Updates from July, 2019 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 21:28 on 2019-07-29 Permalink | Reply  

    The Binerie Mont-Royal, which has been in the same place for 81 years, is moving this fall, but not too far – to the corner of St-Denis and Rachel.

    • Ian 16:30 on 2019-07-30 Permalink

      The beans are pretty good but the creton is a little dab of heaven.

  • Kate 21:12 on 2019-07-29 Permalink | Reply  

    The Gazette reports on an SPVM cop who is being punished for the eighth time for contravening the code of ethics.

    So, cops have 9 lives, or what?

    • Kate 21:03 on 2019-07-29 Permalink | Reply  

      A nasty-looking bug has come to town but this isn’t new: reports were written about it almost exactly a year ago. The Journal says its presence here has tripled over the year.

      • Chris 21:57 on 2019-07-29 Permalink

        I saw those bastards on my veggies last year. Not seen this year yet, but now I know to kill them. 🙂

      • Ed Hawco 23:12 on 2019-07-29 Permalink

        I saw on of those in my back yard in Longueuil about four years ago. Haven’t seen one since. But those Japanese beetles, yowser!

      • DeWolf 08:28 on 2019-07-30 Permalink

        The punaise diabolique was all over my backyard last summer. Luckily I haven’t seen any this year so I’m surprised to hear their presence has grown so much.

        I suppose last summer’s cycles of intense heat and rain encouraged bugs more generally. This summer has been a lot less buggy, at least in my corner of town.

    • Kate 20:59 on 2019-07-29 Permalink | Reply  

      In 2014 Quebec adopted a law which hiked the pension contributions of municipal workers to the tune of several thousand dollars a year. The police brotherhood felt it should be exempt but Quebec and the city didn’t agree. This matter has been before various courts ever since, and may yet make it to the Supreme Court.

      • david100 23:35 on 2019-07-30 Permalink

        The police union is pretty aggressive down the line. Great, logical, responsible budgetary move by the government, as those unfunded liabilities were looking pretty dire for a while.

    • Kate 12:50 on 2019-07-29 Permalink | Reply  

      The Grand Splash, where people go for a group swim off the Old Port, takes place Tuesday at 7:30 a.m. Sorry about the Facebook link.

      • Kate 12:38 on 2019-07-29 Permalink | Reply  

        For decades it’s been an article of faith that if you ran a fast train on the corridor linking Montreal and Toronto, you also have to extend the service to Quebec City. An internal Via Rail study is questioning this notion. As it stands, Via moves 49,000 people between Montreal and Toronto every week – at a loss. Item doesn’t mention the numbers on the Quebec City route.

        • Ephraim 14:00 on 2019-07-29 Permalink

          They should drop Ottawa and Peterborough too… The only viable corridor for high is Montreal to Toronto.

        • Ginger Baker 15:41 on 2019-07-29 Permalink

          This is the problem when you assess public transit in terms of market forces/demand.

          Though the market may presently indicate there’s little demand, assuming a very near future in which:
          a) fossil fuels become prohibitively expensive and,
          b) we collectively decide to reduce fossil fuel use as much as possible

          …then the demand would in all likelihood skyrocket. Not just between MTL and QC, but everywhere.

          When it was conceived, VIA was intended – as a public corporation – to provide efficient passenger rail service throughout Canada. Profit wasn’t the issue – any profit would/should have been invested back into the system.

          If the Fed were to limit short range flights (i.e. YUL-TOR) and committed to developing an entirely electric, high-speed railway network (something entirely within Canada’s economic and technological capabilities), then it would assuredly secure its needed demand, and most importantly allow for a greater number of Canadians to use a non-polluting means of getting between major cities.

          High frequency without high speed – in Canada – is pointless

        • Ant6n 16:37 on 2019-07-29 Permalink

          Ottawa and Peterborough are along the chosen route between Montreal and Toronto. Via is trying to get their own tracks.

          Id say they shouldn’t look at cost as the primary decision driver, but cost-benefit. Those calculations also include societal benefits, including reduction in co2 and increase in mobility. Any transportation system will require some subsidies.

          From a political point of view, it may be a had idea to reduce VIAs train project to just Ontario+Montreal. It won’t be easy to generate public support for what essentially looks like a single province project.

        • Ephraim 16:40 on 2019-07-29 Permalink

          Well, the way it’s proposed, it won’t really be doing anything about traffic between the cities at all… it saves just 19 minutes off the trip…. moving it down to 4 hours and 45 minutes. At that point, you won’t get people switching. It’s not fast enough. If you want to get people off the planes, you need a fast route…. and the proposal isn’t fast, it’s just ownership.

