Updates from November, 2019 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 20:12 on 2019-11-26 Permalink | Reply  

    Luc Ferrandez has accused the city of overspending in a gesture that makes me wonder if he hasn’t got his eye on a run for the city mayoralty in 2021.

    • Bill Binns 20:30 on 2019-11-26 Permalink

      Montreal drivers just felt a chill run down their spines. Let him run. He’ll find out quick that the city is not a larger version of the Plateau.

    • CE 17:30 on 2019-11-27 Permalink

      I was sure he was going to run federally for the Greens. Everything he did and the timing seemed to be perfectly aligned for him to do so. I suspect he would have won in one of the Plateau ridings too.

  • Kate 19:57 on 2019-11-26 Permalink | Reply  

    The woman who’s been in charge of the city’s public markets for a year has stepped down. It’s not clear how her leadership may or may not have sparked the troubles at Jean-Talon.

    • Kate 14:29 on 2019-11-26 Permalink | Reply  

      The New York Times writer on Montreal issues examines the rivalry between Fairmount and St-Viateur (the bagels, not the streets) against attacks from highly sensitive residents who don’t want any trace of woodsmoke in the area.

      • Jack 15:48 on 2019-11-26 Permalink

        But a car for every human doesn’t seem to be a problem.

      • SMD 16:02 on 2019-11-26 Permalink

        There is no news here. This story broke a year ago and the City has been very clear ever since that existing ovens would be grandfathered in, if and when the rules changed. Why is the NYTimes phoning it in like this?

      • Chris 23:58 on 2019-11-26 Permalink

        Jack, why do you think that those who dislike the wood smoke don’t also dislike the car fumes? Tackling one doesn’t mean the other shouldn’t be tackled, and no one can tackle everything at once.

      • MarcG 06:52 on 2019-11-27 Permalink

        Is that sentence weird or is it just me? “rivalry against attacks”?

      • Kate 09:03 on 2019-11-27 Permalink

        MarcG: Yes, it is a weird sentence. I meant something like “in rivalry with each other but both facing attacks” etc. etc. – is that better?

      • Blork 10:34 on 2019-11-27 Permalink

        @Chris, one could argue that it’s not one kind of smoke against another, it’s the degree of one kind of smoke against another. As in, a few cars wouldn’t be a problem but it’s become a problem because there are so many of them, and their utility is constrained to only the people using them. Whereas there are only two bagel shops in that area, and the entire neighbourhood (indeed the city) benefits from having a few bagel shops making bagels the traditional way. If there were a bagel shop on every corner it might be a different thing, or if every house had its own wood-burning bagel oven that only made bagels for that house.

      • Meezly 12:28 on 2019-11-28 Permalink

        Agree with SMD that the NYT was totally phoning it in. But really – “a battle pitting environmentalists against bagel-loving traditionalists”? So click-baity!
        The article doesn’t bother to interview a single “environmentalist”. A frustrated neighbor makes one quote. There is one “environmental scientist” who happens to also be a “bagel supporter”.
        Really, the article is a puff piece on Fairmount and St-Viateur, which is fine, but the headline could have been more accurate, like “A Common Foe Unites Rival Bagel Kings”.

    • Kate 09:07 on 2019-11-26 Permalink | Reply  

      For some reason this story is only in the National Post Tuesday: a report warning that the REM line could corrode the new bridge because of stray currents. The issue was already reported here in the summer in La Presse with a piece about how engineers were already working on it.

      La Presse also says Tuesday that, almost year ago, suburban mayors were so angry about the REM they almost stopped the project cold. There’s a list of their grievances in the article.

      • qatzelok 09:51 on 2019-11-26 Permalink

        West Island mayors concerns summarized:
        “New transit? How can we drive to it, park next to it, and build more highways around it?

      • Francesco 10:55 on 2019-11-26 Permalink

        That’s so over-simplified. Unless you live in the rather unique variety of sprawl that is the West Island, you can’t understand what it’s like.

        REM being a type of rapid transit notwithstanding, there are few sidewalks, no safe bikeways, and no direct bus routes in any useful direction. As anachronistic as park-&-ride seems from an urbanist’s point of view, in some areas that’s the only viable way to get people off the highways and prevent them from driving into the centre of town.

