Updates from January, 2020 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 19:20 on 2020-01-06 Permalink | Reply  

    The Port of Montreal has had another record year with 40 million tons going through in 2019.

    It’s good for business and for the city, in some sense – but how does this pan out environmentally?

    • Kate 13:09 on 2020-01-06 Permalink | Reply  

      The driver in the city’s first pedestrian fatality of 2020 will not be charged.

      • Simon 14:57 on 2020-01-06 Permalink

        It would take divine intervention in this province for a motorist to face consequences for murdering someone with their car.

      • Jack 15:12 on 2020-01-06 Permalink

        They are never charged , remember sleepy guy who killed 3 cyclists.

      • Alex L 16:42 on 2020-01-06 Permalink

        Interesting reading here, about strict liability in the Netherlands, something many here may know already: https://bicycledutch.wordpress.com/2013/02/21/strict-liability-in-the-netherlands/.

        Basically, motorists are always responsible for at least 50% of damages, even if not considered responsible, because “the driver is the one who voluntarily used a vehicle of which it is widely known that it may cause severe damage to other road users, who are not protected in a vehicle.”

        Additionally, road users under 14 are always considered as not responsible because of their age. In the case of a collision between a motorist and a young pedestrian or cyclist, motorists would be 100% responsible.

      • Tim 22:33 on 2020-01-06 Permalink

        The logic behind strict liability, a term which I had not heard before, makes a lot of sense. Thanks for sharing Alex L.

    • Kate 13:07 on 2020-01-06 Permalink | Reply  

      The Alouettes have announced their new owners.

      • Josh 15:03 on 2020-01-06 Permalink

        All things considered, they are picking up the club at a good time. The team is on the upswing, for the first time, they appear to have a quarterback who might be ready to lead the club for a good, long while, and by rights, they should be getting a Grey Cup game soon with the last one in Montreal (it will be 14 years since Montreal hosted by 2022, the next game for which the host hasn’t been announced yet). That said, there is perhaps no tougher job in sports than owning a CFL team that isn’t on the Prairies.

        I wish them luck.

    • Kate 09:23 on 2020-01-06 Permalink | Reply  

      City mobility czar Eric Alan Caldwell is upset over the two pedestrian collisions that have marked the start of the year, including one fatality. In the Gazette piece, a Piétons Québec spokesman blames the city, which may have some portion of truth in it, but our overall car-centric culture cannot be pinned on city hall alone. There were 11 fatalities on Quebec roads over the holidays, for example. People drive bigger, faster and deadlier vehicles all the time and there’s little collective will to hold this back.

      I’m just old enough to remember when the first energy crisis caused a rapid downsizing of cars in response to fuel prices. Cars went from big crazy boats to wee little subcompacts, such as are still widely driven in Europe. But in North America there’s an instilled belief that you need the safety and space you get behind the wheel of a Canyonero. The only thing that bites hard enough to change this is cost: make gasoline crazy expensive, as in Europe, and people’s choices will have to adapt. But what politician has the nerve?

      • EmilyG 09:33 on 2020-01-06 Permalink

        Big vehicles and distracted driving are both major problems. Last night I saw a driver of a big vehicle texting while driving, and I was thinking about how unsafe that is.

      • Ephraim 10:59 on 2020-01-06 Permalink

        I don’t think it’s cost, I think it’s technology and change. Every car should have a place for your phone to charge, but out of hand’s way, so you can’t touch it while driving. You can still get your messages and send texts hands free. I don’t know why people can’t figure it out. And newer vehicle have pedestrian warnings, car warnings, etc. That’s the point of LIDAR and RADAR. But we also don’t design streets with safety in mind. As I have said, pull the stop line back from the corner. Ensure cars have a time to turn so they don’t get frustrated.

        As for texting and using the phone while driving (and I am including cycling, because I’ve seen some crazies doing that too!) The best thing to do is seize the phone as evidence of the crime and make the person wait a day and pay the fine to get it back. Having your phone seized, bagged and carted away for a day will shake some people to the bone. Is it really that hard to pull over for 30 seconds? Geez people.

      • Blork 11:13 on 2020-01-06 Permalink

        Ephraim, many (most?) new cars have an on-board touch screen for the entertainment system, navigation, etc. People who don’t have those on-board screens use their phones for navigation (and in some cases entertainment). Typically it’s by using a phone holder that clips into an air vent or (for older cars) the CD player slot. This is very useful, and you will have zero luck getting them banned.

