 23:08 on 2020-08-27 Permalink

      There’s that, Kate, but then there’s just a descent into a base sort of tribalism. I’d say it’s pointless, but it’s not – the point is the performance.

      I’ve been a staunch advocate for bike lanes, pedestrianization, walkable communities, transit, etc. as long as I can remember (like, since I was politically aware at 13 years old or something). I don’t drive, I don’t even like to be in a car. The point on which I’m most critical of VP and PM is that they haven’t delivered on transit and the urban transformation we’ve seen sprout very slowly.

      But people who are diametrically opposed to my project aren’t my enemy.

      I don’t know if they’re doing that in the UK too, man, I sure hope not. But that we’re starting to do it here is dismaying and annoying to me. And once one side starts, the other side will reciprocate, and before you know it, we have hardened lines on all sorts of issues which, while important, aren’t important enough to punch holes into the fabric of our civil society over.

    • DeWolf 09:07 on 2020-08-28 Permalink

      The whole thing is insane. But construction is underway and I give it a few more weeks before there’s a Covid outbreak at a school or something else to distract people and they no longer wake up shaking with rage over a bike path.

      A café on St-Denis has already planned a REV opening party for November 7.

    • Kate 10:53 on 2020-08-28 Permalink

      Bartek Komorowski has a Twitter thread about the St-Denis REV, worth looking at.

    • Joey 14:32 on 2020-08-28 Permalink

      Thank for that thread. Hopefully the lights will be synced (and the parking lanes adequately reduced at the end of each block) to minimize traffic jams caused by cars waiting to turn off St.-Denis…

    • Ian 16:52 on 2020-08-28 Permalink

      For a party predicated on urban planning they are pretty sloppy about urban planning. Look at having to redo Clark because they forgot about firetrucks. Or this: https://twitter.com/fagstein/status/1299389067403165697?s=19

    • MarcG 18:54 on 2020-08-28 Permalink

      I notice in some of the mock-ups that there are bike racks blocking the sidewalks as well. It’s irritating to have a bunch of junk in the way when they’re already barely wide enough for 2 people to walk side-by-side comfortably – forget avoiding people because of a virus or selfish groups of people who don’t know that other people exist.

    • Ian 22:04 on 2020-08-28 Permalink

      It’s like the old MAD magazine Popular Mechanics “projects section” parody – Article 1: How to turn your file into a ruler > Article 2: How to turn your ruler into a screwdriver > Article 3: How to Turn your screwdriver into a file …

      Except play that game with streets, and pedestrians/bicycles/cars.
      No wonder people are feeling frustrated with this “planning”.

  • Kate 16:44 on 2020-08-27 Permalink | Reply  

    The city is opening three new shelters this winter, in order to keep itinerants properly distanced. They’re being characterized here as temporary, and one of them is described as “reserved for Inuit and Indigenous people.” The largest, at the old Royal Vic, is only for Canadian citizens without serious alcohol or drug problems – criteria that are too narrow according to the Réseau d’aide aux personnes seules et itinérantes de Montréal (RAPSIM).

  • Kate 11:49 on 2020-08-27 Permalink | Reply  

    On skimming Twitter I find a claim from QUB Radio that Les espaces commerciaux cèdent la place aux camps d’itinérants sur St-Denis. Can this possibly be true? The image shown is looking south from Mont-Royal, does not appear to have been taken recently, and it shows nothing of the kind.

    • Myles 12:02 on 2020-08-27 Permalink

      I live in the area and I’ve never seen anything of the sort, unless by “camp” they mean “a group of people sitting and talking on a street corner.”

    • Jack 13:35 on 2020-08-27 Permalink


  • Kate 10:53 on 2020-08-27 Permalink | Reply  

    In Wikipedia’s recent deaths, I noticed an interesting Montrealer not well known here: Gaston Roberge, born in Montreal in 1935, died in India this week. He was a Jesuit, an author and a scholar of film – his Wikipedia page lists his achievements – but it seems only media in India are noting his death.

