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  • Kate 08:18 on 2020-02-28 Permalink | Reply  

    Quebec’s first case of COVID-19 has been declared, and it’s here in Montreal in a woman who recently returned from Iran. The diagnosis won’t be confirmed till the national lab in Winnipeg reports on Sunday.

    Update: Public health authorities here say they’re ready for anything, including quarantining entire neighbourhoods if it looks necessary. I suppose we have laws that allow police to enforce quarantine, but they won’t likely have been used since the Spanish flu in 1918.

    • Ephraim 10:04 on 2020-02-28 Permalink

      Which of course means that their flight connected at least once, but more likely twice since we don’t have flights to Tehran. The only 1 connection flights are IST and DOH. So, a lot more people exposed.

  • Kate 08:16 on 2020-02-28 Permalink | Reply  

    A public health study shows that indigenous people living in Montreal are in poorer health and generally less prosperous than the average.

  • Kate 07:17 on 2020-02-28 Permalink | Reply  

    A pedestrian was critically injured Thursday evening after two cars collided at Villeray and St‑Michel and one car ricocheted onto the sidewalk.

    • Jack 09:02 on 2020-02-28 Permalink

      Critically injured after getting hit by one of these vehicles is the best possible outcome.

    • Ian 14:59 on 2020-02-28 Permalink

      That’s not true, I’ve been both winged and doored bicycling (winged by a minivan, doored by an SUV) and here I am to tell the tale. I get it, nobody here is down with “these vehicles” but let’s not lose all credibility by falling down the bogeyman hole.

    • Jack 16:15 on 2020-02-28 Permalink

      I’ll be happy to fall down the bogeyman hole.
      You get hit by a Dodge Ram Charger or an SUV at speeds over 30 km you will be critically injured. That is empirical data and has been the subject of many studies.
      “A high bonnet leading edge (BLE) in relation to the pedestrian stance as well as large bonnet and windshield angles increase the risk of a head impact on the ground…” ie those vehicles launch most adults to the point that their first point of impact is the skull.
      “Due to the disadvantageous post‐car impact pedestrian kinematics caused by the SUV and the OneBox classes, those vehicles turn out to be particularly critical. The classes Compact, Sedan and Sports Car show more favourable kinematics with respect to the secondary impact.”
      So yes I am calling out these classes of vehicles. They should not be allowed in densely populated urban areas , they are engineered to be lethal for pedestrians an increasingly large mobility class.

  • Kate 07:11 on 2020-02-28 Permalink | Reply  

    The ARTM says the proposed pink line would cost between $17 and $24 billion – rather more than Valérie Plante suggested during her campaign. The mayor still insists it’s necessary.

  • Kate 06:58 on 2020-02-28 Permalink | Reply  

    Communauto is adding more vehicles and users will be allowed to leave Communauto cars at downtown parking meters, as Car2Go prepares to exit the city.

    • walkerp 10:53 on 2020-02-28 Permalink

      Oh I had missed that about Car2Go pulling out of North America. That’s too bad.

    • Ian 15:03 on 2020-02-28 Permalink

      I liked Car2Go and used them a lot but as a sharing fleet they’re not obligated to put on winter tires so using them this time of year is awful unless the streets are absolutely clear. There were also a lot of issues around vehicle distribution – some days there would be a dozen or more parked on my street ten for a couple of weeks they would all be parked 8 blocks away.

      That’s one thing Communauto needs to get a handle on to become truly ubiquitous, though – I used to get a Car2Go to go to where my Communauto was, and I know a lot of people were doing the same.

  • Kate 13:29 on 2020-02-27 Permalink | Reply  

    The urban agglomeration may lose big to the land grab Quebec has engineered into the school board abolition law. An estimate of $653 million over ten years is floated here.

    • Ian 15:05 on 2020-02-28 Permalink

      I know this is kind of the implied story here, but is the reason (or a reason) we now have a school shortage that the city has been suppressing building new schools? If so, well then by heck I’m all for expropriation. It’s not like the city was ever adverse to expropriating from citizens if they were standing in the way of “progress”.