        I look forward seeing what the revamped bus routes will resemble in the West Island, but I have doubts they will solve the commuting problems for most people – let alone for families with kids and disparate destinations. I don’t have kids, and thus a very simple daily commute. At rush hour I can drive to either (future) nearby REM stop in less than ten minutes, or drive to work in 30. Even after a revamp, there won’t be a bus in my subdivision, and I’ll have to walk at least ten minutes on poorly-plowed streets without sidewalks to get to a bus that will then meander for another 30 minutes to get me to the REM which will then take a further 26 minutes (including a transfer at Bois-Franc) to drop me at my employer’s doorstep.

        Will I be taking REM to work? It is indeed my plan, though I’ll have to find the best and safest way to and from the local station… but something tells me that from November to March I’ll end up just driving to work unless there is adequate parking at the station.

      • Uatu 11:45 on 2019-11-26 Permalink

        Also the new reality of work is working evenings and weekends. The weekend schedules means waiting in the cold for 30min-1hr. I know because I’ve done it. No way am I going through that again. Also the predicted price of my pass is almost the equivalent of a monthly parking pass at work and a full tank of gas. So tell me again why I should use the REM instead of just driving?

      • Jonathan 12:12 on 2019-11-26 Permalink

        Thankfully we aren’t planning for the unique situations of Francesco and Uatu, but for the majority of people. Who work downtown or in the centre and could reasonably go from a 2-car household to a 1 car household. The REM is also supposed to be a restructuring project. Without going into the argument of whether it is or isn’t truly restructuring, the idea is that it’s supposed to completely change transport in the W.I. and influence the nature of future development and lifestyles in the area.

        Some people will continue to drive to work, a small number will pay the price of expensive parking nearby (informal or formal parking), and a lot of people will take the bus routes to the new stations.

        We simply cannot plan around accommodating everybody, we need to plan for the majority, and need to also make sure we thing about it in a just and fair way (ie making sure options exist for low income, marginalized, etc)

      • Blork 12:26 on 2019-11-26 Permalink

        A lot of people seem to think the REM will make people on the west island magically give up their cars, and that there’s no need for parking near the REM stations. Dream on, people.

        The idea is to provide an alternative to DRIVING DOWNTOWN on a daily basis. That’s different from never driving at all. There is a single REM line planned for the west island (OK two or three if you count the branches up to Deux-Montagnes and the technopark/airport). The west island is a big place, and most people will be 2, 3, 4, or more kilometres from the nearest REM station, so it’s not like they’re going to give up their cars and walk 4 km through a raging blizzard every morning to get to the REM. People will only use it if they can quickly and easily get to it. That means making parking and “park & ride” available. It also means creating bus lines that do nothing more than feed smallish areas to the nearest REM, but that’s expensive and I don’t even know who would pay for it. STM? REM?

        I’m hoping the REM will cut the number of people driving into the city every day, but make no mistake, it is not a total game changer for most people.

      • Tim 13:58 on 2019-11-26 Permalink

        @Jonathan: have the bus routes to the REM stations been disclosed? What makes you so confident that “a lot of people will take the bus routes to the new stations”?

      • qatzelok 14:10 on 2019-11-26 Permalink

        @Francesco: “unique variety of sprawl”

        Eight-lane highways, lawns, and disposable cottages made of cheap finishing materials can be found in dysfunctional, car-choked suburbs all over North America. It’s not unique at all, and neither is asking for MOAR highways – which provide more congestion…

        Hopefully, once transit is improved there, densification along tranist lines will occur, and low-density sprawl housing can be removed from many WI waterfront areas to open most waterfront (all?) to the public.

        The West Island is similarly waterfront-bungalowed (with a few clusters of McMansions) as Drummondville or Ste-Marthe-sur-le-lac or Mt St-Hilaire. Bad suburbia is all over.

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

        qatzelok, how do you picture removing single-family houses from the West Island waterfront? In some areas flooding is likely to do the persuasion for you, although nobody will want them then. But in many areas waterfront houses belong to people with money and clout who aren’t simply going to walk away from their property.

      • Jonathan 14:39 on 2019-11-26 Permalink

        @tim they haven’t. But the CDPQ makes money from, among other things, the number of passengers that take the train. They will make sure people get to their money making trains. The stm has signed a non-compete agreement which will funnel all passengers to the stations. There is a dedicated busway being developed down the A440 emprise. It seems clear to me.

        But also, I don’t mind watching West Islanders do what they do best… complain about their miserable transportation and at the same time never think big.

        I just feel sad that this is taking so many resources from people who deserve it better.. all the low income neighbourhoods and real transport desserts with people just waiting to hop onto a reliable bus or train.

      • Jonathan 14:43 on 2019-11-26 Permalink

        haha… i meant transport deserts… transport dessert is what we all deserve i guess!

