Updates from February, 2020 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 10:05 on 2020-02-29 Permalink | Reply  

    Longueuil will be getting a tramway to be called Léeo (Lien électrique est‑ouest), linking up Panama, the yellow line and the REM along Taschereau Boulevard.

    Of course you won’t be able to transfer to the Léeo from the metro with a regular STM pass, and you won’t be able to buy STM tickets in the Léeo station either. Handing this one off to Longueuil correspondent Blork.

    • Filp 10:40 on 2020-02-29 Permalink

      Hopefully léeo is just the project name, like Crossrail. Wonder how they’re going to incorporate it. Will it be on the regional metro/rem/train map?

    • qatzelok 11:47 on 2020-02-29 Permalink

      So while other high-density areas still have no transit, and Pie IX gets a bus route, the parking lots and bungalows of St-Lambert will get a tramway? Maybe in 100 years, it will have a cityscape around it?

      Another example of lack of central transit planning. Imagine if our highway network had been built like this. We’d still be walking to work.

    • Kate 11:56 on 2020-02-29 Permalink

      If you’d read up, qatzelok, you’ll see that part of the point of this tramway is to help densify residential construction along its route.

    • Daniel 12:16 on 2020-02-29 Permalink

      It does seem to be the consistent factor in transit planning in Greater Montreal these days: Real estate opportunity. What should be done is to first build transit to where the density already exists, but that wouldn’t fill anyone’s pockets of course.

    • Kate 12:23 on 2020-02-29 Permalink

      In a way that’s partly what the pink line would do: move people between Lachine and Montreal North, and all the areas in between.

      The rich should realize that even if they don’t need public transit, they need transit to enable the poor to do their bit to contribute to their wealth.

    • Michael Black 12:43 on 2020-02-29 Permalink

      It’s easier to do something from the start than to retrofit. So if you have land and build a housing development now you could make them so much more energy efficient, far easier than taking old buildings and retrofitting them.

      Unless you build underground, transit is hard to fit into a developed space, and the construction will bother more people. It may not be optimum to build transit away from density, but on the other hand it will be in place as density builds. If you don’t build at the beginning, you end up with a need for street parking because old houses were built before cars were common, so have no place to park cars.

      Why isn’t the Metro more accessible? Because when it was built no thought was given to the idea, and now it’s expensivve and intrusive to add elevators.

      Nothing is absolute, other things always factor in.

    • Uatu 13:04 on 2020-02-29 Permalink

      This is good news. I’ve been a South Shore resident all my life and this is exactly what taschereau needs. Not only will it limit sprawl but it’ll also decrease car use. Right now I only use my car for groceries and to visit family. I could conceivably do that with a well designed tramway and leave the car at home. Also all the folks that can’t afford condos downtown can now live off island with out really needing a car. Taschereau is full of empty lots and half dead strip malls waiting for development. I’m actually more interested in this than the REM…

    • Kate 13:22 on 2020-02-29 Permalink

      all the folks that can’t afford condos downtown can now live off island without needing a car.

      Yes. This is what should be happening. This city is simply getting larger and it’s got to have proper transit to do it.

      I’m not confident it will do this right, but this is what the agglomeration council needs to be aiming at.

    • Blork 22:19 on 2020-02-29 Permalink

      I don’t work Saturdays.

    • Blork 11:24 on 2020-03-01 Permalink

      Hmmm… where to begin? (How about “longest comment ever?”)

      Overall, yes, bring it on. But don’t think this will solve or even significantly change the problem of “too many cars” overnight. After all, this is a single tram line. ONE TRAM LINE.

      It might reduce the number of cars per household, for people who live RIGHT ON the tramline, but I doubt very much there will be a significant number of car-free households because of this. After all, people do more than just go to work and back. Even if you believe the tram will magically create all this dense housing and all those modern cafés and grassy knolls, people will still need, or at least want, to go to places that are beyond the tramline.

      People who live along the tramline might no longer drive to work each day, but they will still want to go visit their grandma in St-Bruno on Sundays and drag a load of food home from Kim Phat on Saturdays. They still have to go to the Parent-Teacher night at their kids’ school that’s 3km away from the tram. They’re not going to want to carry five cans of paint from the Home Depot 800 metres across parking lots and side streets to get to the tram line, then wait 15 minutes for the tram, then lug all that paint onto a full tram where they have to stand for the 20 minute ride back to their local stop followed by another 800 metre walk to home.