  • Kate 13:15 on 2020-02-27 Permalink | Reply  

    Club 281 is going to close this year, but not till September. Sadly, its location will be the site of more condos.

    I’ve never been to 281 nor wanted to, but yeah, just what we need – more condos.

    • Ian 15:13 on 2020-02-28 Permalink

      I’ve been, it’s a bit cliché nowadays but it is what it is. To be fair 281 hasn’t been considered “the best” male strip club for a long, long time, but it did have cachet as a classic.

  • Kate 11:07 on 2020-02-27 Permalink | Reply  

    Wanted to note, looking at a few of the cams on the city traffic cam map, right now it’s raining downtown, but snowing north of the mountain.

    La Presse also notes the weather gradient in the area, as more of the precipitation turns to snow.

    • Ian 15:11 on 2020-02-28 Permalink

      Winterpocalypse was a bit overrated but I there were a lot of very slippery roads in the city today. I tried to drive some people to work & school this morning but St Urbain was a death trap, I saw 3 accidents in 5 blocks & was drifting at every intersection, so switched over to Parc & kicked everyone out to go take the bus & went home. Later in the day I had an errand to run downtown so I took the bus myself, and the 80 was sliding the last 4 feet into every stop.

      This was that sponge toffee precipitation I was talking about. It doesn’t look like much, but it’s ice all the way through and when compressed is super slippery.

  • Kate 09:14 on 2020-02-27 Permalink | Reply  

    COVID-19 is all over the news, although no case has yet been diagnosed in Quebec. Media are following Quebecers who have been infected abroad and telling about schools that are cancelling planned trips.

    It can be difficult to distinguish fact from paranoia, but whatever else is said, COVID-19 is evidently very contagious, and it seems only a matter of time before it lands here. I’ve never remotely been a prepper, but it’s crossing my mind to make sure I have two weeks’ worth of supplies laid in, on the supposition that if an epidemic were to sweep through North America we could be ordered to stay home for a period of time. What do my readers think?

    • Ephraim 10:02 on 2020-02-27 Permalink

      Last I read, the death rate is 5X that of the normal flu. I’m sort of fatalistic about it. Not like there is really much that I can do about it…. other than prepare my finances for this rollercoaster. I don’t understand how anyone couldn’t manage 14 days of food. Sure, nothing fancy, but most people should have a few cans of beans, some rice, frozen protein, oil, etc in the house. Sure, not a salad, but onions, carrots and some frozen veggies should make it manageable.

    • Kate 10:11 on 2020-02-27 Permalink

      My place has a rather old-fashioned kitchen with minimal storage, and a fridge with a typical small freezer. I figured out to rough numbers last night that I’d be OK for a week but pretty scanty for a second, and I have to think about the cat as well. And then there are a few things, like toilet paper, that you also don’t want to run out of. All these things take up storage room if you buy more than you need for the moment (which is why I usually don’t).

    • Mr.Chinaski 11:31 on 2020-02-27 Permalink

      Death rate for the flu is 0.1%, this one is around 2-3%. So it could be 30x bigger. The problem might not be just about that, it would be if everybody gets it *at the same time*. If everybody needs hospitalisation, there just won’t be enough staff/place/help for a lot of people. Then the weaker ones will die at a greater rate.

      ex: A hospital only has 20 ventilators. If a hundred people needs them, a lot more people will die because of that. So it’s not just the virus, it’s the complication that will happen if a lot of people get the flu *at the same time*. Which is why precautions must be taken.

    • John B 11:42 on 2020-02-27 Permalink

      We’ve started stocking up a bit on staples, not making a specific emergency store, but trying to have more on hand than we normally do that we’ll cycle through. We’re in a similar kitchen situation, but canned & dry goods like flour & beans can go a long way.