      • Ian 11:36 on 2020-01-06 Permalink

        In Quebec you’re actually legally required to keep your phone in your pocket or in one of those clips – leave it on the seat or in your coffee holder and you will get charged as if you had it in your hand. As someone who charges my phone while I drive and uses a mobile app for navigation, yes, I do use the clip. I used to leave my phone charging face down in the coffee holder where I couldn’t even see it, and just follow voice directions – until the law changed last year and the cops started fining drivers for having their phone in their coffee holder.

        I’ve seen a few people on this blog complain about those dash clips but you are in fact obligated to use them unless your phone is in your pocket.

        All that aside, I would very much like the city to focus more on pedestrian safety. I would like to see stop signs at all crosswalks, stricter enforcement of no parking too close to intersections, and a ban on all trucks with more than 4 wheels being used as delivery vehicles in mixed residential neighbourhoods except specific delivery corridors like back alleys that connect directly to major streets.

      • Ephraim 11:57 on 2020-01-06 Permalink

        Blork, you don’t need to see the phone to navigate, that’s why it has VOICE commands. (Though don’t take me around Dorchester in Westmount… it has the CUTEST way of saying Dorchester in French… I once ended up going around the block three times just to hear it.) But yes, it’s mostly an older car thing, versus a newer car. Cars are getting safer.

        At the same time, we should do something about the corner parking… like actually specify spots are CAR only, no SUV/Trunk near the corners, where they are more dangerous and can hide pedestrians. But moving the stop line back would definitely help.

      • Mr.Chinaski 12:31 on 2020-01-06 Permalink

        Most new cars come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, so basically you are viewing the same thing on the dashboard screen as what’s on your phone.

      • Jack 12:42 on 2020-01-06 Permalink

        “Cars are getting safer.”….for the drivers who now are sitting in tanks and killing old people.
        We elected Projet to do something. I want Caldwell to be more than upset.
        How about provide a 5 year window and ban SUV’s from our cities streets.
        If you want to cruise around Blainville, Mascouche and Rigaud in these vehicles have at it.
        In Montreal our priority is safety for our senior citizens.
        Demography will make these killings more frequent and I am about to step into that demographic.

      • Ephraim 13:12 on 2020-01-06 Permalink

        @Jack – Out of context… for one thing, I said CARS, not SUVs. For another, I’m talking about cars with LIDAR and RADAR that have more warnings about pedestrians than ever before. But that doesn’t mean that they safe… Put an SUV at the corner and even the LIDAR can’t detect them. We are moving into a new technological age. In the long run, I don’t think we will have as many cars in the future as exists today… in the future, they may just be a service (as they show us in many scifi movies. But I’m not Faith Popcorn.

      • Kate 13:31 on 2020-01-06 Permalink

        Cars are getting safer.

        For drivers. All the gadgets in the world will not save me, as a pedestrian, if the driver is not paying attention.

      • jeather 14:37 on 2020-01-06 Permalink

        I’m in a little subcompact, but, yeah, it’s hard to be in it when all the cars around me are giant SUVs. Their lights are high so they blind me from behind. They’re much less safe for me in a small car or for me as a pedestrian. So I can imagine why people, when they get a car, consider an SUV safer for them. There should have been laws restricting this crap ages ago, and I fear now we’re stuck.

      • Ephraim 14:40 on 2020-01-06 Permalink

        Kate, from the videos that I have seen, they make the pedestrian appear on the screen in red, and make a very loud noise. I think they apply the brakes, but not really sure where they are with the technology at the moment. It’s definitely an improvement. But improvement isn’t a solution… and certainly we need to look at this from all sides. Which is why I want the stop line pulled back, so the crosswalk is CLEAR in front of the car. (Also pulled back so that cyclists aren’t inside them, either.)

        But we are talking old cars versus new cars. New cars have a lot less distraction. But nothing is going to stop people from being distracted unless they want to be less distracted. As blork said, they are using their phones where they can see them to navigate… instead of the voice commands… which is what they should be using. And the newer cars have Android and Apple Car systems that you can dictate to or appear on your dash, but old cars just don’t have these system.

        But we have bigger worries… cars are moving to self-driving. And as they do, the “rules of the road” are going to be even more important because what is being programmed relates to those rules. Cities might need to adapt. For example, we may actually need specific lights for a right turn and jug handles for a left.

        But the police have a place in this discussion. People do it because they get away with it. They aren’t getting caught. I had to call one of the beer companies because one of their cars had someone texting while driving.

