Updates from January, 2020 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 13:19 on 2020-01-07 Permalink | Reply  

    The rape trial of onetime comedy czar Gilbert Rozon is to start in June.

    • Kate 13:16 on 2020-01-07 Permalink | Reply  

      The woman pedestrian injured in traffic in Villeray a few days ago has died.

      Update: some questioning from Allison Hanes on the correlation between the ever-growing popularity of pickups and SUVs and fatal damage to pedestrians.

      • Jack 15:02 on 2020-01-07 Permalink

        I feel for her and her family, what a horrible way to leave this world.
        “La limite de vitesse imposée à cet endroit est de 30 km/h.”…seriously.

      • Tim S. 16:56 on 2020-01-07 Permalink

        Agreed Jack. It’s also proof that traffic-calming measures need to be combined with enforcement. Alone they are not enough. I also wish a coroner would look into the question of whether these deaths would be less likely with smaller vehicles. We can get rid of SUVs, maybe not easily, but more easily than we can get rid of all cars.

      • Blork 17:35 on 2020-01-07 Permalink

        Don’t bet on it, Tim S. Creating and applying seemingly arbitrary rules about what kind of car is allowed and what kind isn’t would be nearly impossible.

        First of all, there are three categories of SUV. Do you ban them all, or just the larger ones? Who decides which models are banned? Do you also ban trucks? (The recent trend towards giant sized pickup trucks is a much bigger problem than SUVs.)

        What about mini-vans? What about if the driver needs a large vehicle for work? What if they have the OK for a big vehicle for work, but they’re not actually working on a particular day? What about people from out of town?

        It’s all way too complicated and would result in total chaos.

      • Spi 17:48 on 2020-01-07 Permalink

        That statement about the speed limit is an irrelevant statement of fact, the original reporting of the incident mentioned that neither alcohol, drugs or speed were a factor.

        Lowering speed limits does next to nothing. Very few if any of these collisions occur with pedestrians that are jay-walking between cars, they are almost always at intersections. No driver is taking a tight city turns at 30+ km/h. It was always and it reminds a question of visibility.

        Maybe I’m getting old, but I feel like street lighting has gotten dimmer and pedestrian don’t stand out compared to the dark backdrop. Wasn’t the city switching street lighting towards LED? Streets like Saint-Denis are noticeably darker than let’s say certain stretches of Saint-Laurent. Could it be that similar to car headlights the domes that cover the streetlight bulbs have frosted over? I’ve certainly noticed a few that are now completely opaque or yellowed out with age.

        Ever since I’ve noticed how incredibly invisible pedestrians can be at night while driving, I’ve started to avoid wearing all dark colours at night and grab the jacket that has reflective details on it. I’ve even considered getting those LED running armbands that night runners wear.

      • Blork 18:05 on 2020-01-07 Permalink

        Cue the “don’t blame the victim” responses.

        Side note: Canada Goose came out with a special “Toronto Parka” recently that is white and made of highly reflective material for safety and visibility. Predictably, all the hyper-earnest blogs lost their shit and tried to shame them for blaming the victims of car/pedestrian collisions. FFS! (OK, it’s legit to shame Canada Goose for other things, including the price: $1495 for a goddamn parka.)

      • Michael Black 18:26 on 2020-01-07 Permalink

        I think street lighting was improved, and then reduced. I can remember better lighting coming a!ong, and it was very bright. Then later it was reduced. I do find it a bit too dark now, but at least it doesn’t make things too bright inside when I want to sleep.

        I think the issue of “light pollution” has affected things, though maybe other reasons come first.

      • Ephraim 20:15 on 2020-01-07 Permalink

        Pull the stop line back. Make corner parking spots specifically car only, no SUV… or better yet, remove the spots entirely. They are a nuisance to pedestrians, cyclists and car drivers anyway. Start handing out tickets for anyone other than a pedestrian in the crosswalk space as appropriate. And start handing out tickets to people who don’t stop at yellow crosswalks… put up a warning sign… they aren’t paying attention to them anyway. And actually post a policeman, Just For Laughs style in a little hut, with cameras and take photos and send people the tickets or even just the warnings. State on the warning that the ticket is $X for the first offence and $Y for the second offence. The lesson will quickly get people’s attention, even if it doesn’t bring in much money. Again, it’s not the money or the fine, it’s apprehension. The more people get the warning in mail the more people will start to react. Really, it’s not that difficult to set up night vision cameras and roll film, saved to the cloud. The shock of getting it in the mail is pretty effective.