      It’s not even a worry that we might all be ordered to stay home, but if you’re exposed, then you’re supposed to self-quarantine, and that could happen to anyone rather unexpectedly, (although depending on their job people will be more or less likely to have it happen).

    • Rebecca 11:53 on 2020-02-27 Permalink

      The biggest thing for us was a run to get refills a bit earlier than necessary. The recommendation is to have 1 week of meds remaining when you refill. We’re making sure we have a buffer of at least 2 weeks now.

    • Kate 12:44 on 2020-02-27 Permalink

      Wish I liked beans. Of course I’d eat them if there was nothing else…

    • Blork 12:49 on 2020-02-27 Permalink

      As long as the water and electricity stays on we could probably last for three months at my place. Food would be boring and repetitive, but at least it would be there. (If there were a full-on zombie apocalypse that could probably be stretched to six months.)

      This is mostly thanks to a small freezer I have in the basement, plus an abundance of storage space so I take advantage of sales and Costco runs.

    • walkerp 13:01 on 2020-02-27 Permalink

      From what I have been reading, it sounds like it’s not going to be containable and that quarantines are ultimately ineffective. We will end up with another disease like the flus we all get in the winter, just a new strain. Annoying for the healthy, perhaps deadly for those in certain immune-deficient categories.

      Try to resist the media’s tone of fear and apocalypse. This is as usual a complex situation of risk management, not a zombie breakout.

      Certain containment measures will be appropriate, but widely banning travel, closing down cities, and hoarding resources are not realistic solutions for an outbreak that lasts years. All of these measures come with risks of their own. Ultimately some pandemic responses will require opening borders, not closing them. At some point the expectation that any area will escape effects of COVID-19 must be abandoned: The disease must be seen as everyone’s problem.

    • Tee Owe 15:23 on 2020-02-27 Permalink

      Agree with Walkerp about not letting ourselves get caught up in media hype here –
      As I see it, one issue is how we count. Number of deaths – certainty, you can’t get that wrong.
      Number infected – total unreliability, related to different testing methods, lack of testing , etc.
      Any underestimation of the number infected results in overestimation of the mortality rate.
      Added to which is paranoia about the unknown versus complacency about what we know. I just read some numbers from Ireland – this flu season so far, a few under 3600 infected, and 98 dead. Do the math – that’s about 2.8%. So – are we quarantining visitors from Ireland – no! Because, it’s just the flu.

    • Kate 15:54 on 2020-02-27 Permalink

      True, but everyone has already been exposed to flu, and some of us have had flu shots. COVID-19 is a new thing, so maybe one reason it’s so contagious is because nobody has any acquired immunity. Which is kind of scary.

    • dmdiem 19:15 on 2020-02-27 Permalink

    • walkerp 08:37 on 2020-02-28 Permalink

      There’s no immunity to flu either.

      I found this video from Business Insider quite helpful as well, debunking a bunch of myths but also giving some good overall perspective on how we as a society should approach an outbreak like this.

    • Kate 11:07 on 2020-02-28 Permalink

      No immunity at all, walkerp, even after a lifetime spent on public transit resisting every damn flu strain in circulation?

      Well that sucks.

  • Kate 09:05 on 2020-02-27 Permalink | Reply  

    Statistics Canada says black Montrealers are still economically disadvantaged, both men and women making significantly lower incomes than the average.

    (Note that the average for all men is $50,300 while for women it’s only $39,150.)

  • Kate 08:55 on 2020-02-27 Permalink | Reply  

    Here’s an odd little piece on Treehugger about a Montreal duplex which shows the writer has no idea about our residential streets. He praises a duplex for its “gentle density” evidently unaware that most of the central part of this city was built up with row after row of duplexes and triplexes long ago. He also seems to think it’s a new building, although it looks to me like someone took an existing duplex, gutted it and did a number on it.

    One positive thing in this rebuild is that it was preserved as a home for two different households, whereas most of the duplex refits we see involve first and foremost opening the structure into one living space. Mind you, the owners described are close relatives, so it isn’t clear whether the building would still be suitable for entirely separate households into the future.