      So yeah, maybe fewer cars commuting to work each day, and maybe fewer second or third cars per family for the teenagers or the spouse who works from home and only needs to go somewhere occasionally. That’s good. But not many totally car-free homes I suspect.

      The exception might be people who come to live in the area that’s being re-branded “Longueuil Centre-Ville,” which is the area immediately around the Longueuil Metro station. But that’s not directly because of the tram — the tram is part of the development plan for the area, but not why people will live there car-free. People will live there car-free because they can walk to the Metro in a couple of minutes and their condo will be slightly cheaper than a condo on the island. Hardly any of the people living there will use the tram on any regular basis, unless they come to live there for the proximity of the Metro and later end up changing jobs for one that’s along the tramline.

      I laugh at the animations showing the tram magically converting Boul. Tashereau (or as I call it, “Trashereau”) into some utopian urban oasis. Not gonna happen. Not without spending kajillions of dollars and pissing off just about everyone. You don’t just take 4km of suburban wasteland (multi-lane boulevard, malls, parking lots, Starbucks’s) and transform it into “walkable city” territory. For one thing, those hundreds of businesses might object to being wiped out and replaced by perpetual green patches and condo buildings. Also, history has shown over and over that when you build a city quickly from utopian plans instead of letting it evolve naturally you end up with a sterile and sad environment, sort of like the Dix/30 but without the retail.

      All that said, I like the idea in general, but people need to calm TF down and realize that probably only half of what’s shown in the videos will ever be built, and that the transformation will not be as dramatic as hoped. There will still be parking lots, there will still be big box stores too far apart to walk between but too close together to be served by public transit, and it will still be grim by the standards of most city dwellers (although it will be non-grim on paper, according to the new-urbanist checklists).

      Full disclosure: my contrariness on this might be seen as sour grapes because even if this thing is built it doesn’t affect me at all and I would likely never use it. I live fairly close to the CEGEP, but not close enough to walk for 20-25 minutes to take a tram to the Metro when I can already walk five minutes and take an express bus. (A Metro station would be a whole other thing; I’d gladly walk 10-12 minutes to a Metro station if it meant I didn’t have to transit to a different system at the Longueuil station; i.e., from chez moi to Berri/UQAM in one swoop? Bring it on! But if I’m going to have to change platforms anyway, I’ll stick with the bus thanks.)

      Also, I do occasionally have the need to go to some stores on Trashereau (there’s a bike shop there I like, and a MEC, etc.) but doing it by tram would probably take a minimum of 45 minutes each way and involve a lot of walking, and it isn’t great if I’m coming back with a large package, whereas I can drive it in about 15 minutes.

      The one good thing (for me) is that this whole magical Shazam show includes improved bicycle lanes, so I could bike to Trashereau a bit more quickly than I can now.

    • Kate 16:39 on 2020-03-01 Permalink

      Thank you, Blork. Time and a half!

    • qatzelok 23:27 on 2020-03-01 Permalink

      The feedback about the animated video created some misunderstanding about this new urban oasis being able to provide “low cost” urban amenities to people wanting to live in an inexpensive Griffintown.

      Thing is, the only reason that Longueuil is currently less expensive than central Montreal is because there are far fewer services in that crappy suburban zone. All you get is an electrical hookup, sewer and water, and a driveway.

      If you build a Southshore Griffintown with condos (with lawns in front of them, lol) and bike lanes and tramways… it will no longer be less expensive than the other side of the harbor. So what’s the point? To save the sprawl?

      The animation and its fabulous lawns in front of condo towers seems to suggest that the advantage of Longueuil is lawns (“Imagine Griffintown… but with lawns!”), when in reality, its only advantage was “cheap places to drive to.”

    • Kate 08:43 on 2020-03-02 Permalink

      qatzelok, the population of the urban area is constantly growing. Those people have to live somewhere. Yes, I agree with you to some extent that if/when transit improves in Longueuil, it will become a more convenient and desirable place to live, and the prices won’t stay lower than town. But how else do you limit the number of cars coming onto the island every day?

    • qatzelok 10:20 on 2020-03-02 Permalink

      “how else do you limit the number of cars coming onto the island every day?”

      By disinvesting in car infrastructure. Especially in the burbs.Does anyone think the new Champlain Bridge will reduce the number of cars coming onto the island?

    • Blork 11:28 on 2020-03-02 Permalink

      Well, the ‘burbs will always be less expensive than the city center, as has been shown in virtually any well functioning city anywhere. It’s just a matter of supply and demand. The supply in the city center is always limited and if the city functions well the demand will always be high, thus high prices.

