Updates from November, 2019 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 13:18 on 2019-11-25 Permalink | Reply  

    City bylaws say your pet (cat or dog, I don’t think they do it to fish) must be microchipped by next year.

    • Tee Owe 11:47 on 2019-11-26 Permalink

      Fish with chips – there’s an idea !

    • Kate 14:24 on 2019-11-26 Permalink


  • Kate 13:16 on 2019-11-25 Permalink | Reply  

    The city has released its 2020 budget, with average 2.1% tax increases at a rate La Presse says exactly equals inflation.

    • John B 14:24 on 2019-11-25 Permalink

      > a rate La Presse says exactly equals inflation.

      Except the value of the property being taxed is already rising at something pretty close to the rate of inflation, so the real increase is (Inflation X Inflation).

      In rapidly-gentrifying areas, (like Verdun, which also has the highest tax rate increase), it’s worse because the “value” of the properties is increasing so much. For example, the role de valuation of the building I live in increased by something like 30% between the previous valuation and the one released earlier this year. My landlord is going to have a hefty tax increase, (that she’ll try to pass on to me).

    • nau 15:32 on 2019-11-25 Permalink

      I think what they mean is that the amount of tax paid is going up by e.g. 3.2%, so if someone was paying 2000 this year, they’ll pay 2064 in 2020 It’s not like the value went up 30% and then the rate the valuation is multiplied by is going up 3.2%, so the amount of tax is going to jump by 30%+. Generally, as the valuations soar, they actually seem to reduce the rate by which they multiply the valuation, so that the amount of tax to pay goes up by somewhere in the vicinity of the inflation rate.

    • John B 09:12 on 2019-11-26 Permalink

      If that’s the case it would be much better. I just checked the actual numbers, and I guess the increase in base value is applied over 3 years, so in 2021 the building will be considered 37% (!!!) more valuable than in 2015.

      As for the jump from last year to this year, my landlord will have to pay 6.6% more in 2019 than 2018, even though the actual rate went down for most of the taxes.

      The thing about this news story is that it’s really hard to get the details. Most owners won’t know how true or not the claims are until tax bills are issued in January. Maybe we should check back then!

  • Kate 09:08 on 2019-11-25 Permalink | Reply  

    The city has promised more pedestrian lights and more time to cross at intersections, but one of the ideas, the countdown light, may be a pointless expense, according to the study cited here.

    • Alex 09:29 on 2019-11-25 Permalink

      I think one of the main problems with the pedestrian crossings here is a lack of clear signaling, (white pedestrian/flashing hand with timer/steady hand with a 0 on the timer), the ‘you need to hurry up’ is very similar to the ‘you should NOT be in the road now’ so you end up with people walking into the middle of the road when the pedestrian phase ends. We could also just do away with the countdown timer as it tells motorists how long they have left to stamp on the pedal before the light changes

    • dwgs 10:23 on 2019-11-25 Permalink

      I have had a driver curse me out because I was still crossing when the flashing ‘don’t walk’ sign was on.

    • Kevin 11:08 on 2019-11-25 Permalink

      My 2 cents: part of the issue is the lack of consistency among traffic lights. Sometimes you’ll get 6 seconds to finish crossing 4 lanes, sometimes you get 30 to cross 2 lanes.

    • Alex 13:10 on 2019-11-25 Permalink

      In the certain countries they have systems that detect that users are on the Kerb/In the road and adjust the timings accordingly

    • JP 20:31 on 2019-11-26 Permalink

      @dwgs I was reminded of your comment this afternoon when car after car wouldn’t stop at a yellow-striped crosswalk, where I had the right of way. I started walking when I saw that there seemed to be a safe enough distance from the next car that I could start walking and the driver would see me and slow down/stop…he didn’t stop. There was literally only a couple of inches between me and the front of his pick-up before I angrily pointed to the yellow stripes, and ran to the other side.

      If there’s an initiative to make pedestrian crossing safer, there is going to have to be education and reinforcement for drivers on what those stripes mean among other things.