        • Ant6n 17:17 on 2019-07-29 Permalink

          The point is to get people to switch from cars. Also, dedicated tracks means no delays due to freight, so that will in practice decrease travel time and increase reliability. And frequency is still super useful. A train on an hourly clock face schedule will improve the potential to create better connections between VIA and various local transit systems, while reducing travel time from a practical point of view. For example, if your meeting in Toronto is done at 3pm, and you want to go back to Montreal same night, you will be home sooner if you can leave by 3:30pm, instead of waiting for the train at 6pm.

          Sure it would be better if they were aiming for a higher speed, but VIA will argue the relative cost/retuen of getting slower but dedicated tracks is much better than for an expensive dedicated system, and the feds haven’t invested in any of the various proposals in the last fifty years. VIA would also argue that incremental updates are still possible, and much easier once u have ur own infrastructure.

        • Kate 18:04 on 2019-07-29 Permalink

          Predictably MP François-Philippe Champagne, who’s Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, says it’s all nonsense and of course the improvements also include Quebec City.

          By the way – speed. If you add up the time it takes to get to Trudeau, check in, fly to Toronto and get where you’re going from Pearson Airport, I’ll bet you don’t really save that much time compared to taking the train downtown to downtown, especially if you pick a departure without many stops. Even now.

          How much do we need to spend to reduce the Quebec City trip from 3 hours to 2:30 or something? What’s the rush?

        • Tim F 18:54 on 2019-07-29 Permalink

          I can’t find the video online but I remember a CBC report (I believe it was Marketplace) that did a “Top Gear” style race from downtown Montreal to downtown Toronto, and between the added travel time and security theatre with the airports it came out to about the same. It can only improve with a dedicated line that removes freight delays from the equation.

        • ant6n 23:18 on 2019-07-29 Permalink

          Well, for example the German Railways considers the magical threshold, in order to be competitive with air travel, to be 4h. Many lines will be upgraded to just below that (e.g. the new, successful Berlin-Munich connection).

          So 4h45 between Toronto and Montreal is really still too slow. Plus, there’s that downtown airport in Toronto, meaning air travel between the cities is quick and even 4h may not be sufficiently competitive. But again, once you have the line you can make incremental improvements, get rid of grade crossings, straighten curves, electrify, get faster trains (VIA ordered 200km/h trains, which really isn’t so bad),

        • thomas 07:02 on 2019-07-30 Permalink

          Currently, one can fly from YUL to Toronto City Airport, arrive by 8am and easily make a 9am meeting in downtown Toronto. Taking the train, the earliest you can arrive is 11:40am. To seriously compete with air travel the maximum travel time for rail should be 2.5 hours.

          In the early 90s, there were Via express trains that advertised Montreal — Toronto in 3 hours & 59 minutes. Supposedly, the track has deteriorated since then so that optimistic schedule is no longer possible.

        • Chris 08:55 on 2019-07-30 Permalink

          Many good points. Other unmentioned advantages of trains over flying: more space, ability to walk around, free Wifi, more bathrooms, better views.

        • Tim 10:13 on 2019-07-30 Permalink

          One thing that currently is in favor of train travel versus flying is cost. If you are strategic about buying Via tickets on sales and in advance, you can easily get trips to Toronto for just $45 dollars each way. Air travel is way more expensive.

          I’m also surprised that nobody has mentioned the other competitor: cars. People driving to Toronto by car can get there almost in the same amount of time as the current train. Leaving Montreal at around 6:30pm to avoid traffic, I’m able to roll into Mississauga between 12:00am and 12:30am without too many problems (and that includes a 30 minute stop for gas/bathroom break). And I then have the added benefit and freedom of having my vehicle in Toronto.

          Travel times by train must be reduced significantly to compete with cars. Even with better travel times, I have a hard time seeing a family of four choosing to pay for four seats if they already have a car.

        • Kate 13:17 on 2019-07-30 Permalink

          benefit and freedom of having my vehicle in Toronto

          Tim, isn’t parking even harder to find there?

          Given the figures for Via operating at a chronic loss, I have questions. The government must be subsidizing train travel quite heavily. Was there really any benefit in privatizing Via? Is some corporate structure getting tax benefits from operating the service at a loss? Maybe someone with more of a business head than me can explain the deal.

        • Michael Black 14:11 on 2019-07-30 Permalink

          I gather that “public transit” was originally run by for profit companies, before people had cars companies could earn money. Then cars started to be more common, and the companies got less profit, so public transit became a municipal thing.

          I thought VIA was the same thing. The companies couldn’t sustain the routes when passengers moved to cars or airplanes, so the government stepped in to make sure the “vital” service kept going. But since VIA was a service, it didn’t have the profit from major routes to offset the losses from less common routes.

          So it probably is heavily subsidized.

          I haven’t taken the train in about 25 years, I’d rather but the bus is cheaper. And if going to Ottawa, the bus station seems well located for what I’d want, but the train station is “way over there”.