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

        The STM is promising to overhaul every bus route in the West Island in order to feed the REM. And it’d be hard to do worse than the situation that has existed for decades, where buses pull away from stops as trains arrive. So obviously, having a bus come along every half-hour is a no-go.

        That said, some of the bus routes have been disclosed. And the article mentions one that I find laughable.
        • Passage de 60 autobus par heure en moyenne sur le chemin Sainte-Marie Nord (qui n’est pas conçu pour le trafic lourd d’une telle intensité : une voie dans chaque direction) en provenance de Vaudreuil-Dorion à destination de la station REM de Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue

        I’m not sure if anyone involved in the planning has been on this road, but Chemin Ste. Marie is a two-lane country road that has about 15 metres of ups and downs along a 1.5 km stretch. It’s a roller coaster designed for very few cars because there isn’t much out there besides the Morgan Arboretum.

        And now they’re planning to have 1 city bus a minute head along this road? The fastest departure rate for anything in our entire transit system is going to be in the rural portion of Ste. Anne’s?

        I cannot imagine how many buses are needed to provide a proper network to service the West Island, but if this is the kind of thinking that’s going on, the STM is going to need several thousand new vehicles.

      • Jonathan 17:22 on 2019-11-26 Permalink

        Thanks Kevin.. do you have any links to the other bus routes?

        If these buses are coming from Vaudreuil, then they would be RTM or exo buses and not STM buses. What is probably likely it that many bus routes and not just one bus would funnel onto St. Marie… so effectively could be as high as 60 buses an hour. STM and RTM,

      • Uatu 19:19 on 2019-11-26 Permalink

        @Jonathan – my situation isn’t so unique. It’s basically what working class people need from a transportation system. These are people in the service industry, shift workers, retail employees etc who are on call, work double shifts and overtime and irregular hours. They are the new suburban citizens- the working class who have been priced out of on island neighborhoods and relocated to cheaper areas of Laval, Brossard, Greenfield park etc. They don’t have 2 cars and need access to transportation. The REM seems to have forgotten about them as they haven’t figured out the “last mile” of the commute and have just concentrated on fabulous new condo developments on the lines. That part burns me as I live in a TOD and didn’t have to worry about a connecting bus but because of (to paraphrase Taylor Noakes) “the train no one asked for” I’m back to having to wait out in the cold. Also my friend lives across from the Panama station and everything in 1km of REM stations will have their property tax raised. I hope he can afford the increase…

      • PO 01:58 on 2019-11-27 Permalink

        The funniest (or most sinister?) form of classism/elitism out there today is the type that shows up whenever wannabe urban planners start trying to figure out how to incorporate the “working class” into their arguments about suburban transit.

      • Uatu 06:51 on 2019-11-27 Permalink

        Well you may think it’s funny, but I have co workers who had to give up shifts and permanent job positions because they couldn’t get to work on time using public transport. I’m just saying what they’ve expressed to me.

      • PO 11:09 on 2019-11-27 Permalink

        Uatu, my comment wasn’t aimed at you. I’m on your side here, I agree with almost all of the points you’ve made.

      • Francesco 14:05 on 2019-11-27 Permalink

        @qatzelok Not simply being contrary, so while it’s easy to point out that the West Island shares some attributes typical of cookie-cutter North American suburbs, the layout caused by being pseudo-peninsular combined with a relative lack of infrastructure spending commensurate with its growth has indeed led it to having fairly unique constraints compared to “Drummondville” – which isn’t a suburb at all btw.

        Try commuting from western Pierrefonds – a middle- or working-class area not dominated by “McMansions” – on any weekday. Choose your mode. Then tell me how it went. You seem to have lumped a quarter-million residents together as being wealthy, arrogant narcissists, based upon your perceived (and ill-informed) reasoning of why they might choose to live here. We’re not asking for “more highways” or some such nonsense; I’m looking forward to REM, as flawed as it will be, but as others have pointed out, outsiders wistfully suggesting that we just walk or take the bus to the REM station is willfully ignorant of our unique situations.

      • Francesco 14:15 on 2019-11-27 Permalink

        Btw I agree with everything Blork said above. It’s not arrogance, it’s just reality. While a quantum leap for mobility to and from the West Island and the airport, it won’t be a game-changer for most people who live there – unlike, say, the Laval extension of the Orange Line.

      • Faiz imam 15:30 on 2019-11-27 Permalink

        I would like to know what solution would work for you guys.

        Right now stations have 200-500 parking spots. Lets say they build another 1000. or even 2000. or they build a parking garage with more.