    • MarcG 07:08 on 2019-11-27 Permalink

      I’ve been teaching my wife the rules of the road recently, since we’ve been driving a lot more than we want to and she’s never driven herself, and it’s amazing how few rights she thought she had as a predestrian based on the way drivers behave towards them. For example, she didn’t know that she had the right-of-way at a green light with no pedestrian signal because cars would always be trying to turn into her crosswalk while she was using it.

  • Kate 09:06 on 2019-11-25 Permalink | Reply  

    Metro has an expert who says the numbers showing the loss of bus ridership signal the slow death of the city bus system here. Coderre’s cuts to service have taken their toll: not everyone wants to (or can) wait 20 minutes at rush hour and then board a bus so crowded there’s nowhere to stand, let alone sit, but it’s the common experience here for many.

    • Jonathan 10:23 on 2019-11-25 Permalink

      They are ignoring that the trend of declining bus ridership is seen all across North America. I take one of the buses they mention as having a huge drop in ridership… the 467. It is always pretty packed in the morning rush hour, sometimes needing to squeeze through people and miss my stop if I am not already at the door.

      I see they are really using the wrong language about the system, seeing only the way it could be profitable. I, for one, would love for it to be more centred around the balance between increased ridership and comfort. Profitable bus systems as an objective means the largest number of riders with the least amount of service. This is always going to push people to the car the minute they can.

      As context, from my home to work it is a 20 minute bike ride and 45 minute to 1h15m metro/bus ride (35 minutes is the fastest way if i didn’t have to find an alternative to the orange line where I am forced to wait for several Laval sardine cans to pass before I have a space, and then transfer at Berri). It is 15-20 minutes by car. My work offers free parking and my neighbourhood is pretty easy to park a car. The only thing that is stopping me from buying a car is that I think they are huge wastes of money and just plain dangerous technology to have in a dense city.

    • Filp 10:29 on 2019-11-25 Permalink

      Reserved lanes are nice, but they need enforcement to do anything. There’s always someone parked in the reserved lane on Côte-des-neiges! New York City is trialling reserved lane cameras on busses that can ticket cars who block their path at certain points. Is this not viable here?
      Although the article states that falling bus ridership isn’t being recovered by the metro, this isn’t actually true. According to both stm internal reports as well as numbers submitted to the apta, the stm has seen general growth over the system, save for a few years. The growth has actually picked up in the past 2 years, even reaching the busses, which have stopped their decline. So I’ll give them credit for succeeding in shitty budgetary conditions.
      If the srb on pie-ix and srb lite on sauvé are a success, they should replicate it on st-Michel. If that’s the only way to ensure busses get any sort of priority, it has to be done. Fancy (and expensive) style.

    • Meezly 12:47 on 2019-11-25 Permalink

      One thing I’ve noticed with taking the bus for many years, is the huge number of bus routes for the size of the city and how fragmented those routes are.

      I only have Vancouver to compare it to, but Vancouver seems to have fewer bus routes but the routes are longer. I think this is because the bus routes were established well before the SkyTrain was implemented. In Montreal, most bus routes assume the passenger is going to connect at a Metro, so bus routes tend to start or end at a Metro stop, rather than exist independently of the metro line.

      In Vancouver, I can take a single bus which crosses through a few districts or boroughs without the need to make another connection. In Montreal, why am I still needing to do BUS1-METRO-BUS2, or BUS1-WALK-BUS2 to get from the Plateau to the southern end of Griffintown? Why can’t there be ONE BUS that can do this???

      Further, I see so many ‘EN TRANSIT’ buses during rush hour. It pains to no end as I’m standing at the bus stop for 20 minutes in the cold DURING RUSH HOUR (as Kate has pointed out) and a dozen ‘EN TRANSIT’ buses are passing me by, probably either going to start or end another route. I never saw this in Vancouver, most of the buses on the road are on active routes CARRYING PASSENGERS, which is what a moving bus is supposed to do. Again, I feel this because of the fragmented design of the bus system.

