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  • Kate 09:11 on 2019-02-14 Permalink | Reply  

    Since Andy Riga left the transit beat at the Gazette the writers have clearly been advised to be more negative about the STM’s progress. Currently they’re chipping at the plan to invest in hybrid buses.

    • DeWolf 13:06 on 2019-02-14 Permalink

      It’s interesting that the article focuses on study of hybrid buses in Hong Kong that found their performance was not particularly impressive when dealing with hills, hot weather and congestion. Fair enough, but what the article doesn’t mention is that:

      Hong Kong is very hilly. Montreal is pancake flat by comparison, even factoring in Mount Royal.

      Traffic in central parts of HK is exponentially more congested than Montreal. Average speeds are very low throughout the day and there is a lot of stop-and-go. I can’t think of a single bus route in Montreal that would face similar conditions over such a long period of time.

      Hong Kong is very hot. By Montreal standards, it’s summer there for 10 months a year, and in the actual dog days of summer, we’re talking about weeks and weeks of 33 degree days, which is probably closer to 40 degrees on the pavement of a congested road. Air conditioning needs to work really, really hard there. Again, Montreal just can’t compare, even if it’s a particularly hot summer like in 2018.

      tl;dr, this particular study was very useful for Hong Kong, given its particular environmental conditions, but perhaps not so much for Montreal.

    • Ian 19:01 on 2019-02-14 Permalink

      @DeWolf Considering that vehicles are even less fuel efficient in cold weather I’m not convinced by this line of reasoning

    • Raymond Lutz 20:50 on 2019-02-14 Permalink

      Un journal qui écrit “he said he approached the Quebec government several times over the years in an attempt to sell the idea of buses fuelled with renewable natural gas , but his sales pitches have fallen on deaf ears.” ne vaut pas le papier sur lequel il est imprimé… RENEWABLE NATURAL GAS! Quels cons.

    • Kevin 08:27 on 2019-02-15 Permalink

      @Raymond Lutz
      Renewable natural gas comes from compost and garbage dumps.

      They used to just flare it off, and I remember going near landfills as a kid and seeing the flames shooting into the sky.

    • EmilyG 12:07 on 2019-02-15 Permalink

    • Chris 15:33 on 2019-02-15 Permalink

      Kevin, I don’t think I’d call garbage dumps renewable either. For compost, I guess that fair enough, but it’s a tiny fraction of where gas comes from, and there are better uses for compost anyway.

  • Kate 08:11 on 2019-02-14 Permalink | Reply  

    Valérie Plante is asking Quebec City for hundreds of millions of dollars for work needing to be done in Montreal.

  • Kate 08:07 on 2019-02-14 Permalink | Reply  

    The Journal reports briefly on a fire in the presbytery of a disused church on Crémazie, without noting that it had already had a pretty serious fire last month.

  • Kate 08:02 on 2019-02-14 Permalink | Reply  

    Jonathan Montpetit on why Quebec and Canada see SNC-Lavalin differently.

    • Chris 10:57 on 2019-02-14 Permalink

      Wait, isn’t Quebec part of Canada? 🙂

    • Kate 11:02 on 2019-02-14 Permalink

      Well, let’s say, why the Quebec and Canadian establishments see it differently.

    • Patrick 13:23 on 2019-02-14 Permalink

      Paul Wells has a wonderfully snarky column this week on the avalanche of commentators who defend the kid-gloves approach to big companies like SNC. But he sees it as a Canadian problem, not just a Quebec one.

    • Ian 20:32 on 2019-02-14 Permalink

      It’s a subtle distinction but this is one instance where federal/ Quebec or Quebec/ROC is a useful description… But let’s not devolve into a self-policing precise definition community. We all knew what Kate meant by that. she was hardly dogwhistling.
      Of course Quebec wants SNC Lavalin to succeed, like Bombardier and others. Realistically when companies shift multinationally we risk things like Pascals getting bought out then collapsing because the parent company had issues. Pascal was way better than Rona, better positioned, then whoops dead.

    • Chris 21:30 on 2019-02-14 Permalink

      Ian, hence my smiley! 🙂

    • david100 01:42 on 2019-02-15 Permalink

      Yeah, I have friends who work at SNC-Lavalin, and any sort of project that tanks Quebec’s super firm in a permanent way is not cool in my book. Obviously, Toronto types are trying to steal more work from Montreal, and it should be seen that way, regardless of what we all know about how it works in Montreal.