        The REM is still capable of moving over 10,000 people per station over the course of an entire morning, those extra parking spaces (which come at an extraordinary cost) would barely make a dent in the demand.

        There are already thousands of people in the west island that take the bus to get downtown, and those people are going to benefit immensely. Why are we ignoring them? are they too poor to matter?

        There will never be enough parking spaces to absorb demand. The real solution is to improve all forms of mobility.

        That includes buses yes, but also perhaps taxi and uber service. as well as communauto and car2go vehicles. Heck by the time the line is actually done we might have some automated vehicles on the roads.

        The problem is real, but more parking spots are not the solution.

      • ant6n 16:11 on 2019-11-27 Permalink

        The solution would’ve been to design the whole REM around feeder buses, which it is not. The REM is designed with an emphasis to make construction as fast to build and as cheap as possible, that’s why it’s built along a highway, with the stations not lining up well with the major boulevards.

      • Faiz Imam 21:38 on 2019-11-27 Permalink

        I agree, but that’s not what most critics are complaining about. you could have them have the most perfect bus connections imaginable and they would have the same opinion.

        The key fact is parking is expensive, and free parking the most expensive of all.

      • Francesco 12:19 on 2019-12-01 Permalink

        @Faiz Imam I don’t disagree with most of your points, and have said as much. Currently there are *no* parking spaces planned for what will be the busiest stations on the SAdB branch (Fairview and Kirkland), and as @ant6n has pointed out and remonstrated many times since 2015, the alignment and station placements were based on cheap/quick, not on good feeder bus connections. Heck, at this point even the Fairview STM terminal’s location is up in the air, with no confirmation that it’ll move from its historical site on the north side of the mall — almost a km away from the REM stop!

        As I’ve said many times, I *would* take a small time penalty and give up solo-car comfort to take PT to work… if the bus routes made sense for my journey. They do not right now, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the 2023 revamp will change the situation.

        As @qatzelok tries to remind us that sprawl is bad and that people who chose to live in it should have no right to complain or demand better from our representatives in power, I’d like to point out that most of the problems we identify with sprawl are the result of successive municipal or borough administrations over the decades allowing rampant residential development without any forethought to build basic infrastructure. I bought my house in a normal, established subdivision several decades ago, and it’s about 2km from St-Charles and the 40. Back then there was negligible traffic and it was safe to walk on residential streets that don’t have sidewalks (though there were no buses on Champlain back then but I digress). But the city (and then borough) allowed developers free rein in building (yes, McMansions) further and further away from the main and arterial roads without an eye towards funnelling the residents out into the world. I can only surmise that these successive administrations without fail have all been counting upon the QC government and Montreal finally building the fabled “Emprise A440” into a fourth artery to solve all the problems caused by their greed. So now on any given morning it takes me about the same amount of time to drive the 2km to St-Charles as it would to walk — and the STM buses are stuck in the same snarl. This issue didn’t exist when I moved here, and no, I am not part of the cause. So I’ll say it again @Faiz Imam, I am optimistic for 2023, and have my fingers crossed that we’ll get “the most perfect bus connections imaginable.” Or that by them I’m still agile enough to hop on a scooter to zip to the Kirkland station in a fraction of the time! But knowing how things go, I’ll likely get a citation for that, while the soccer mommies in their massive SUVs continue to roar through my neighbourhood, ignoring stop signs and speed limits, unabated. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    • Kate 08:58 on 2019-11-26 Permalink | Reply  

      A café sassily called Bonjour/Hi has opened on Terrasse St-Denis.

      • Kate 08:40 on 2019-11-26 Permalink | Reply  

        There’s been a lot of nonsense talked on Twitter and elsewhere about the city budget, but this Paul Journet piece sums it up simply: it’s a responsible budget, but the city is desperate for more money for transit.

        • Kate 08:29 on 2019-11-26 Permalink | Reply  

          Fines this year brought the city $177 million, but it was less than expected, and with higher fines and more effort they hope to collect more than $200 million next year. So watch out when jaywalking.

          • Kevin 09:53 on 2019-11-26 Permalink

            They should have anticipated that after eliminating quotas…

          • david100 18:16 on 2019-11-26 Permalink

            Install photo radar on the 720 and they’ll hit their number before Easter. Add red light cameras at a few selected intersections and you’ll double that number before the end of the hockey season in May.

          • Kevin 00:37 on 2019-11-27 Permalink


            Serious question: how do people get to adulthood without knowing that cities are not responsible for highways?

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