Updates from June, 2019 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 18:23 on 2019-06-30 Permalink | Reply  

    Another measles warning is out about someone in Laval carrying the disease. More details about the Carrefour Laval location this person could’ve passed the virus around.

    • Ephraim 17:33 on 2019-07-01 Permalink

      WTF? Stay aware of symptoms? You should get a measles shot, if you are able, within 72 hours. That’s the treatment for exposure! (Immunoglobulin if over 6m and under 12m)

  • Kate 18:20 on 2019-06-30 Permalink | Reply  

    The body of a man in his 60s was found in the Lachine Canal on Sunday.

    • Kate 13:25 on 2019-06-30 Permalink | Reply  

      As the new Université de Montréal campus prepares to open, residents of Park Extension are worried about its proximity and how this will change their traditionally modest, ethnic enclave. The article is a little odd, giving a lot of brief glimpses of how things are changing and how rents are zooming, but the journalist clearly talked to a lot of people and didn’t just interview one or two “spokespeople” as is more usual.

      As a footnote: the article says the campus is nearly ready, but I went to check it out last week, from the Outremont side, and man. It’s impossible to get close enough to photograph much, as everything is fenced off and there are still a lot of massive excavationary holes that don’t look like there’s any chance a functioning building will be standing there come September. There are a couple of big glass boxes – the one on the right, above, was actually hard to fix the eyes on, the glass looking like it was in two places at once, and exactly mirroring the sky – but not much else, and nothing like roads or sidewalks yet that I could see.

      • Vazken 14:00 on 2019-06-30 Permalink

        Ughhhhh, I know it’s inevitable but that big gentrification bat is coming for us.

      • David100 17:21 on 2019-06-30 Permalink

        Just wanted to remind everyone that gentrification of Parc-Ex wouldn’t be nearly the problem that it is if they would simply have allowed a lot more housing on the Plateau and up in Rosemont.

        When people who can afford to pay a bit more than the city average can’t find places on the Plateau or in Rosemont – either because scarcity has pushed the cost up too high, or there simply aren’t units of the type they want – of course they head up to Parc-Ex, and the rents will rise as a result. It’s not a mystery, and it’s not a rich vs. poor conflict in the way people think.

        How gentrification works is that people one or two economic notches above the current residents of a neighborhood can no longer afford to live where they would like, so they migrate to into the hood. Then, when these types become numerous enough, and their people visit, and parks take on a different complexion, and shops open to serve them, over time, people one or two economic notches above them start seeing the hood as attractive. Once you have professionals wanting in to a hood, that’s when you get pressures to renovict or to turn empty lots and one stories into multi-story buildings. And, of course, if you follow the Plateau’s example and essentially bar all development, you accelerate in neighborhood gentrification (finite housing units being bid up and up and up), and push the excess/unmet demand into the next neighborhood.

        UdeM’s move here will accelerate that a little, but I think it’s more likely to be because the large number of students push Jean Talon street to change and accelerate the process that’s already underway, as the hood absorbs colonizers that PM and the NIMBYs have locked out of the Plateau and Rosemont. There’s an enormous amount of land upon which to build housing for all these students, and UdeM plans to do so, but it wasn’t inevitable.

        It’s come to this because of landowner greed, hardcore conservativism among neighbors, a very misguided group of progressive activists with a lot of heart but absolutely no understanding of economics or the consequences of their alliance with the landowners to block all new housing, and far too much local control, so that this gang could inflict this upon the city.

      • Kate 17:38 on 2019-06-30 Permalink

        david100, the Plateau and Rosemont have been built up for years. Every block is solid, and older “terrains vagues” near the tracks and so forth have now been built on.

        Ideally, if I recall correctly, you’d like to see developers buy up entire rows of duplexes or triplexes, demolish them and put up high rise condos, yes?