      That said, there have been discussions on this blog even about about how there’s a real question about whether certain institutional norms have made it so that Quebec simply doesn’t have the engineering know how that it once did. Ie. in a context where the best leave to Canada or the US, that perhaps the ones hired onto local firms are funneled into a system the de-emphasizes good work in favor of patronage/tricked contracts which, in turn, leaves Quebec sort of with an inferior class of engineers and project managers.

      Personally, I think that SNC-Lavalin employs some of the best engineers in the entire world. But anyone who saw how the new McGill hospital went down could be forgiven for having that Charles Bronson feeling of loading the pistol and walking out into the rainy midnight to settle score.

      So, basically, I think Kate is completely right. In Canada, this is a Quebec problem. In Quebec, this is a Liberal problem, with maybe a weak-willed PQ in the face of Stephen Harper footing the bill situation. And the question of whether they do bribes in other countries? Like Bombardier, who cares if it means Quebec jobs?

    • david100 01:46 on 2019-02-15 Permalink

      Bah, should have re-read that before posting, but the point is there.

      Would only add that it’s a real shame that our bidding system is so vulnerable to these scams.

    • Jack 05:46 on 2019-02-15 Permalink

      From Well’s, boy this really is a Quebec inc. problem.” And it’s true that SNC-Lavalin’s largest shareholder is the Quebec public-service pension fund, whose pet project is a light-rail network, whose main construction contractor is SNC-Lavalin. And it’s true that the head of the pension fund pushed hard for the federal government to set up an Infrastructure Bank whose only investment to date, announced on the day before a beleaguered provincial government launched an election campaign, was in the light-rail network promoted by the pension fund that is SNC’s biggest investor and which, in turn, is the rail project’s biggest contractor.”

    • Kevin 08:30 on 2019-02-15 Permalink

      If SNC-Lavalin is no longer allowed to compete, employees will quit and form their own, smaller firms.

      It’s been done before, and it’s how SNC-Lavalin acquired key divisions.

      For example, its mining division was acquired by purchasing a mining firm that had been created by people laid off from another company.

    • Chris 15:35 on 2019-02-15 Permalink

      Along the same line as Kevin: people often make the mistake of thinking that if a company goes bankrupt that all value is lost. But the workers don’t vanish, the factories don’t vanish, the inventory doesn’t disappear. Something new can rise from the ashes.

  • Kate 18:53 on 2019-02-13 Permalink | Reply  

    However, when it comes to reality disconnection, Valérie Plante has moments of her own, as in her championing of the Peel basin baseball stadium plan.

    • Tim S. 20:16 on 2019-02-13 Permalink

      Oh boy. I didn’t realize that this project involved Stephen Bronfman, chief Liberal fundraiser and friend of Justin Trudeau, negotiating to buy the land from the federal government. This is getting done, isn’t it?

    • steph 20:31 on 2019-02-13 Permalink

      This is gonna turn into another Quebec City Videotron center without the NHL team.

    • Steve Q 01:43 on 2019-02-14 Permalink

      Peel Basin is the best place for a baseball stadium along with residential and commercial development around the stadium. I’m glad the city will go along with that. For the moment, the area is a no go zone. Glad to see someone ready to invest in this dead area.

    • Kate 08:00 on 2019-02-14 Permalink

      Steve Q, what on earth do you mean by a no go zone? People walk through there all the time in summer, going to and from the canal park; cyclists use a path through there to move between the canal bike path and the islands; the old pumping station is used by a blacksmith who gives courses.

      The phrase “no go zone” implies crime or danger. The area is a bit stark but there’s no danger there at all unless you fall into the canal.

    • Blork 11:22 on 2019-02-14 Permalink

      I personally don’t give AF about any baseball stadium, but Steve Q is somewhat correct about it being a dead zone. Kate, we’re talking about the area on the SOUTH side of the Peel Basin, where Oak Street terminates. I really doubt there are any pedestrians passing through there. The bicycle path just skirts the very edge of that zone (along the canal).

    • qatzelok 11:28 on 2019-02-14 Permalink

      I wonder if Trudeau will offer “you can have your stadium, Mr. Bronfman, if my other sponsors get to build Canada East pipeline.” At least a pipeline would be used for what it’s built for.