      • Jack 08:49 on 2020-01-08 Permalink

        The woman was killed by a driver who felt compelled to be driving a Land Rover in a densely populated urban area. Land Rovers were conceived to protect passengers from lions on safari or to be driven by farmers in the highlands, off road, looking for stray sheep. What in God’s name are they doing ferrying around one 150 pound human in Villeray?

        I think laughing at these folks who drive Hummers and Land Rovers obviously is not enough. At what point do we allow their vanity precedence over the safety of our friends and neighbours? As I said previously these means of transport were not conceived to be driven in densely populated urban areas, spaces that now have increasingly elderly populations, cyclists and pedestrians. They are designed to protect their occupants at the price of the lives of our friends and neighbours, ban them.

      • Tim S. 11:15 on 2020-01-08 Permalink

        Blork (16:35), you’re not wrong, but there are measures that could conceivably be taken. For starters, draw a distinction between passenger vehicles and work vehicles, with stricter and more expensive license standards for professional drivers, with fewer demerit points, etc. You need a truck for work? OK, but you’re expected to drive like a professional, and risk losing your more expensive license more easily if you don’t.
        Meanwhile, like Jack says, there’s no reason Range Rovers, Yukons, Navigators, pickups etc should be sold as passenger vehicles. My preferred standard is that if the hood of a vehicle is taller than an average 6-year child, then that should not be sold as a passenger vehicle or driven by someone with an ordinary license.
        But yes, some decisions would be arbitrary and unpopular. Tough. The roads are shared spaces, and one’s responsibility to others is more important than exercising unrestricted consumer choice. At least it is in my ethical universe.

      • Tim S. 12:56 on 2020-01-08 Permalink

        Good for Allison Hanes asking the right questions and following up on these cases.
        As I think about the complications of regulating vehicles, I have some questions about jurisdictions. I assume making vehicles safer, or even prohibiting certain models, would be federal jurisdiction, but deciding what kind of license you need for a given vehicle would be a provincial responsibility. Does anyone know if this is correct?

      • Ian 14:05 on 2020-01-08 Permalink

        Licenses are provincial and there are already vehicle-specific licenses, e.g.; motorcycles, passenger vehicle, commercial, commercial heavy, commercial bus, commercial semi trailer as well as various graduated permit systems.
        The big problem is that if you designate (for instance) pickup trucks in the city as a different class than pickup trucks in rural environments. There is some precedent in that certain vehicle types are not allowed in certain parts of town (mostly rules against heavy trucks and buses) but the fine lines between a truck, SUV, minivan, and luxury sedan would make it super hard for cops to enforce specific vehicle bans.

        Considering how infrequently and and inconsistently existing laws are enforced, I am not convinced making new laws is the solution.

        Even when I was getting my driver’s ed my instructor would always make a distinction between what I should do in a driving test situation, and what I should do as a driver “in real life”, like match speeds, go through intersections on yellows, stop no more than 3 seconds at a stop sign, merge aggressively, etc. because that’s what everyone expects and to do otherwise is unsafe as you might cause an accident by behaving unexpectedly.

        Of course this also translates to bad behaviour from bicyclists and pedestrians. For contrast, in Germany it is unthinkable to jaywalk in front of children, as you are setting a bad example.

        Driving culture in Montreal is the real problem here and it will only be cured by consistent, regular enforcement of traffic laws. … not making up new laws nobody gives a sweet damn about.

      • Spi 14:11 on 2020-01-08 Permalink

        There are so many more effective changes that a municipal government could make before we start legislating who can own what and for what reasons. I agree with Ephraim, we should consider pulling the stop line back, but that would require painting lines that don’t disappear in a matter of months. The city should also consider offsetting crosswalks by a meter so that they are not directly on the corner. That’s a common occurrence in Europe and it would take the pedestrian out of the drivers a-pillar blind spot. If you’re not going to upgrade all the street lights at least prioritize the ones on intersections.