        I am not an owner and never will be. But I do not wish to live in an elevator high rise. Nor be forced to creep around in the canyons between them. Not ever. However, I and the likes of me will die off, and you will get your wish eventually, I don’t doubt.

      • David100 17:48 on 2019-06-30 Permalink

        There’s still a significant number of empty lots on the Plateau and in Rosemont. But you’re right that I’d like to 6+ story buildings allowed as of right on pretty much every artery, and 10+ story buildings dotting the landscape, basically what we already see on Saint Laurent and a few other places, built before the ban went in. The absurdity of enforcing an ultra low rise limit on Gilford at the train station, for instance, is pretty striking – that area should be surrounded by 10+ story buildings at least.

        The nice thing about building lots more housing on the Plateau is that people who do not wan to live in that housing can live further north at a lower cost, because they will not be competing with people who would live on the Plateau if they could.

      • Kate 18:35 on 2019-06-30 Permalink

        david100, what makes you think the Plateau could undergo such a radical change and not take the rest of the city with it?

      • Faiz Imam 19:10 on 2019-06-30 Permalink

        David, I agree with you to some extent, but there is a lot of room for nuance.

        One progressive zoning rule of thumb is to allow the height of buildings to equal the width of the street.

        This is already the case in most of the urban core, but means we could build up a bit more along major streets. The key here is keeping the human scale as livable as possible, and you do lose much of that without buildings with separate exits and “eyes on the street”, to use the cliche.

        Building much higher can add more people, but it often relies on thinner towers that occupy less of the land area, so the total “floor area ratio” is not nearly as huge as you would think.

        What would be really transformative is to do what Minneapolis just did, which is to ban single family zoning in the entire city, and allow duplexes and triplexes to be build “as of right” meaning no permits or special permissions needed.

        Basically, the plateau and surrounding areas are at a pretty solid density overall, but if we could expand the areas becoming denser out into the inner suburbs, that would be huge in shifting away demand from areas currently gentrifying.

        Of course this is where I bring up the infamous R-word project, which I hope will allow for the construction of tens of thousands of new units in low density areas that suddenly allow quick access to the city center.

        The Billions in luxury developments, as well as more affordable projects, all might shift quite a bit of pressure off central urban areas.

      • Ian 08:35 on 2019-07-01 Permalink

        Right, which is why Acadie, a corridor of high density highrises in the same area, is a paradise of city planning and not a vertical ghetto. Oh wait.

      • Faiz Imam 13:44 on 2019-07-01 Permalink

        I take your point, but I hope you can appreciate that the types of projects people are doing now are a *bit* better thought out than what was going on in the 1970’s and 80’s right?

      • Kate 14:30 on 2019-07-01 Permalink

        Faiz Imam, the development of Griffintown was more recent, and it was bungled. I even went to one of the public meetings. Ordinary people knew the area would need at least one school, parks, other community facilities, and we talked about it, but by then the land had all been handed over to developers who did what developers do: build for profit. The city didn’t hold out for a real neighbourhood and it doesn’t have one.

        And look at the Children’s Hospital project, even more recent. Everybody knows that part of town needs a new school but the developer simply blew the city off. It’s like the developers always have all the aces.

        Now, with the Molson sale the mayor has said the city has already reserved space for community needs, but I’ve only seen this described in general terms, and whether it’s a firm lockdown or a vague promise is not exactly clear.

        You, Faiz Imam, are an optimist. Developers don’t have a heart or a community spirit: that’s not what they’re in it for. Every concession has to be squeezed out of them by the city, and the political will is often not there, just as Quebec doesn’t have the political will to chivvy Uber or Airbnb into line. Business people are never going to do the right thing till they’re forced to, and it takes a strong government (at any level) that has the confidence of the people to make them do it.

      • Faiz Imam 18:40 on 2019-07-01 Permalink

        Oh I don’t disagree with you at all. I was actually on the ground floor for a lot of the early Griffintown stuff as that was when I started my urban planning program at Concordia. There was clear consensus from day one that the Griffintown project was a corrupt giveaway of land to developers with no substantial public interest. I recall going through the marketing slide by slide in one of my classes.