      • Blork 15:07 on 2020-01-06 Permalink

        Ephraim, have you ever used one of those navigation systems? If you don’t do visual confirmation you end up missing your turn frequently. Even WITH visual confirmation it’s not always clear. And like I said, with so many cars having the screens built right into the dash there is no point saying “that’s OK but you can’t look at the map on your phone.” That’s silly and arbitrary, especially when the phone map is actually safer because you can mount it high, like a “heads up” display instead of having to look down at your dashboard.

      • Blork 15:13 on 2020-01-06 Permalink

        A good place to test navigating by voice only is the Montreal side of the new Champlain bridge. The navigator says something insane like “In 80 meters stay right. Stay right. Take the second exit to (incomprehensible place name) then stay left and in 30 meters take the third exit on the roundabout then stay left.” WHAAAAT???

        That is information overload and is really hard to parse when you have cars all around you and exits everywhere and nothing the machine says lines up with what you’re seeing until you actually glance at the map. Voice-only is fine when you’re puttering around residential streets or on a major road that has few exits, but some intersections and ramps are a confusing flusterfuck and are hard to navigate without a visual reference.

      • CE 15:18 on 2020-01-06 Permalink

        What did drivers do before they had screens and voices telling them where to go?

        I was driving with someone a while ago in Laval where she lives. I think we were going to Centropolis and even though she goes there often, she still relied on her GPS to get around. She said she’s be completely lost without it.

      • Blork 15:34 on 2020-01-06 Permalink

        CE, before GPS navigation people took a lot of wrong turns and got lost a lot.

        Some people have no sense of direction at all (like your Laval friend) so GPS can be helpful. Others are just lazy and will resort to the gadget because it makes them feel technologically advanced or whatever.

        Personally, I have a really good sense of direction (no, really!) but I love GPS when driving in a city I’m not familiar with, or when trying to navigate the shitshow that everything at the base of the new Champlain bridge. Also, I occasionally use Waze, as it shows me ways to get from A to B that I wasn’t aware of before. Also, it routes you around congestion (or at least tries to).

      • Kevin 15:37 on 2020-01-06 Permalink


        You may want to read up on automatic braking for pedestrians.
        It’s certainly not perfect, but cars certainly can be equipped with gadgets that bring them to a stop to save you and others walking in the street.

      • Blork 16:28 on 2020-01-06 Permalink

        I’m not sure what to think about self-driving cars. Bearing in mind there are fully autonomous self-driving cars and there are semi-autonomous ones that still require the driver to be paying attention.

        My understanding is that most of the tests that have been done with fully autonomous cars showed they are massively better at avoiding pedestrian collisions compared to human-driven cars. While there have been a few notable failures (most of the Tesla failures were actually “pilot error” in which the driver was using the semi-autonomous self-driving feature beyond its capabilities), in normal driving they have been shown to be very safe.

        I’ll bet every one of last years pedestrian fatalities would have been avoided by self-driving cars. Because what they do is remove the most common causes of car/pedestrian collisions: distracted drivers, careless drivers, temporary blindness from the sun, stupid assumptions about what the pedestrian ought to be doing, fiddling with phone/sound system/climate control/GPS, drunk driving, etc.

        The possible down side is complacency; people with semi-autonomous cars essentially not even trying to watch the road because they assume the car will always save them.

    • Kate 08:50 on 2020-01-06 Permalink | Reply  

      Three opponents of the Royalmount project sum up why it’s a bad thing and how the developers have mounted an empty consultation process over the last year. An interesting point they mention: none of the area is zoned residential, so promises of living spaces, let alone affordable ones, are empty.

      (The troisième lien mentioned in the headline is a Quebec City project that’s been cooking in their headlines for a long time. Some say they need a tunnel from Quebec to Lévis, some say they do not. The Legault government has promised to start building it in 2022.)

      • Kevin 11:08 on 2020-01-06 Permalink

        I’m still trying to understand how anyone is going to make money investing in this.
        Well, legitimately earn money that is…

      • Ian 11:37 on 2020-01-06 Permalink

        sometimes the point of these kinds of investments is to have a handy way to conveniently hide money, not to necessarily make more.

    • Kate 08:39 on 2020-01-06 Permalink | Reply  

      Metro lists the areas of town which are being changed fast by developers and also the dossiers to watch.

      • Kate 08:30 on 2020-01-06 Permalink | Reply  

        Here’s a play-by-play description of the constantly changing weather we can expect this week.

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