    • Kevin 11:35 on 2019-02-14 Permalink

      Hey folks, we’ve got this great investment idea. The average fan is 57 years old, dislikes public transit, and lives in the suburbs. We’re going to need hundreds of millions of dollars to construct a building that will be used maybe 80 days of the year if we actually get a team
      We know this sport failed abysmally the last time it was here, with most years among the lowest attendance in the league. And we know the audience has been steadily shrinking for the past decade and last year’s audience, in person and on TV combined, was the smallest in 15 years.
      And the games take a long time too.

      Who wants in?

    • qatzelok 13:38 on 2019-02-14 Permalink

      *photo of Stephen Bronfman pitching softballs to Algerian and Senegalese youth in Jarry Park*

    • mare 13:46 on 2019-02-14 Permalink

      Also, maybe the reason the area hasn’t been developed yet is that the federal landowners (is it all federal land?) already ‘earmarked’ the area for a baseball stadium, Cirque de Soleil theatre, or something else big-ish.

    • Morgan 14:05 on 2019-02-14 Permalink

      @Kate The proposed stadium site is south of Wellington, across the street from Costco near the Victoria bridge (probably about 10 minute walk from the bassin peel area you’re thinking of). It’s currently warehouses and a Loto-Quebec office but is very coveted land because it’s big and next to Griffintown. Devimco has also made noises about building a monster $3 billion project there, so it will be interesting to see who “wins.” It’s currently zoned commercial and local officials have said they want to keep it that way (but who knows if that’ll change once enough money is flashed in front of them.)

      I live near there, so I’ve taken an interest in what happens to it.

      As I stated on an earlier post, I’d favor a baseball stadium IF it can also be used for other stuff (concerts, local sports, winter activities) and serves as the anchor for a cool and well-planned neighborhood around it. From what I understand, developers don’t plan to plunk a stadium in the middle of nowhere. I believe they also want to develop restaurants/hotels/businesses/maybe condos around it as a way to make the whole thing financially viable.

      @mare it’s mostly federal land but there are a couple parcels that are privately owned, I believe. Montreal has put a reserve on it, meaning it gets to match any offer that comes along.

    • Kate 16:11 on 2019-02-14 Permalink

      Blork, Steve Q said a no go zone. That’s defined here as “an area in a town barricaded off to civil authorities by a force such as a paramilitary, or an area barred to certain individuals or groups. The term has also been used to refer to areas undergoing insurgency where ruling authorities have lost control and are unable to enforce sovereignty, but also to areas that have a reputation for violence and crime which makes people frightened to go there.”

      That’s bullshit. There’s nothing even remotely approximating this in Montreal and certainly not down by Peel Basin.

    • Jay 10:55 on 2019-02-15 Permalink

      @Kate, with all due respect, I think Steve Q was not implying the future area considered for a baseball stadium is occupied by a paramilitary or barred off from the general public. I’m sure he just intended to say, there’s nothing worth going down there now for and it’s pretty much a dead area, which it is.

      Although polarizing (as many issues of this nature can be) I’ve heard a huge amount of support and interest in the revival of baseball in Montreal. Perhaps not from this crowd, but there is to me a majority of people who support it’s return, and the un-arguable benefits which it would bring economically and towards creating an area to revive a “dead-zone”.

    • Chris 15:41 on 2019-02-15 Permalink

      Jay, “un-arguable benefits”? They are very arguable. ex:

    • Jay 19:53 on 2019-02-15 Permalink

      Chris, taken in context with the rest of the sentence “the un-arguable benefits which it would bring economically and towards creating an area to revive a ‘dead-zone’.”, i’ll stand by my comment. It’s hard to argue that the area they are looking at is better for the city as-is, instead of being re-developed and turned into a mixed-use area as @morgan mentioned including things such as restaurants, hotels, businesses, condos.

      Re: your video link…not really the same ballpark (hehe)…they’re talking about the satanic duo of Sampson/Loria who aided to destroy baseball in Montreal by leveraging the team to get a team in Florida, and then went on to build a new stadium in Miami, totally publically funded btw, and then proceed to destroy their ball club as well.

      From what i’ve heard, the potential ownership group for a team in Montreal has repeatedly said they are not interested in using Public money. In fact, sounds like they’ve turned away investors, as they have what they need for capital.

      I don’t see why, given the economic benefits and spin-offs that come with a major league team, all without the use of public finances, this would be such an un-desirable thing to happen in to the city.