        I was around a lot of students that were part of the early organizing against the first proposed projects, which were cancelled around the financial crisis.Though I admit, I was not too directly involved with much activism.

        There is no argument I can make against your view of the Childrens, or Molson. Indeed we will have to see how that latter one goes.

        But my response is this. This is a city of 4 million people, spread over 80 municipalities. There are schools, community centers and parks being built every year all over the place, and we hear about almost none of them because these are very local issues, plus a lot of this stuff is happening out in the suburbs where the demographic of this blog tend not to reside.

        And when I see what projects are going forward, articulated by both developers and in municipal planning, i’m really impressed by how the subjects that student activists were fighting for a decade ago are actually being articulated by words and deeds of those in power.

        I’ve linked this before, but the most hopeful vision i’ve seen recently is what Pointe-Claire has officially signed into law for the zoning of the Fairview area.

        If you read through the doc, especially the parts about walkability, parks, parking, density, sustainability, and especially how those values are translated into actual rules, its concrete stuff.

        Add of course the new rules were passed in cooperation with developers, which does not surprise me. They know they stand to make plenty of money, even with a plan that leaves then with less space.

        All to say, while I agree a lot of projects in the city center are not proceeding as well as we would hope, there is plnetyo f stuff happening elsewhere that I think is more representative of the future.

      • Faiz Imam 18:41 on 2019-07-01 Permalink

      • Ian 20:09 on 2019-07-01 Permalink

        That’s actually very progressive, but if you seriously think Pointe Claire and Parc Ex have anything in common in terms of their relation to the larger city, you are sorely deceived. Transit access alone is a massive game changer there. EVERYONE in Pointe Claire has a car, and they are a half hour drive from Cavendish in good traffic.

      • Kate 07:53 on 2019-07-02 Permalink

        Ian, I think you’ve put your finger on it. I’ve been puzzling for years over why we can’t seem to create neighbourhoods any more. Why can’t we make more streets like Wellington, Masson, or Mont-Royal? And it’s the assumption everyone has a car. Those neighbourhoods came about because people needed to be able to do most of their shopping and errands on foot from home, they expected their kids would walk to school and – back in the day – many families also went to church somewhere nearby, which is why those streets are often anchored around one or more whompingly big church buildings. The classic Montreal commercial street is an expansion on the phenomenon you see in small towns all over Quebec, where the heart of the town is the church, the priest’s house, and the square around it.

        We won’t see the return of religion, but Quebec has never quite come to grips with losing the social cohesion of the big churches in their midst. The shopping centre didn’t work out as a cultural nexus, and even that is fading away. And now we get Bill 21 as a supposed unifier, around which all Quebecers are meant to agree on at least something: resist the alien in our midst.

        Wanna write a sociology treatise with me?

      • Ian 10:24 on 2019-07-02 Permalink

        Well, to expand on that idea a little, one thing I see a lot now is the proximity to schools as anchors for a walkable neighbourhood in denser neighbourhoods, as it attracts families who want their kids to be able to walk to school. Once there’s families, there’s demand for stuff like small local grocery stores, parks, cafés, libraries…

        Add some businesses that provide jobs to the mix and hey presto, you have a viable neighbourhood. It’s what made Mile End expand so quickly, and why having all the local businesses slowly convert into infrastructure for office folks is really, really bad for the neighbourhood – if all the deps and bakeries and cafés become overpriced lunch counters as on Saint Viateur, some of the crucial infrastructure to the neighbourhood is gone. Add tons of tourist parking and AirBnBs to the mix and you lose liveability. Conversely, Little Italy, Villeray, and the East Plateau are still pretty good because their organic balance is better

        Griffintown doesn’t work because they never got that liveability infrastructure, just housing. Pointe Claire won’t work because people still have to commute to work, eventhough there actually are lots of apartment buildings, non-mall business density is still too low for the population to create walkable local neighbourhoods outside the town centre, and the area is too underserved by transit to reduce reliance on cars. People need to be able to walk to a dep to buy a beer after work (for instance), or pop out to buy an onion because they want to make soup on a December evening instead of having to hop in their car and drive to a supermarket. having a cute walkable area where the mall used to be is not the same thing at all – who is seriously going to walk up to Fairview?