  • Kate 09:56 on 2020-08-27 Permalink | Reply  

    A study by the union covering the CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal is out Thursday, looking at the failures of the system early in the pandemic: too much mobility of workers between establishments, and not enough people in the role of infection prevention and control officers, are the two major factors blamed for the high numbers of deaths in CHSLDs during that period.

  • Kate 09:50 on 2020-08-27 Permalink | Reply  

    Good piece by Isabelle Hachey about a man who has worked in a medical setting throughout the pandemic, but who has been turned down for permanent resident status because he was not directly caring for patients. People like him may face deportation eventually, since Quebec is simply not responding to requests and demands that status be more widely offered.

    • Kevin 16:28 on 2020-08-28 Permalink

      Quebec is determined to disappear…

  • Kate 09:46 on 2020-08-27 Permalink | Reply  

    The St-Denis bike path is among the hottest potatoes this summer, but I want to quote Timothy Forster’s tweet here: “do these shop owners somehow think that all the CARS on St‑Denis are local shoppers who buy things from them and not just people using it as a mini‑highway to get to the 40?”

    • DeWolf 10:38 on 2020-08-27 Permalink

      One of the businesses that has been loudest in its opposition to the REV is a furniture showroom that absolutely does not rely on people coming by car. After the owner made a big fuss in the media, a former employee posted a response on social media, noting that during her time at the store, nearly all customers had their furniture delivered – after all, who has room for a sectional sofa or eight-seat dining table in their car? And those who did pick up furniture by car were almost always unable to find parking on St-Denis, so they parked on side streets and the staff helped them carry their purchase.

    • walkerp 11:27 on 2020-08-27 Permalink

      Nice one, DeWolf. Thanks for sharing.

      The city has a survey about the pedestrianization and Active Safety Corridors or whatever they are called.

    • Blork 12:01 on 2020-08-27 Permalink

      I’m not saying this to be on one side or the other, but there is a flaw in your (and the former employee’s) logic. Just because people had their furniture delivered doesn’t mean they didn’t arrive at the showroom by car. There’s no connection between the two. As you said, nobody’s going to pack a sectional sofa into their car, but that has nothing to do with how they get around while shopping.

    • Joey 12:13 on 2020-08-27 Permalink

      @Blork said. I would further guess that, given there aren’t furniture shops on every corner, that kind of store probably relies on “destination” shoppers coming from other neighbourhoods. Similar to the furniture stores clustered around St.-Laurent and Mont-Royal. Not that this is good eough reason to kibosh a sensible (and, insofar as it was a feature of the PM platform, broadly desired) idea like safe, express bike lanes.

      You know what would be great? Good old-fashioned random speed traps. Not phot radar boxes that everyone knows about and slows down for, I mean cops setting up shop for a few hours on residential streets, where speed limits are mere suggestions. A little enforcement could go a long way. The fact that ideas like these, which require our police officers to come up with creative-ish solutions and actually implement them for the greater good, provides a boost to the (IMO sufficiently valid) arguments about systemic racism and discrimination that have led many to conclude we ought defund/dismantle policing. If the cops could be bothered to do small, demonstrable things to make neighbourhoods safe, there would be fewer arguments against ending policing as we know it. Even with progressive elected officials in power, what has changed – big or small – about policing? Sorry for the tangent!

    • Spi 13:34 on 2020-08-27 Permalink

      Something that doesn’t get mentioned nearly enough is that retail/restaurants generally operate on very thin margins <10% (probably less so on big-ticket items like furniture). The point many vendors fail to make eloquently is that you don't need all of your business to evaporate to go under, sometimes it just takes the 15-20% hit to sales that car using client represents to make the business non-viable. There are a multitude of studies that show businesses/streets stay as vibrant or become even more so after such transformations. You're asking them to take a gamble, but the city isn't offering any assurances or protection. We're going to throw a massive wrench in your business model and finances but just trust us it'll be better on the other end.

      Frankly, if the city had the courage of their convictions part of the budget for these projects would include a budget for tax relief for business owners that can demonstrate that their sales haven't bounced back to pre-project levels within a year.