      Once a person opts for the ‘burbs the demand side changes a bit. There is only one city center (sort of) but there are suburbs all over. St-Lambert too expensive? Try Brossard. Or Laval. Or Oka. (Etc.)

      Longueuil has the advantage of being very close to the city center, so housing that is close to the Metro and the Jacques-Cartier Bridge are generally the more expensive ones for Longueuil, but they’re still (generally speaking) much less expensive than say the Plateau or Mile-End, and even a bit less expensive than Rosemont and so on. Go “inland” a couple of kilometres and the prices drop noticeably, although it’s inconsistent because it’s such a mix of old ramshackle bungalows, nice solid older houses, soviet-looking apartment blocks and recently build multi-unit condo buildings. By way of somewhat direct comparison, your average 900 sq ft two bedroom condo in a new building in Longueuil will probably run you $50,000 to $100,000 less than the equivalent in the city (e.g., in the $370,000 range instead of the $450-$470,000 range on the island). Mind you there are variables galore, and some of those on-island condos will run $700K and upwards depending on location and whatnot.

      BTW, there will be no divesting in car infrastructure, so we might as well not even talk about it. People and goods will always need to be moved around, whether it’s workers who don’t work out of an office (real estate agents, sales people, construction supervisors for multiple sites, etc.), or ambulances, or delivery vans or whatever. Whether it’s 2020 and it’s 90% done by gas-guzzling internal-combustion engines or 2030 and half of it is self-driving electric vehicles, or 2045 and it’s mostly autonomous vehicles that run on C02 that they extract from the atmosphere and replace with oxygen and nitrogen. Whatever way it goes, the roads and bridges are permanent.

    • Kate 13:35 on 2020-03-02 Permalink

      the ‘burbs will always be less expensive than the city center

      That’s opposite to how Montreal has been in most of my lifetime. Moving to the suburbs meant buying a house, with land around it, and tax rates usually dictated by an aspirational suburban town rather than Montreal, plus owning and operating at least one vehicle and sometimes multiple vehicles simply to be able to live and work in areas far apart. Whereas living in town meant renting an apartment and moving to and fro using a bus pass which is still under $100 a month.

    • Mark Côté 13:59 on 2020-03-02 Permalink

      Moving to the suburbs meant buying a house, with land around it

      That’s the “standard model” of the suburbs, especially by people who have never lived there nor have people to visit regularly, but the suburbs also include many large apartment and (increasingly) condo buildings. That is one of the reasons immigrant communities have been growing there (like Pierrefonds, for one example). The suburbs are not all scenes out of The Burbs, and not all people who move there are trying to get out of downtown.

      (I say this as someone has never lived out there but has made many trips out there for family reasons.)

    • Mark Côté 14:00 on 2020-03-02 Permalink

      And, I should add, many of those apartment builds, row houses, and other smaller-footprint buildings have been there for some time.

    • Blork 17:26 on 2020-03-02 Permalink

      @Kate, I should clarify that by “the ‘burbs will always be less expensive than the city center” I meant strictly in terms of real estate prices. (And I do mean “city center” not just “the island” because there are definitely parts of the island that are less expensive than your typical ‘burb.)

      @Mark Côté, you are correct. Some suburbs are vast expanses of single-family houses with no real village sense or whatever, but many (perhaps most?) are not. Certainly the south shore suburbs have existed as towns/villages in their own right for ages (Longueuil has been around since the 1650s).

      If the island of Montreal were to vanish overnight, Longueuil, Brossard, Boucherville, St-Hubert, and St-Lambert would carry on as usual (except for a lot of unemployment). Those towns all have their village centers, markets, grocery stores, restaurants, services, clusters of apartment blocks, modern condos, etc. You could film a TV series called “NDG” entirely in Longueuil and only the hardcore NDG residents would know it wasn’t shot in the eponymous location.

  • Kate 09:58 on 2020-02-29 Permalink | Reply  

    The national lab in Winnipeg has confirmed that the woman in Montreal who returned here recently from Iran really has COVID-19. She’s quarantined at home and is not seriously ill. (The Guardian got a story from a young man living in Wuhan about what it felt like to get the illness and recover from it: although he’s only 21 and mentions no pre-existing health issues, it was not a walk in the park.)

    • Kate 09:50 on 2020-02-29 Permalink | Reply  

      The federal privacy commissioner is holding an inquiry into the RCMP’s use of facial recognition software, in the course of which it has been claimed that while the Mounties have used it, the SPVM has not.

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