        From that pdf – “Pointe-Claire’s City Centre mainly serves the West Island of Montreal, L’Île-Perrot and the Vaudreuil-Dorion area, all of which represents a population pool of about 300 000. The population growth of this pool should remain close to 5% per 5-year period, mainly because of the new residential projects in Pierrefonds, Sainte Anne-de-Bellevue and the Vaudreuil-Dorion area and because of the densification of existing neighbourhoods.”

        Let’s get real here, nobody is going to walk from old Pointe Claire to Fairview, let alone Vaudreuil to to Pointe Claire. It’s simply too far.

        All that dreaming-in-technicolour aside, when you have big residential developments going up like what happened in Griffintown and is going to happen in Parc-Ex, they never think about parks, schools, or community infrastructure in general. At least in the 70s and 80s they usually put in a dep on the ground floor, but most new developments don’t even have that.

      • Ian 14:41 on 2019-07-02 Permalink

        …also worth noting, those new housing developments are just that, only housing. Take Ste Anne, for instance – I drive past the new Broccolini subdivision on my way to the college – it is right by the ecomuseum. There are no deps, parks, schools, retail, or pretty much anything except the ecomuseum and the bike path within walking distance. All the new development in Ste Anne is north of the 40 in anticipation of the new REM station. It’s a 15-20 minute bus ride from old Ste Anne… or a 5 minute drive. To get to Fairview you would have to take either Morgan back past Kirkland and catch a connector bus or catch the bus into Ste Anne then take the 419 to Fairview.

        Worth noting, to get to Fairview from Sainte Anne on the 419 (the fastest route) is a 38 minute ride, and only comes every half an hour weekdays. It’s a 12 minute drive.

        When you say:

        “There are schools, community centers and parks being built every year all over the place, and we hear about almost none of them because these are very local issues, plus a lot of this stuff is happening out in the suburbs where the demographic of this blog tend not to reside.

        And when I see what projects are going forward, articulated by both developers and in municipal planning, i’m really impressed by how the subjects that student activists were fighting for a decade ago are actually being articulated by words and deeds of those in power.”

        My response is this: I do actually know what’s going on in that part of the West Island, and you are not just an optimist but delusional if you think that Pointe Claire building a Market District in the Fairview area is going to create a real walkable neighbourhood in the sense of even Verdun or PSC let alone your utopian urban planning visions. I don’t care what they taught you in your urban planning courses, take the 211 to the terminus one day (or even better, try to get to Smoke Meat Pete by bus), imagine actually living out there and having this be your everyday reality, and let me know how walkable you think any of that will EVER be.

        I’ve been teaching in Ste Anne for 3 years now and when people ask me if I am considering moving out there from Mile End I laugh, and laugh, and laugh.

        I like my kids being able to walk to school, and being able to pop out for an onion if I feel like it.

      • Ian 16:29 on 2019-07-02 Permalink

        …in the end, the way you beat cars is to make neighbourhoods so self-sufficient you not only don’t need a car, it’s a hassle to own one – but you can’t just make it hassle or people will move. I live in the city centre, on purpose, and I did not own car until I was 48 years old. I still don’t drive in town if I can help it even though the bus sucks because driving and parking in the city centre is mostly awful, confusing, and inconvenient; well worth planning the extra travel time. Now that I do own a car all this stick before carrot urban planning is beginning to strike me as the work of lazy, reactionary assholes who don’t have any good ideas but imagine everyone should want what they want despite what the necessities of their particulars may be.