    • Blork 14:25 on 2020-08-27 Permalink

      I keep seeing references to studies that show that decreasing cars and increasing bicycles actually helps local businesses. I’d like to see more information on that, because I can’t imagine that is universal. Surely it depends on the nature of the street.

      For example, Wellington in Verdun is a busy commercial street, and I’m pretty sure those businesses primarily serve the local neighbourhood. The shops are largely low- and middle-end restaurants and cafes, small food shops, small services, etc. Nobody’s going to cross town or otherwise come from far away to shop on Wellington. It’s for locals, and it’s a narrow street that’s easy to cross, so it’s natural that most of the clients of those businesses are local, and making it easy for them to come by bicycle makes sense and will likely help those businesses.

      The same can be said for Mont-Royal. A busy but narrow street that’s easy to cross and has a lot of pedestrian traffic. Most shops are small and serve the local area. Ditto St-Viateur, and many others.

      But St-Denis is different. Historically, people came from all over the city and beyond to shop on St-Denis. It’s a wide and busy boulevard that isn’t so easy to cross (the distances between crosswalks can be huge, and jaywalking is dangerous). So it’s always been — and to some extent still is — a “destination” street. You go there either with a specific store in mind (that isn’t available in your neighbourhood) or you go there planning to spend some time strolling and shopping. You can certainly do that by public transit or by bike, but generally such shopping excursions end up with you having a lot of stuff to haul, which can include dishes, or an expresso machine, or a bunch of shoes and clothes, etc. Not stuff you typically can carry on a bike.

      Also, most cyclists will use the bike-friendly St-Denis the way many car users do — as a route to elsewhere, not as a place to stop and shop.

      So my question is, does that blanket statement about bicycle access being positive for businesses apply universally, across the board? Or does it only apply to certain types of streets? (I suspect it does not apply to St-Denis, but I’m happy to be shown otherwise.)

    • DeWolf 15:38 on 2020-08-27 Permalink

      The REV isn’t taking away parking and it isn’t limiting car access to St-Denis. It will remove a lane of traffic and will include several new mid-block pedestrian crossings. In other words, St-Denis will become less of a highway and a street more similar in atmosphere to Mont-Royal, Wellington or St-Laurent.

    • DeWolf 15:50 on 2020-08-27 Permalink

      The fundamental question that isn’t answered by the anti-REV crowd is this: St-Denis has been in decline for more than 10 years. The status quo isn’t working and it hasn’t been working for years. So what is the solution? Tear down some residential blocks to build big parking lots so it can compete with Dix-30?

      The REV will have the effect of calming traffic to make St-Denis actually pleasant to shop on, whether you arrive by car, bike, metro or foot. There will still be just as many places to park, but now there will also be a way for people to get there safely by bike, and everyone can walk between shops without being subjected to the roar of traffic barreling down the street at 60km/h.

      Or I guess we could just leave the street as it is and hope that magically its fortunes will change despite all indications to the contrary.

    • Blork 17:56 on 2020-08-27 Permalink

      @DeWolf, if the plan is as you describe, then I’m all for it.

    • MarcG 18:05 on 2020-08-27 Permalink

      There was talk last year of turning Wellington into a one way street with a bikelane, which would be smart, since the (current?/pre-Covid?) configuration is extremely dangerous to bike down and sometimes it’s the only way that makes sense. If it remains a pedestrian street, which I would love but some others would hate, they’ll need to find a way to integrate biking (and goddamn scooters) safely into the mix.

    • DeWolf 00:23 on 2020-08-28 Permalink

      Blork, there’s a very detailed plan of the REV that was presented to the city’s Executive Committee, it has pretty much everything you’d want to know about how it will look:


  • Kate 08:50 on 2020-08-27 Permalink | Reply  

    A regular reader has linked to a story about the slow death of Park Extension since the coming of the new UdeM campus, and a piece from May about mutual aid in the area.

    • Tim 11:40 on 2020-08-27 Permalink

      The first linked article is top notch. Unlike the recommendations that were circulated recently by faculty and students about Jame McGill, which were rife with logical fallacies, the author uses clear explanations and logic to demonstrate that the development around MIL has never been about anything other than replacing the Park Extension neighborhood.