      Perhaps there are other factors, like how our buses rely on fuel where most Vancouver buses use electric trolley lines, so they don’t need to refuel. And winters are much less harsh out there.

      I’m no urban planner, but it seems quite obvious to me that the STM needs to overhaul its bus route design. I feel that more continuous bus routes will allow existing buses to run more frequently along those routes. Fragmented routes require more buses and thus, the buses are spread across too many different routes, which gets stretched esp. thin during rush hour when everyone needs buses most.

    • Mark Côté 13:19 on 2019-11-25 Permalink

      Just after they were elected, Projet made the single biggest purchase of new buses in STM’s history. I guess that wasn’t enough to make up for previous cuts?

    • Kate 13:27 on 2019-11-25 Permalink

      Meezly, I live in Villeray and currently work in Ahuntsic. It’s not a long trip, but the urban geography (with the bus garage in between home and work) means I often see seven or eight EN TRANSIT buses pass before the 55 comes along, in the morning and in the evening, so I share your pain on that!

      I believe we used to have longer and more meandering tram routes, mostly because I’ve seen photos of Ste-Catherine Street streetcars with signs saying they were going to Lachine or western NDG. The only bus route I can think of that does this sort of thing now is the 51, which starts at Laurier metro, goes through the Mile End and Outremont, skirts the UdeM, then down Queen Mary through Snowdon and Hampstead and traverses all of NDG to end up at Montreal West train station.

      Mark Côté, the schedules are still stingy. I don’t know whether this means there are still not enough buses – or drivers, or maintenance crew – or if they simply figure people are putting up with it so why change it? Maybe those of us stuck with crowded buses at rush hour should write up some petitions.

      Some of the busy routes like the 80 do have bendy buses now, which helps, but the 55 is not the only busy route that still has regular buses that get crazy at rush hours.

    • Meezly 15:27 on 2019-11-25 Permalink

      Yes, the 51 route is indeed rather unique in its breadth (reminds me of Vancouver’s No.22). I’ve only taken it partially, would be cool one day to ride its full route.

      Totally agree the 55 could use articulated buses during rush hour. I have never felt like a sardine until I got on that bus. I wonder if it’s because St-Laurent is so much narrower compared to Ave du Parc?

    • Mark Côté 15:35 on 2019-11-25 Permalink

      I take the 105 in NDG at rush hour now a few times a week (first time I’ve done that in a very long time). There are two things I’ve noticed:

      On the way home, it is one bus after another after another. They are usually quite crowded, but it’s like a military operation getting them all filled and away. There’s a dedicated person whose job it is to direct passengers to the current or next bus and to wave the buses on. I don’t know how they could even have more buses. Maybe different routes would help, but I’m not sure with an artery like Sherbrooke.

      The bus lane on Sherbrooke definitely makes a difference. While crowded, the 105 buses still make it to Vendome in approximately the same time at 8:30-9:00 am as they do in the middle of the day (maybe 5 minutes longer from western NDG). The 51, however, which I take other days, just inches its way through traffic. It’s faster to walk from around Somerled and Wilson to Snowdon (which takes me about 20 minutes) in the morning than it is to take the bus.

    • Kate 15:40 on 2019-11-25 Permalink

      Meezly, once there are bendies on a route there are always bendies, it’s the rule. I don’t think it’s the narrowness of the Main so much that every bus stop on a route that goes bendy eliminates at least one extra parking spot, and maybe 2, to make room.

    • jeather 15:57 on 2019-11-25 Permalink

      It still seems nuts that the 24, which is supposed to cover Sherbrooke, is so stingy on the east and west ends.

    • Meezly 15:57 on 2019-11-25 Permalink

      Loss of parking spots makes more sense. Perhaps there once was a business lobby to ban articulated buses along the Main, back when it was more prosperous? Now that many of those businesses are gone, perhaps now is the time for passengers to petition for bendy buses!

    • Meezly 16:01 on 2019-11-25 Permalink

      Wow, I did not know that about the 105. A dedicated person. Military operation. I never knew such a thing existed here.