    And yes… there it is, the obligatory breakfast bar.

    • CE 10:18 on 2020-02-27 Permalink

      “Gentle density” is one of those urban planning buzzwords that really makes my skin crawl.

    • SMD 12:40 on 2020-02-27 Permalink

      Looks like it was a small shoebox that got knocked down and replaced with a new duplex: before and after.

    • Kate 13:18 on 2020-02-27 Permalink

      Good detective work, SMD!

    • Hamza 13:35 on 2020-02-27 Permalink

      Interior giving off some Parasite vibes

  • Kate 08:46 on 2020-02-27 Permalink | Reply  

    Over the last news cycle, François Legault claimed that there were AK-47s at the Kahnawake blockade and he’s been shouted down for making such unfounded, inflammatory remarks, including by the federal indigenous services minister.

    • Meezly 12:40 on 2020-02-27 Permalink

      I know most everyone here shares similar views on this, but still, it disgusts me that we have an ignorant, emotionally immature and racist excuse of a person as a leader.


      “Legault says he is disclosing the information [about the theoretical AK-47s] because he wants the public to understand why provincial police have not yet moved in. He says he does not want to have it on his conscience that police officers were injured in an intervention.”

      Uh no. Legault is disclosing the information because he wants to reinforce the stereotype that the Mohawk people are aggressive and not capable of peaceful protest.


      “The SQ’s communications team appeared to be caught off-guard by Legault’s remarks.”

      Legault’s government files injunctions against the blockade in Kahnawake and Listuguj encampment and “leaves it up to the SQ” to execute the injunction. Yet he neglects to consult with them about disclosing potentially sensitive, if not false, information to the public. It’s obvious what his motive is, to escalate public anger against the protesters.


      “I’m old enough to remember Oka,” he told reporters Tuesday morning, just before the injunction was granted.

      Yet he clearly is not wise enough to have learned anything. His utmost concern is the Quebec economy, which is apparently losing $100 million daily to the blockades, and he is completely unaware (or indifferent) to that fact that all the economic thoroughfares cut through Kahnawake territory and that back in the 1950s, the community lost its direct access to the St. Lawrence River, when riverfront land was expropriated for the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway.

    • Kate 13:19 on 2020-02-27 Permalink

      Thanks for all the linkage, Meezly – and your thoughts on this too.

    • Kevin 09:03 on 2020-02-28 Permalink

      Legault’s team is doubling down for Friday http://twitter.com/ewansauves/status/1233375040646852608

  • Kate 14:13 on 2020-02-26 Permalink | Reply  

    The Université de Montréal has selected a new rector, who’ll start his term June 1.

  • Kate 14:08 on 2020-02-26 Permalink | Reply  

    A study finds that 17% of Montrealers admit to smoking cannabis [in the year before] legalization, a proportion that somewhat undercuts CTV’s headline that we were big fans of weed.

    Added as later edit the phrase in square brackets.

    • Bill Binns 14:17 on 2020-02-26 Permalink

      It is extremely hard to believe that 83% of Montrealers got through highschool without taking a puff here and there.

    • Blork 14:44 on 2020-02-26 Permalink

      Very little is said about the source or method of the study, but the number jumps to 38% for people aged 18 to 24. So that 17% likely includes a lot of older people — in the 50s and 60s, pot smoking was seen as much more degenerate than in later years, so fewer “straight” people did it or at least admitted to it.

      Maybe it also includes a lot of immigrants, who either aren’t part of Montreal’s pot-loving culture, or are reluctant to admit it (despite the legality here) because of how it was seen “back home.”

      There are also probably a lot of suburban tête carrée types who have only smoked pot while off at some convention where the wild times also involves strippers and whatnot so they are reluctant to admit it even to themselves, plus all the suburban hockey moms who are too busy sloshing down magnums of chardonnay to ever have time for something as stinky as pot.