    • david1001 12:00 on 2020-08-27 Permalink

      I don’t think anyone in authority cares about Parc-Ex to want to replace it or really do anything with it. There was a huge rail yard up there, they wanted another campus, it was tabula rasa, as simple as that.

      However, the pressures on rents and renovictions – which were already happening in Parc-Ex before the first shovel was in the ground at the UdeM campus – are going to accelerate as a result of the new campus, no question.

      But while the activists’ consensus is that new housing development should be locked down because less housing supply will result in lower rents, this is possibly the most thoroughly debunked/baseless/straight dumb of all mainstream political positions in Montreal right now. And the answer is, obviously, to build a lot more housing.

      In the broader plan, Parc-Ex is a victim of systematic underbuilding in high demand central neighborhoods, so that excess/unmet housing demand in Plateau/Rosemont/Outremont neighborhoods is spilling over and landing further north.

      The demand for housing in Parc-Ex will increase as a result of the new campus, no question, but it’s part of a larger structural process – a corrupt bargain between owners who wants to see property values and rents increase, renters who have theirs already and feel housing secure because of the regie, hard line conservative preservation types who will take higher rents if it means the city looks the same, and dummy activists who don’t know how the housing market works.

      Getting thousands more new units built each year between Sherbrooke and Jean Talon would greatly lighten the load that lower rent areas in further flung neighborhoods are being forced to shoulder.

    • MarcG 13:05 on 2020-08-27 Permalink

      @Tim: I read the McGill article you mentioned and didn’t find anything wrong with it besides the too-lengthy student remarks praising the course. I’d be curious to know which fallacies you noticed but perhaps this isn’t the place for it…

    • Tim 14:50 on 2020-08-27 Permalink

      I took some time to go through the pdf because I wanted to understand things better. The one that sticks out is the following facility recommendation from page 81 of https://www.blackcanadianstudies.com/Recommendations_and_Report.pdf

      “Since there are so few black and indigenous faculty, when racism is encountered, the department chairs (the first point of contact) or faculty deans are often white people who lack the necessary lived experience and training and therefore are ignorant of the issues and unsympathetic.”

      Just because someone is white does not mean that therefore they are ignorant and unsympathetic. A white person might be those things or they might not.

    • Michael Black 15:24 on 2020-08-27 Permalink

      Forty years ago Patty McDermott of Greenpeace Toronto said something, and added “we’re egalitarian”. I looked around that room and everyone was white, most were young, and most were either in university or had graduated.

      It’s not about what you declare, but of actively reaching out. And that’s hard if you’re not “the other”.

      It brings a different perspective, it brings a different experience.

      Endless white people can be out protesting or writing opinion pieces, but it’s not the same as black or native people speaking for themselves. They can, but often it’s not in the mainstream.

      Decades ago the Gazette had a column by Clifton Ruggles. It ended when he died of cancer. No Black columnist since. The paper had a native columnist for a couple of months, but that’s ended. Admittedly they announced it as a series rather than permanent, the author off to law school. But I doubt they’ll have a replacement.

      During the “Oka Crisis” CJAD had news from Kahnawake, I think someone at the radio station there. But once the “crisis” was over, that stopped.

      Few people stop to think “wait a minute, if I’m speaking, someone else isn’t”. So we get to hear what white people think, rather than directly from Black or native people. White columnists tend to be outraged by the big stories, when someone directly affected may have other concerns.

      The world isn’t changed by the status quo.

    • david282 17:05 on 2020-08-27 Permalink

      Yeah, or instead of totally baseless conspiracy theorists involving crazy implausible links and nefarious motivations, it could just be that there was a big disused rail yard there, the campus was built on it, and now there’s more demand for housing, which will mean displacement for the existing gang up there. Not rocket science.