          I did take the train back from Vancouver in 1980, the outward journey was car and bus. It took a few days, but one step up from passenger I had an empty seat beside me most if the trip.. And I could get up and walk around, better than a bus.

          But I suspect that train is now more expensive than I’d be willing to pay. It’s prmoted more as a luxury vacation.


        • thomas 15:10 on 2019-07-30 Permalink

          Kate, Via is a crown corporation with the government (in this case the cabinet not parliament, I think) determining offered services/routes and associated subsidy.

          A problem is that when CN and Via were created it was assumed that both commercial and passenger rail was on the decline. Unfortunately created just before the explosion of intermodal container use which rejuvenated the freight biz, adversely affecting passenger traffic. Now with an increased interest in passenger rail. In retrospect the two should never have been split.

        • Ant6nn 15:58 on 2019-07-30 Permalink

          The problem is that CN was privatized. They own the infrastructure, so via has to pay a lot for getting poor access to the tracks. Splitting freight and passenger rail wasn’t really the problem, it’s not like you can force a private company to provide good passenger service at a loss indefinitely.

          What they should have done is split CNs infrastructure and freight operations, and kept the infrastructure public, and privatized the operations. It doesn’t make sense for a trucking company to own a highway, if it works at all I’ll be a monopoly. Then the government could have incrementally invested in better speeds and better separation of passenger and freight tracks, and we couldve had high frequency years ago, and could be half way to building actual high speed rail.

        • Ian 16:36 on 2019-07-30 Permalink

          Megabus is the cheapest way to travel by far but as long as you book your tickets in advance in many ways it is a lot easier to go from Montreal to Toronto – for one, you don’t have to pay for cabs to the airport, and let’s be real, no family of 4 is taking the steaming piece of crap that is the 747 bus. If you don’t get a flight into the Toronto Island airport you’re looking at more cabs and wasted time.

          All in all as long as your only point to the trip with a family of 4 is to go to Toronto and not go anywhere that requires any kind of driving, which is a pretty reasonable thing to plan, the train really is the nicest way to go, drops you off right downtown, and is often way less expensive for a family.

          I think the main market for the high speed trains is supposed to be commuters. Are there really that many people commuting between Montreal and Toronto let alone Quebec City and Peterborough?

        • Ephraim 17:41 on 2019-07-30 Permalink

          It is cheaper to build the tracks right in the first place, then to build, fix, retrofit, etc. The curves needed for different speed travel is important. But anything over 3 hours between the city and you haven’t cut all the other traffic. I’m sure going through Ottawa will add traffic, but the most traffic runs between Montreal and Toronto… Ottawa is more about politics than adding to Canada’s GDP.

          Ian… Between Montreal and Toronto… a LOT. Just AC is 20 flights per day to Pearson and 13 for WS. And 13 each for AC/PD to Billy Bishop.

        • Ian 21:07 on 2019-07-30 Permalink

          That doesn’t mean much, lots of those are connecting flights, I have taken many flights to Toronto even just going to NYC. I mean actual commuting.

        • Ephraim 21:25 on 2019-07-30 Permalink

          The very early flights and flights around 7PM are likely people who commute. But it’s hard to tell who does…. for example, there are people who live in TLV and work in LON and commute every Monday and return every Thursday. But usually the 7AM flights are full of commuters. But there are weekly commuters, not just daily commuters. My father spent a week per month in Toronto…. left Sunday by car and back on Friday by car.

      • Kate 08:34 on 2019-07-29 Permalink | Reply  

        A man has died after being knocked down by a car on the turn Sunday morning at the corner of Hochelaga and d’Iberville.

        Someone must keep count of the numbers of pedestrians who die because of motor vehicles, but a number is not given out as it usually is with homicides. There was a count of nine as of July 3, so pedestrian deaths are still ahead of homicides if this is #10.

        • Kate 08:05 on 2019-07-29 Permalink | Reply  

          The Cirque du Soleil has opened a second address in Montreal in a disused factory building on Notre-Dame East.

          • Kate 08:04 on 2019-07-29 Permalink | Reply  

            A young man still in his teens was fatally stabbed late Sunday at de Maisonneuve and St‑Laurent and a security perimeter was put up, including St-Laurent metro station, where trains were not allowed to stop.

            At midday Monday, radio news is still saying the metro station is closed and trains are passing through without stopping. Best to check the green line twitter feed for news on this, if it’s important to you.

            Another, non-fatal stabbing had taken place a little earlier Sunday evening not too far from there, but nothing in this story indicates they were connected. TVA tells us this happened in a McDonald’s but other media were discreet on the specifics.

            And a third stabbing happened in the Plateau early Monday.

            The hot weather is making people stabby.

            Homicide #9.

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