      So yeah. Montreal in 360 degrees, not just the folks you see on St-Denis.

    • Mark Côté 16:15 on 2020-02-26 Permalink

      The article says (at least) 17% used cannabis *in 2018*. Thus the number of Montrealers who have ever partaken must be much higher.

      However according to the Canadian Cannabis Survey 2018 22% of Canadians used cannabis that year, so I guess Montreal really is undeserving of its reputation…? Either that or these surveys are not particularly accurate.

    • Tee Owe 15:09 on 2020-02-27 Permalink

      mark –
      The latter

  • Kate 10:43 on 2020-02-26 Permalink | Reply  

    Mayor Plante is pressing the Quebec government to fund an extension of the orange line to Bois-Franc, obviously a logical step but bound to be an expensive one in a part of town that will never vote CAQ.

    • Spi 11:10 on 2020-02-26 Permalink

      This just highlights everything that has been wrong with public transit planning in this city over the past few decades. It’s always what’s politically expedient not about improving the network and service offering. Extend the orange and finish the loop, instead of talking about 2 stations to bois-franc.

    • Faiz imam 11:50 on 2020-02-26 Permalink

      “Extend the orange and finish the loop”

      actually, transit best practices are discouraging the idea of loops. they are wasteful and cause operational issues.

      The right solution is to extension to cartierville, then north west towards Highway 13.

      But your basic point is correct. this needs to happen and its bad that its getting stuck in politics.

    • ant6n 12:14 on 2020-02-26 Permalink

      Loops can make alot of sense, if you have a truly circumferential line, with relatively even load along the whole line. Even though they can be operationally annyoing, they can help to reduce the load inside the loop, by allowing people to reach destinations without having to travel through the center.*

      But none of this is true for the Orange line.

      (*Note that the loop line in London was broken up due to operational considerations, but the line still forms a circle since the infrastructure hasnt changed – there’s just a transfer somewhere.)

    • Francesco 15:31 on 2020-02-26 Permalink

      How do I “like“ what Ant6n just wrote? I just passed by the big hole in the ground at the corner of Thimens and Marcel-Laurin that will eventually be the above-ground edifice of the Côte-Vertu garage for the Orange Line metro; it’s about 1200 m away from the Bois-Franc Exo/REM station, and the length of an actual passenger tunnel from the end of the tail tracks at Côte-Vertu station to Bois-Franc would be less than 2 km.

    • Francesco 01:08 on 2020-02-27 Permalink

      Today’s presentation by the City would suggest that the tail tracks tunnel (“l’arrière-gare”) reaches close to Poirier, making the actual tunnelling to Bois-Franc (and a bit beyond for its tail tracks) perhaps just over a kilometre.


    • Kate 10:17 on 2020-02-27 Permalink

      Francesco, in fact St-Laurent’s Alan DeSousa has been saying just this for a couple of years – that the digging for the garage makes it natural to also extend the tunnel to Poirier and beyond.

    • Chris 10:42 on 2020-02-27 Permalink

      Finish the loop please

    • Kate 10:53 on 2020-02-27 Permalink

      Can you explain the value of the loop? Wouldn’t most passengers be getting on somewhere in Laval and coming down either the western or eastern spine of the orange line? Would many really be boarding at e.g. Sauvé and riding westward around the top to Poirier?

      The main virtue I can see in this is that the 121 bus route would be less crowded – it’s the one that bridges between the two spines of the orange line between Sauvé and Côte-Vertu. Maybe some Laval lines I don’t know.

    • Bert 14:49 on 2020-02-27 Permalink

      A loop, or even a western branch in Laval will certainly encourage people on the western side of Laval, say west of the 13, possibly even Labelle to use the western arm of the metro rather than going to the Montmorency Metro or even Concorde by train. This is above and beyond simply removing cars from the 13 and the Lachapelle bridge.

      That said, hard metrics on ow much that section of the line is currently used would be enlightening.

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