Updates from November, 2019 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 20:42 on 2019-11-12 Permalink | Reply  

    Once again the headline’s off-kilter, although in a rare positive sense: Cars collide as an SUV protects pedestrians. What actually happened, Tuesday midday, was a police chase down René‑Lévesque ended up with an SUV driver interposing his vehicle between the fugitive driver and a dozen pedestrians. Cars crunched but nobody got hurt.

    Whether it was a bright idea for police to pursue a delinquent driver at lunchtime downtown on the first snow day of the season is not asked, but I’m asking it.

    • Tim S. 09:10 on 2019-11-13 Permalink

      Of course the police should have pursued him. You can’t let drunk drivers all over downtown at noon, and you can’t set a precedent that all you have to do is drive dangerously enough and you’ll get away with it.
      The question is, will he be tried as a first-time drunk driver and get a slap on the wrist, or as an attempted murderer of twelve?

    • Kate 11:23 on 2019-11-13 Permalink

      Tuesday they say Samuel Tremblay will be charged with impaired driving and dangerous driving. He’s only 19, maybe that will keep him off the road for awhile. CBC interviewed the SUV owner who sacrificed his Mercedes to save pedestrians: a rare bird indeed. Also an interview with TVA.

      Update: More details on the charges. Also, Samuel’s mother says he needs help. (The word “chauffard” makes me wish we had a single English word for a terrible driver.)

  • Kate 19:32 on 2019-11-12 Permalink | Reply  

    The earliest snow removal campaign in 36 years will begin Wednesday morning.

    • Kate 19:30 on 2019-11-12 Permalink | Reply  

      A woman with a hair salon near Villa-Maria metro has been charging $3 a pop for access to her bathroom. This scandalized one user, but I can see the reasoning. There are no public facilities anywhere near the station, but nothing obliges this woman to offer her bathroom to anyone who asks, with the attendant risk of unsanitary outcomes. Her slightly salty dialogue comes across in this account.

      • Blork 19:34 on 2019-11-12 Permalink

        I am almost 100% certain that there is a Montreal bylaw that says any business that has a washroom available to the public does NOT have the right to refuse people access to it. I saw this a number of years ago and even had the bylaw number, but I lost track of it. I don’t know how or where to try to look that up. (It might be a Quebec law, but I’m pretty sure it’s municipal.)

      • Kate 20:21 on 2019-11-12 Permalink

        Maybe so, but wouldn’t the key phrase here be available to the public? There is a law saying any business that serves food has to have a bathroom available, so people can at least wash their hands before eating. But in most smaller stores and service businesses the bathrooms are normally only for the staff.

        As the woman says in the article, when she allows people in, sometimes they complain about not finding soap or paper towels, but she isn’t maintaining the bathroom for anyone but herself and whoever works for her, which in a small salon (and the salon in the block south of the station is tiny) would be at most one or two people, who can wash their hands in the salon’s sink, not something the bathroom “customers” are going to be able to do.

      • EmilyG 20:22 on 2019-11-12 Permalink

        There are hardly any public bathrooms anywhere near any metro stations. And many restaurants/businesses won’t let you use the bathroom unless you’re a customer.
        Being someone with health conditions who sometimes does need to use bathrooms when I’m out in public, I might not mind paying for it, though I know not everyone is in the situation where they can pay for it.
        The hair salon owner brings up the point that not many STM stations have bathrooms. Even the new blue line stations are being built without bathrooms, where I would’ve thought that having them would be a basic human need.
        And back when my health was better, I didn’t realize just how bad the lack of available washrooms is in most parts of Montreal, so it’s an easy problem to miss.

      • jeather 10:22 on 2019-11-13 Permalink

        I remember hearing about that bylaw too, Blork — if you can find the link, please let me know.

        Surely if you have a salon, your bathroom is available to the clients of the salon, like a restaurant has a bathroom available to clients of the restaurant. So I’m not sure how it differs, assuming that bylaw is still in force. (Though I think she’s not doing anything really wrong.)

        I was in L-G with a friend and her daughter had a bathroom emergency, and the only nearby one was the gas station, which I am told was filthy.

      • CE 11:51 on 2019-11-13 Permalink

        In Montreal, I often find myself having to sneak into chain restaurants and hoping the door isn’t locked if I have to use the washroom while out and about. Something I liked about Colombia when I lived there is you could walk into pretty much any store or restaurant and ask for “servicio de baño” and they’d name a price (usually no more than the equivalent of a dollar unless you needed to do more than pee, then they’d “charge you for toilet paper”). It would have been nice to pee for free but it saved me a few times to know that I could walk into almost anywhere in the city and use a washroom with the change in my pocket.

      • EmilyG 18:15 on 2019-11-13 Permalink

        I once tried to use the bathroom at a McDonald’s, intending to buy something after, but an employee followed me into the bathroom and actually chased me out of the toilet stall.
        Since then, I’ve been wary about trying to sneak into restaurant bathrooms.

      • Michael Black 18:26 on 2019-11-13 Permalink

        Malls work well, since the bathrooms are separate from the stores and restaurants.