        I also think that the no turning on red-lights might need to be re-examined. The original rationale was that there are many more pedestrians and cyclist in the city but now putting right-turning traffic and pedestrians into direct conflict for the short light cycles isn’t a better alternative.

      • Blork 18:29 on 2020-01-08 Permalink

        Ian, I am horrified (yet not entirely surprised) at how you learned to drive. That’s really bad advice from a driving instructor!

        By contrast, I learned “defensive driving” (in Nova Scotia), which starts with the premise that you should always expect the unexpected. For example: when you’re driving down a residential street, EXPECT that a child is going to run into the street from between two parked cars. Expect that always, and be prepared. (By default this means drive slowly, especially when the street is narrow.) Also, when turning at an intersection ALWAYS EXPECT there will be an old person dressed in black moving very slowly right in your blind spot. When backing up, ALWAYS EXPECT there to be an oblivious child in your blind spot. Always anticipate what can go wrong and drive as if that thing is going to go wrong RIGHT NOW. Etc. etc.

        It’s one thing to teach “rules,” and it’s another thing to teach rules with a wink-wink. But what really should be taught are these PRINCIPLES, because that can affect driving culture. Just teaching rules does not.

        I describe this principle to some Montrealers I know and they look at me like I’m nuts.

      • CE 18:43 on 2020-01-08 Permalink

        I remember in driving school (in a small town, not in Quebec) my instructor being very serious about crosswalks. Every time I got close to one, I was supposed to take my foot off the gas and hover it over the break pedal. I still do this even in Montreal.

      • Blork 19:16 on 2020-01-08 Permalink

        Good for you, CE. I think I mentioned here recently that I spent a couple of weeks in Victoria last fall, where I basically had to re-learn how to approach crosswalks. Despite my “defensive driving” training, years of Montreal driving has made me a bit rude around crosswalks. Not dangerously so, and I always always stop if someone is actually crossing at a crosswalk. But in the RoC the habit seems to be to slam on the brakes if a pedestrian is within 50 feet of a crosswalk, which seems a bit silly, but out there the pedestrians ASSUME the drivers will stop so they just barge ahead even if a speeding 18-wheeler is barreling down on them.

        OK, I exaggerate, but only slightly. Ironically (given this conversation) I was driving an SUV. Specifically a first generation Honda CR-V, which is small as SUVs go, but holy mackerel to they have visibility! There are virtually no blind spots when you’re driving that thing. You feel like you’re in one of those Jetsons flying cars that just have a bubble for a canopy. Plus, it was the polar opposite of “sporty” (and old) so it’s not like I was tempted to drive fast.

        Unfortunately the design has changed a few times and the newer models are bigger and more enclosed.


    • Kate 09:09 on 2020-01-07 Permalink | Reply  

      A man who has faced multiple charges and penalties over exhibitionism on public transit, including a ban, was caught flashing again on the 51 bus. He’s now on house arrest.

      • Hamza 17:02 on 2020-01-07 Permalink

        i’m not usually one for punitive incarceration but this guy sounds really really awful. nine months house arrest with exceptions for work? seems very light for someone who’s probably traumatised a lot of women, blamed them for his crimes and then re-offended so often and flagrantly

    • Kate 08:56 on 2020-01-07 Permalink | Reply  

      A message from the CMM this week says urban sprawl is getting worse all around the city. More and more people are leaving the island to set up house in the suburbs, where almost all residential buildings are single-family homes, and where only 6% of residents take public transit rather than driving a single-occupancy vehicle.

      • Kate 08:48 on 2020-01-07 Permalink | Reply  

        As the STM itself announced last week, the number of buses on the road is back to normal after it was able to catch up with its maintenance backlog.

        • Meezly 10:31 on 2020-01-08 Permalink

          Nice to know! This morning there were some hiccups but this was likely attributed to the snowfall, but otherwise the buses I’ve been taking since Monday have been arriving as expected. Will enjoy it while it lasts.. until the next backlog!!! Also helps that people are trickling back from their extended holidays as there seems to be fewer commuters than usual this week.

      • Kate 08:41 on 2020-01-07 Permalink | Reply  

        After promises and many delays, the city is finally throwing in the towel on building a big central animal pound and is promising instead to create several smaller facilities offering more decentralized services throughout the city.

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