      The more mysterious and conspiratorial the theories you use to explain the operation of society, and the more you lean away from using the actual modes of analysis we know to be practical and accurate, the more the movement loses the ability to answer the questions that the culture is actually posing. Think Marxist economics, religious theories of celestial movement, medieval medicine – framing a long-running housing problem perfectly understood by economics as instead being part of global conspiracy against non-whites . . . how do you even finish a sentence without feeling like a charlatan (or his mark)?

    • Chris 18:45 on 2020-08-27 Permalink

      I’m not well versed on gentrification, but I happened to read this the other day:


      and it address much of what y’all have been discussing.

    • walkerp 21:54 on 2020-08-27 Permalink

      You do realize that Quillette is an extreme right publication, gussied up in Canadian politeness and pseudo-intellectualism. Recognize that anything you read there is driven primarily by ideology.

    • Chris 22:21 on 2020-08-27 Permalink

      I’d never heard of them before coming across this article. But better to judge a piece on its arguments and data, not on who wrote it or where it was published. Perhaps you’d care to comment on the substance of the article instead of name calling? Anyway, I wasn’t even agreeing or disagreeing with it, just sharing. (Also, everything you read everywhere is driven primarily by ideology, I’d dare say.)

    • MarcG 06:41 on 2020-08-28 Permalink

      That Quillette article quickly degenerated into a defense of “whiteness”. The gentrification of Verdun and Pointe-Saint-Charles have nothing to do with race. Also, it focussed on increasing property values, which is not interesting to people who are renting, except perhaps in the way that it increases their cost of living. It ignored people who rent in the neighbourhood who do not move away and pay the new, higher, rents at the expense of groceries and other necessities. It says, without argument, just a link to a book, that rent control makes housing less affordable.

  • Kate 08:45 on 2020-08-27 Permalink | Reply  

    The $400 million Quebec is offering its public transit systems to offset the effects of the pandemic is a fraction of Ontario’s largesse to systems there.

  • Kate 08:44 on 2020-08-27 Permalink | Reply  

    Most Montreal schools are reopening on Thursday under new regimes of hygiene and distancing.

    Three staff members in the Pointe-de-l’Île commission have already tested positive for covid.

    The BAnQ links to a series of historical photos of school and classroom scenes.

    • Meezly 10:50 on 2020-08-27 Permalink

      If there are any concerned parents who are not satisfied about the current measures being implemented in schools, share and like this FB page: https://www.facebook.com/Action-judiciaire-Legal-Challenge-to-Quebecs-Back-to-School-Plan-112371040582613/

      “This page is to keep all Quebec parents updated on the progress of our legal challenge to Quebec’s back-to-school policy, namely the mandatory attendance directive. We’ve filed a Motion before the Superior Court in August 21st asking for a Declaratory Judgment and Safeguard Order.”

      Personally, I feel that if a country like South Korea, who had one of the best management measures for Covid-19, had to recently close their schools, then this should be a sneak peak as to what to expect here in the next week or two. I believe this is why the Legault gov’t isn’t spending that much on Covid safety for students and teachers, as they see infections as inevitable anyway, and not seeing prevention as a way of saving lives.

  • Kate 23:07 on 2020-08-26 Permalink | Reply  

    A young man was shot Wednesday evening in St-Léonard and is in critical condition. In a familiar pattern, the 19-year-old is known to police.

  • Kate 19:43 on 2020-08-26 Permalink | Reply  

    One of the developers involved in the Rapido building demolition claims the building was in a dangerous state so had to be taken down. Nice detail: the man cited is a unilingue anglais.

    • Jebediah Pallindrome 22:57 on 2020-08-27 Permalink

      Not Mr. Lieberman’s first demolition via neglect case in the PMR.

  • Kate 19:33 on 2020-08-26 Permalink | Reply  

    There’s no doubt where Quebecor’s sympathies lie: the headline Autre victoire pour des commerçants mécontents leads with recent incidents in which city hall’s plans have had to be changed, and rejoices in a new incident involving lower Atwater, where a pathway for pedestrians and cyclists has been dismantled.

    Since these are times of conflict, of course there’s a counter-movement in favour of boycotting businesses that have pushed back against bike paths.

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