        So downtown is well served, other areas a lot less.

        My friend Helen, who was homeless, kept track of suitable bathrooms, and sort of kept their closeness in mind when she had a chance to drink something. To far or too late (because they’d close) she’d not have as much to drink as earlier in the day.


      • Blork 18:36 on 2019-11-13 Permalink

        Supposedly pharmacies are pretty good at having publicly accessible washrooms (I mean PJCs and Pharmaprix etc., not so much the hole-in-the-wall places). Large grocery stores also usually have public washrooms.

    • Kate 09:11 on 2019-11-12 Permalink | Reply  

      The city opened its new sorting centre for recycling in Lachine on Monday.

    • Kate 09:01 on 2019-11-12 Permalink | Reply  

      Balancing out the scare stuff from last week about germs on the metro, the Journal found a medical paper saying public transit is good for your health and that car drivers get sick more often. Taking transit exposes you to a wider range of pathogens, thus tuning up your immune system, and it also means a little more exercise as you walk to and from the metro or bus.

      • Kate 08:58 on 2019-11-12 Permalink | Reply  

        A woman in Rosemont has started a group to build winter shelters for stray cats. There are details on how to access the Facebook group for instructions and suggestions.

        I think it’s a kind practice but I won’t be doing it. I have a cat, and my tiny back yard is her personal domain. I don’t want cat fights or to expose her to unpredictable ferals.

        • Blork 09:51 on 2019-11-12 Permalink

          We have a number of feral cats around our place and we built one of those a few years ago. It’s been out there for two winters and in that time I only saw one cat go in it, and he was a neighbourhood tough guy who (AFAIK) is not even feral. He spent about a minute in there, came out, and launched a Herculean quantity of cat spray over the entrance. That was that.

        • Kate 11:14 on 2019-11-12 Permalink

          One of your neighbours keeps an unaltered tomcat? Yuck.

        • Tee Owe 12:06 on 2019-11-12 Permalink

          Not sure that spraying correlates with being unaltered. We have 2 male cats, both neutered, they both spray from time to time (usually outside, luckily). We had a neutered female cat she would also (occasionally) spray. I am no expert but my guess is they never lose the territorial instinct (why they are doing it outside) – what changes is the hormonal content of what they spray (Yuck factor).

        • Kate 12:07 on 2019-11-12 Permalink

          Ah OK. I’ve only ever had one male cat, and he was neutered young so didn’t take up spraying. None of my female cats has ever done it.

        • jeather 12:17 on 2019-11-12 Permalink

          I’ve had lots of male cats, none has ever sprayed. (Two were, for various reasons, neutered after they went through puberty, the rest were neutered earlier.) None of my female cats has either, though they were all spayed quite young.

        • Tee Owe 13:15 on 2019-11-12 Permalink

          Y’all are lucky-I guess our cats are just badly brought up ☹️

        • Blork 13:38 on 2019-11-12 Permalink

          Yeah, my cats aren’t sprayers, but there’s a virtual kitty autobahn through our yard, and plenty of the passers-through are sprayers. They spray the cabanon, the patio windows, the BBQ cover, you name it. Fortunately it’s often just the motion of spraying (pointing the butt, a quiver, but noting comes out) but too often it’s a full load.

      • Kate 08:53 on 2019-11-12 Permalink | Reply  

        A man whose supervisor called him (citing the article) a “cri**e de n**re” took it to his employer, Parc Jean-Drapeau, and to his own union. The union boss’s response? “Ce n’était pas raciste de dire que quelqu’un est un «cr** de n***e» si cela n’est dit qu’une seule fois.” The man was testifying at the ongoing inquiry into systemic racism in the city.

        • Myles 11:48 on 2019-11-12 Permalink

          That’s a shockingly high bar for racism. I’d love to know what you’d have to say to qualify.

        • Jack 12:49 on 2019-11-12 Permalink

          Kudos to Metro which is a pretty good antidote for all of Quebecor’s columnists bile.
          Even today wall too wall on Don Cherry and his hatred of “Quebecois francophones “, not a peep on this story, Bienné Blémur name has never made it to any Quebecor platform.
          For a good understanding of Quebecor’s position on this issue, here is their lead intellectual.
          “We are the victims….”

        • Kate 20:25 on 2019-11-12 Permalink

          Jack, Metro is a legit paper these days. The columnists are thoughtful and they often get good local stories nobody else is following.

          I used to pick up the paper version when I had to take the metro every day, but now that I’m taking the bus I make sure I look over the website in the mornings.

      • Kate 08:40 on 2019-11-12 Permalink | Reply  

        La Presse watched a crosswalk in Rosemont and found that most motorists ignored it including police and bus drivers, and even when children were trying to cross.

        • mare 09:57 on 2019-11-12 Permalink

          Yup, as I wrote here before, Boulevard Rosemont is a free-for-all highway, despite mostly a 30km/h zone. In the evening, I often try to cross from one side to the other of the divided parc-Marquette with my dogs and it’s scary as hell. I now carry a strong flashlight, to point at speeding drivers when I cross. They think I’m police and most do slow down, often even to about 40km/h, giving me some time to reach the other side of the four lane road.