        People that work or live west of NDG, east of HoMa, north of the Met or in the burbs really don’t have the option of not owning a car. Transit sucks out there and it’s actually not only convenient but necessary to drive, and they won’t go places where it’s a pain in the ass if they can help it. The reason not having car culture south of the canal works is because people there have been poor for centuries and now that there are gentrifying jerks trying to rebuild the area in their image, even the sense of being “from” the Point or Saint Henri is going out the door in favour of laptop-friendly cafés, hipster restos and Yoga Mom classes in the parks, much to the chagrin of the low-rent locals.

        Hence the conundrum we find ourselves in.

        Could be worse, in Toronto the whole city is garbage to drive in and it takes you an hour and a half to go from the Junction to the old Indian neighbourhood on Gerrard by public transit. It’s not entirely unlike LA in that sense. I know a very rich woman that got her pilot’s license so she could skip freeway traffic in LA.

        There is no ideal solution, as given the density high efficiency urban planning requires, you either have to deal with vast swaths of underdeveloped areas or you have more of the same high density back to back so your choice is the situation in Montreal or Philadelphia – or the situation in Toronto or LA. This is why you have people in Brooklyn (or any big city’s inner city residents if they are lucky enough to have a neighbourhood that started pre ww2) that never leave their neighbourhood. They don’t have to, and getting around cities sucks.

        Your other option is a small European style city centre where everyone is pretty much homogeneous, there are fewer cultural conflicts because of that, the land is flat, the streets have been the same for 500 years, and you have incredibly moderate summers and winters. Yay let’s ride bikes and make babies that look like all the other babies and go to one of the 5 ethnic restaurants on our 3-day weekends … oh wait, that’s not us.

        All that said and done, saying we need to get rid of cars, or that we need suburban style parking in the city core, or that we need to make bikes the primary mode of transportation in the entire city, or letting developers decide what’s best for us, or making dreamy hand-wavy motions about high density residential complexes OR WHATEVER as the solution to everything is so far away from any solution that it’s joke. There is no silver bullet, and we really have to think of everyone’s very different situations in a city like ours, because that’s part of what makes it an interesting city worth living in. I moved to Montreal from another old immigrant city that grew organically into a mishmash of realities, which went sour when Canadian heavy industry collapsed …. I moved to Montreal because it was both exotic and familiar in a way Toronto can never be. I fell in love with Montreal, not because it was convenient, not because it was ideal, not because it was homogenous, not because it always makes sense. Montreal is a city of many realities that all blend together, and I love it not despite all its paradoxical contexts, but in many ways because of them.

        @Kate: there’s your treatise.

      • JaneyB 13:18 on 2019-09-03 Permalink

        I’d like to see co-working centres anchoring denser, car-limited neighbourhoods. It should be legislated that large companies must rent satellite space in those centres in order to lower the carbon burden of municipalities and the commute-time burden to workers and their families. This morning, I came across an interesting article about converting empty churches to co-working centres. That could really work here. More: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2019/aug/28/faith-and-freelancers-why-churches-are-turning-into-co-working-spaces

    • Kate 07:25 on 2019-06-30 Permalink | Reply  

      Le Devoir has a dossier this weekend profiling five of the builders of the new bridge, and what their roles were.

      • Kate 07:20 on 2019-06-30 Permalink | Reply  

        As my bit of original reportage showed, users of the new Jump bikes are mostly not wearing helmets because who carries around a bike helmet on the off chance they might need one?

        • Michael Black 08:17 on 2019-06-30 Permalink

          I did know someone who carried a helmet around, hanging off her knapsack. Her bike had been stolen, so she had the helmet, but was using Bixi.

          But not common, and even less among people going for joyrides on Bixi or the like.


        • dwgs 08:31 on 2019-06-30 Permalink

          It seems to me that I see more helmeted Bixi riders the last couple of years.