      Just my 2 cents

  • Kate 18:52 on 2019-02-13 Permalink | Reply  

    Valérie Plante says transport minister François Bonnardel is disconnected from reality in not recognizing that overcrowding on the orange line is a problem, and on handwaving Plante’s pink line proposal. She’s right that extending the blue line will only make the orange line’s rush hour problem worse.

    • Bert 20:04 on 2019-02-13 Permalink

      In what concerns the Pink and the Yellow lines, the STM et al. have to abandon current single-track / single-line architecture. There is plenty of capacity on the blue line to handle more trains and more cars.

      The first thing I would do is have a spur off of the Outremont station, adding stations Outremont Parc ; Fairmount (Parc / Fairmount ); Tam-Tam (Rachel / L’esplanade); Pine-Parc; Roddick Gates; Berri-UQAM. There would be certain cars that would be downtown bound and others that would be NDG bound.

      You have the Pink line basically follow Rosemont (Rose – Pink) to the east to southern Anjou and have the blue go to northern Anjou.

    • Daniel 20:20 on 2019-02-13 Permalink

      I suspect the reason the STM haven’t introduced spurs is that lines without them run more efficiently. They can handle more trains, and are less prone to delays.

      It’s disappointing but not surprising to hear the CAQ have little interest in the Pink Line. The REM serves the suburbs, which is where their voting base lives. CAQ voters don’t live on the Plateau, or Rosemont, or any of the other places the Pink Line would serve.

      I’m not sure what the answer is yet, but I do know taking politics out of transit planning and letting transit experts make informed data-driven decisions would be a great start.

    • Bert 20:31 on 2019-02-13 Permalink

      I wouldn’t spur anything on the green or orange lines, that is for sure. That said, I am certain that the utilisationof the Blue line is well below actual capacity, both in terms of volume (per train), frequency and total ridership.Bridging Berri to the Roddick Gates will at least reduce the morning yellow to orange / green line in the morning.

      I think the most important thing to improve is core capacity (i.e. Jean-Talon – Berri – (McGill / Bonaventure) – Lucien-Lallier – Snowdon) before adding in new feeder lines.

    • Kate 16:29 on 2019-02-14 Permalink

      Bert, the westbound blue line is sardines in the morning during term time at UdeM.

    • ant6n 18:40 on 2019-02-14 Permalink

      Spurs are pointless if your central section isnt … well, central. So Branches on the Blue line sound pretty meh. The Orange line could maybe have a branch in the West. I once had the crazy idea to interline the Blue and Orange line at Snowdon, so every second Orange line train would become a blue line train at Snowdown … but if the Blue line ever got extended West, that wouldn’t work anymore.

      The Pink Line should definitely be considered as a (East/West) central trunk line with branches. And the REM would make a lot of sense as a (North-South) central trunk line with branches, it’s just that whatever branches they decided build (and which ones they decided to cut off) makes the whole system kind of inferior and a somewhat of a wasted opportunity…

    • Bert 19:34 on 2019-02-14 Permalink

      Kate, go figure, trains are only 6 cars long and departure intervals are 1 minute longer.

  • Kate 18:47 on 2019-02-13 Permalink | Reply  

    Devimco has no intention to include social housing in its Maestria project, so it’s going to throw a $2.6-million bone to the city and the FTQ is adding a few more million to theoretical construction of theoretical social housing units somewhere in Ville-Marie well away from the Quartier des Spectacles. Item goes on to explain there’s no obligation for any of this.

    • Ephraim 20:52 on 2019-02-13 Permalink

      Did you really expect that they wanted to have social housing right in the QdS? I could have bet that funds would be easier to get than actual housing. And I still think the funds would go further as a subsidy than actually building and running housing. But I thought that the city had a percentage earmarked as part of the permit level.

    • Steve Q 01:40 on 2019-02-14 Permalink

      Good news, this is not a place for social housing. The same amount of money will be better use elsewhere for social housing than at this place.

    • Phil 05:33 on 2019-02-14 Permalink

      Just wait until all the suckers who buy a crazy expensive condo in this building realise that the noise. Never. Stops.

      All summer long, it just keeps going. I live two blocks away from QdS on Sherbrooke, and I can hear everything. Even with new buildings that have sprung up, which you’d think would block the noise, but really, reall don’t.

      And good luck to anyone trying to subkit a noise complaint, like they do on St. Laurent street…

    • david100 07:33 on 2019-02-14 Permalink

      ^ Yeah, the problem is that with so many new residents, there will be increase in pressure to shut things down early. It would be better if they had kept the early hotel plan.