          A few years ago there was a poll if people wanted a crosswalk between the two sides of the park, but it apparently didn’t yield enough votes. It would have been a dangerous crosswalk anyway, just like the one near Cartier, a few hundred metres away. On neighbouring streets Bellechasse, Beaubien and St-Zotique lots of four-way-stops intersections were created, but that made Rosemont even more the preferred East-West highway. It needs some stop signs as well.

        • Ephraim 12:06 on 2019-11-12 Permalink

          And one Youtube video of the police ignoring it with children in it and the world may change.

        • EmilyG 13:14 on 2019-11-12 Permalink

          I live right near that intersection (Rosemont/Cartier.) I think that because there’s no stop sign there, drivers don’t think to stop.
          I usually don’t cross there because I wasn’t sure if the cars would stop. I don’t think I even knew that people were allowed to cross there at all times.

        • CE 13:29 on 2019-11-12 Permalink

          « Au Québec, ce n’est pas encore dans notre norme sociale de s’arrêter pour laisser passer les piétons, même si c’est la loi », note une intervenante.

          I thought that passage was interesting as I recently had a friend visiting from Saint John who remarked a couple times about how pedestrians are given the right of way so often by drivers. He said that there, nobody ever stops at crosswalks and you basically have to wait until there are no cars at all before you can cross.

          I was also talking about this with a friend of mine who grew up in the same small town as I did. As we were crossing a crosswalk on Laurier (forcing a car to stop pretty suddenly) we remarked how we would never be able to do that where we were from. There, you have to wait at a crosswalk until the car has stopped, then you can start to cross. I wouldn’t do that here, unless it was very obvious that the car wasn’t going to stop or was already to close to the crosswalk to stop.

        • Jonathan 13:41 on 2019-11-12 Permalink

          Clap clap clap. So a La Presse journalist walks around the city and figures out that cars are not respecting the traffic laws. How is this surprising to anyone who has feet and/or a wheelchair?

          Every single day I witness car drivers breaking the laws. Not just breaking the law, but driving dangerously. Speeding… almost 100% of the car drivers are speeding when they are not approaching a stop sign or a red light. Stop signs…. I rarely ever see a car make a proper stop at the stop line… let alone actually stop when there is no car at the four-way stop… Cross walk… forget about it. I have to step outside into the street and put my hand out to any approaching car, and even then I am assuming they are looking up and not looking at their mobile phone that is sitting on their lap or on the dashboard stand.

          Something drastic needs to be done…

        • Blork 19:31 on 2019-11-12 Permalink

          I think I’m a pretty good driver. Never had an accident, always use “defensive driving” method (“expect the unexpected,” etc.) But I confess that many years of driving in Montreal has made me one of the bad guys at crosswalks. When I’m driving along and I approach a crosswalk, I see the pedestrian, and most of the time they are waiting for me to pass before crossing (which from both a safety and ecological point of view seems to make sense — it seems insane to step in front of a moving vehicle, even when on a crosswalk, because you never have a 100% guarantee that the driver sees you so why take that chance? Also, it means the car has to lose all its momentum and has to burn extra fuel to get going again; why, if it means the pedestrian only has to wait five seconds? BTW, I’m saying this as someone who is a pedestrian more often than a driver.) So I usually drive on through unless I see the pedestrian step onto the crosswalk.

          But hang on — I recently spent a couple of weeks driving around Victoria BC, which is one very sleepy town. Just about everyone drives slowly, and everyone stomps on the brakes whenever they see a pedestrian anywhere near a crosswalk. It took me a couple of days to break my Montreal habit, but once I did it made for a much more civilized feeling when driving. I got used to it, and it also made be drive more slowly through residential areas.

          But it should also be said that driving in Victoria is a highly civilized activity all around, as there is hardly any traffic congestion, virtually no construction zones, everyone obeying the rules, a shocking lack of stop signs and red lights (it’s like they don’t need them!) and no one driving above 40 kph. It’s much easier to be civilized when everyone on the road isn’t on the brink of rage like they are here.

          That said, it still seems unsafe to just blithely step in front of moving vehicles, no matter how civilized the environment. But everyone there does it. Unfortunately they then take vacations to Montreal (and other less civilized cities) and immediately get run over because they think people everywhere drive like they do back home.

          My point? Drivers need to calm the f*ck down, and pedestrians — no matter where they are — should always make eye contact with the driver before stepping in front of a car. (Not a question of rules or “right of way;” a question of not getting run over.)

      • Kate 08:34 on 2019-11-12 Permalink | Reply  

        This is the first time in 36 years the city has had to launch a snow clearing operation so early in the season. We got between 12 and 17 cm of snow around town and the city says it’s ready, but as usual, some drivers have to relearn to cope. Buried in CTV’s coverage of the story below – about new salt trucks and other means of tackling winter – is the fact that most of the city’s snow contracts only start on November 15.

        A very few schools are closed and a few flights cancelled.

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