        • qatzelok 09:09 on 2019-06-30 Permalink

          Electric bikes allow humans to go very fast with very little effort. In other words, they are getting closer to being automobiles and motorcycles. Is this really a postive evolution?

          I think these vehicles should be exclusively aimed at seniors and people with physical limitations, who would not otherwise be able to get to 20 kph on their own steam.

          For everyone else, e-bikes and other prosthetics (including cars) are a form of abuse of resources and public space.

        • Blork 13:03 on 2019-06-30 Permalink

          Bixi has the advantage of using stations, and you can predict ahead of time if you’ll be able to get a Bixi, so people use them for commuting because it’s pretty reliable. Jump bikes are stationless, so there is no predictability. Few people will walk around with a bike helmet hoping to find a Jump to ride to work each day; anyone who wants to use bike sharing to commute is already using Bixi.

          The need for a helmet really puts the brakes on Jump, so I’m surprised they are trying it here. Bixi would probably be dead if helmets were required on them. I predict that in five years time most of these commercial, un-stationed bike sharing things will be gone, but Bixi will survive.

          To recap: because Bixi uses stations, it is good for predictable and repeatable rides. It’s also good for random one-off rides. But Jump and other stationless bikes are NOT good for repeatable rides, such as commuting, and since a helmet is required they are also NOT good for random one-off rides.

        • DeWolf 19:18 on 2019-06-30 Permalink

          I’ve already seen half a dozen people riding Jump bikes in the past day. Given how expensive it is, and the risk of getting a ticket for not wearing a helmet (and none of the riders had a helmet), I’m surprised to have seen so many.

          Maybe it’s the novelty factor. Or maybe (and this is wildly optimistic) some people open their Uber app looking for a car, see a bike is nearby and decide to take that instead. In which case that wouldn’t be so bad.

        • CE 21:39 on 2019-06-30 Permalink

          My girlfriend has the Uber app and they sent her a message saying she could try the Jump bikes for free so that might explain why so many people are using them right now.

        • Kate 22:14 on 2019-06-30 Permalink

          I didn’t get a picture but a Jump bike was on my block today and was attached to some random sign pole. The theory is they can only be attached to bike racks, but is that going to be respected any more than the helmet rule? Don’t forget, Uber does its thing by disrupting rules.

        • steph 23:17 on 2019-06-30 Permalink

          I saw a picture on Instagram of a Jump bike locked to a BIXI bike dock. Yes it was locked in such a way to prevent proper use of the dock. This is going to be a disaster.

        • mare 23:33 on 2019-06-30 Permalink

          Prediction 1: Soon you can use the Uber app to order a helmet and then an Uber drivers will deliver it to your location. They’ll call it UberHeads. The Uber car will follow you and when you are done using the Jump bike it will collect the helmet from you. Uber doesn’t care it’ll make a loss on every bike ride, they do that on every car ride already.

          Prediction 2: activists will lock all Jump bikes to a stationary object with a second lock and throw away the key.

        • Uatu 09:25 on 2019-07-01 Permalink

          Yeah. I can see activists doing that. Very ironic, disrupting the disruptor….

        • Ian 14:52 on 2019-07-01 Permalink

          Cheaper just to epoxy the locks

        • Kate 19:58 on 2019-07-01 Permalink

          So Ian, do you teach Practical Anarchism 101 out at that lefty college of yours?

        • Ian 21:16 on 2019-07-01 Permalink

          Well not quite so explicitly, no 😉

      • Kate 07:18 on 2019-06-30 Permalink | Reply  

        It’s no secret that rents have risen in Montreal well beyond inflation levels and – more to the point – much faster than most folks’ incomes. CTV looks at the rents and the housing crisis while TVA asks whether rents are too high – or not high enough, as a landlords’ coalition would have us believe.

        Inevitably, animal shelters are overwhelmed with the number of pets turned in before moving day by people unable or unwilling to find new digs that accept animals.

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