    • Kate 09:01 on 2019-02-14 Permalink

      I guess we’re all agreed, then, that it’s best to keep poor people out of sight?

    • Ephraim 10:08 on 2019-02-14 Permalink

      Kate, it’s not a matter of keeping them out of sight, it’s also a matter of best use of the money and of course the condo upkeep costs (maintenance, shared condo fees and property tax). But let’s say that we can managed to buy a studio in that area for $400K. I may be able to buy 2 studios in the village area for that money. So, are we better off having two people in social housing with lower maintenance costs or one with high maintenance costs? And remember that I pointed out the problem with Condos with too large a mix in sizes… in Quebec, the condo vote is by square metres, so the people with the biggest apartments carry more weight…. a single condo covering one floor has the same vote as 6 apartments carrying one floor. This causes problems like having a single cable company package… because it’s by vote. Or upgrades to the buildings, or maintenance of the pool, patio, billiard room, etc. So, is it a good idea to put someone in social housing with high maintenance costs?

  • Kate 18:44 on 2019-02-13 Permalink | Reply  

    STM buses were only slightly late in most cases on Wednesday following the snowstorm. A lot of people stayed home so traffic wasn’t too bad, and the roads were cleared.

    • Daniel 22:20 on 2019-02-14 Permalink

      This seems like a stark contrast to today (the day _after_ the storm), which by my own experience was a complete disaster for the STM, and a complete nightmare for me and all the others I saw trying to get downtown.

  • Kate 14:07 on 2019-02-13 Permalink | Reply  

    A reputable reporter has emailed me, hoping I can help them find anyone who went to school with Kamala Harris at Westmount High 1977-81, or at École Notre-Dame-des-Neiges before that.

    If you don’t want to comment openly, please email me and I’ll put you in touch.

  • Kate 09:49 on 2019-02-13 Permalink | Reply  

    Some of Téo Taxi’s cars have been sent to Ontario to be auctioned off because prices there are likely to be higher.

  • Kate 09:41 on 2019-02-13 Permalink | Reply  

    Contractors with the city are grumpy about its rules, but since most of these were put in place after a years-long free-for-all at city expense, should they be surprised?

  • Kate 09:35 on 2019-02-13 Permalink | Reply  

    Roger Taillibert is not happy with the condition or usage of the Olympic stadium. The architect, who lives in Paris, is 93.

    • Ephraim 10:30 on 2019-02-13 Permalink

      Roger Taillibert’s opinion and 50c will get you a call at a payphone.

    • Tim 10:42 on 2019-02-13 Permalink

      Hopefully Taillibert will be around to provide his opinion when the Big Owe is demolished…

  • Kate 07:18 on 2019-02-13 Permalink | Reply  

    A family foundation has given $200 million to McGill University, the biggest such gift ever in Canada. It’s going to be used for graduate scholarships.

  • Kate 07:10 on 2019-02-13 Permalink | Reply  

    I sort of had to.

    Useful links: commuter trains, STM. The city is recommending keeping off the roads on Wednesday if you can. CSDM and EMSB commissions have already declared a snow day and Global has a list of the other commissions doing the same.

    Radio’s saying everything is closed: CEGEPs, private schools, everything. My street and sidewalk have not yet been plowed and I don’t own any snow pants…

    Snow removal operations should begin Wednesday evening at 19:00.

    • Ian 10:41 on 2019-02-13 Permalink

      Even Concordia is closed, which is pretty rare!

    • Chris 21:56 on 2019-02-13 Permalink

      Man, we’re getting soft: it’s not *that* much snow!

    • Kate 11:11 on 2019-02-14 Permalink

      35cm for this snowfall vs around 40cm for the biggest storms over the last few decades. It was a respectable storm.

    • Ian 19:32 on 2019-02-14 Permalink

      It’s certainly been a while since I woke up to 2 foot drifts overnight, I’m pretty sure I shovelled about 600 cubic feet of snow between my stoop, walkway, and street parking. We were getting up to 5 cm of powder an hour overnight, that counts as a blizzard no matter how you look at it. FWIW I saw 40 cm reported by some outlets. West of Beaconsfield was pretty difficult even this morning.

  • Kate 21:22 on 2019-02-12 Permalink | Reply  

    A collection of interesting, otherworldly views of scenes at Frédéric-Back Park aka the old Miron quarry.

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