    • Em 16:08 on 2019-11-25 Permalink

      Call me cynical, but I feel there’s little incentive to improve bus service because authorities know that many of those who take it do so because they have no other transit options.

      Where I live, the only bus going east-west out of the area comes once every 30 minutes, and stops service at 10 pm on weekends. As far as I know, there is no bus going north to downtown (and I’m in Pointe-Saint-Charles, not some distant burb). As Meezly pointed out, most buses are treated as secondary transit and it’s assumed they’re being used only to get to the metro. I’ve given up on taking the bus and now mostly walk the several kilometres to wherever I’m going.

      To improve things, they need to make all buses 10-15 mins max waiting time, with routes that take people directly to major areas without having to transfer. And start a program to compensate riders for delays, like Laval does.

      Neeeeever gonna happen.

    • Mark Côté 16:15 on 2019-11-25 Permalink

      @Meezly To be fair, on the other hand I’ve heard complaints about people who live in central NDG watching several buses go by in the morning without stopping because they’re completely full. I live west of Cavendish though so it’s not an issue for me.

    • Tim S. 17:31 on 2019-11-25 Permalink

      The military-style operation of the 105 exists partly because Peter McQueen made it a priority issue for several years. Change is possible, but it takes effort.

    • Meezly 11:52 on 2019-11-26 Permalink

      @Em, I know someone in Pointe St Charles who relies on the 61 to take his kid to school at Face. Is that ths bus you’re referring to? It only runs twice an hour, even during morning rush hour. It’s kind of weird. I do not know who their councillor is, but that area could use a Peter McQueen to improve bus service.

    • Kate 13:36 on 2019-11-26 Permalink

      Meezly, Em, I worked for a couple of years in a place only accessible via the 101 bus, which only runs at half-hour intervals from Charlevoix station, and only for part of the day. If you had to come or go at a non-rush-hour time, you were out of luck. So odd to have a job that’s right in town as seen on the map, but often only reachable after a 2-km hike from the metro across the Lachine Canal, uncleared and practically impassable in wintertime.

      They do need some agitation for better service around there.

  • Kate 08:59 on 2019-11-25 Permalink | Reply  

    Getting a city garden plot has always meant a wait, but the lists are getting longer as more people take an interest.

    • Kate 08:56 on 2019-11-25 Permalink | Reply  

      Short of teachers, Montreal school commissions are scouting for recruits in France.

      • Jack 16:45 on 2019-11-25 Permalink

        But not in the Banlieues….only the rural areas.

      • Brett 17:50 on 2019-11-25 Permalink

        Paris and Toulouse aren’t rural.

      • Blork 15:18 on 2019-11-26 Permalink

        And why are we short on teachers? Would that exodus of hijab- and turban-wearing teachers have anything to do with it?

        (OK, probably not that many, but my point is rhetorical.)

      • Jack 16:01 on 2019-11-26 Permalink

        @ Brett you didn’t get that reference?
        @ Blork Dont kid yourself that number is higher than most people think.
        From what I have seen the teaching profession tends to attract second generation immigrants very prominently. Their folks see it as a step up in social mobility and prestige. It is a profession where generally speaking economic networks have nothing to do with entry, it’s not investment banking.
        By the 3rd or 4th generation teaching isn’t viewed with that level of prestige and it’s very rare to see an upper class kid who went to Selwyn or LCC heading into the teaching profession.
        So I believe that segment of the population has been hit hard and it breaks my heart.

      • david100 18:21 on 2019-11-26 Permalink

        ^Well, it’s not like anyone is forcing them to wear a burka or whatever. “I’d love to be a teacher, but the country I’ve moved to has made it clear that it doesn’t want it’s teachers to be visibly fundamentalist religious types, as it could normalize that fundamentalism” isn’t a heartbreaking situation, it’s a decision by a person to take the fundamentalism over the job.

      • Jack 17:34 on 2019-11-27 Permalink

        david 100 yeah when I see a kippa or a hijab I immediately say those folks are “visibly fundamentalist religious types” who could “normalize fundamentalism” just like that fundamentalist Jagmeet Singh.

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