Updates from May, 2020 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 21:23 on 2020-05-25 Permalink | Reply  

    City hall decided pretty quickly last week to close St‑Laurent between St‑Zotique and Jean‑Talon to traffic, but since then almost every media source has reported complaints from the SDC Petite‑Italie. Now the city has backed down and promises discussions and a different solution.

    • DeWolf 10:54 on 2020-05-26 Permalink

      Milano led the charge on this and while I have no doubt that many of its customers drive there, I wonder how big the proportion could possibly be. It has no parking lot, a very limited amount of on-street parking along St-Laurent and it’s in a densely populated area with a lot of nearby residents who can walk there. Last time I was there, on a not particularly nice day in April, I certainly didn’t see anyone hop into their car after leaving Milano. Maybe they parked a few blocks away, but if that’s the case, how would that be different to what the city wanted to do?

      The city cleared botched the plan by not adequately consulting the SDC. (The contrast with St-Laurent and St-Denis on the Plateau is interesting because it seems to be working closely with the respective SDCs on those streets.) But I also think the owner of Milano may be making certain assumptions about his own customer base that aren’t accurate. As someone who shops by foot and on bike—along with virtually everyone else I know—I definitely feel a bit slighted knowing that Milano doesn’t really care about our business.

    • Chris 11:21 on 2020-05-26 Permalink

      Even coronavirus is no match for car culture! 🙂

    • Jack 11:59 on 2020-05-26 Permalink

      So roughly 6 parking spots trumps ( sorry ! ) what could be a real interesting experience. With Chris …

    • Kate 12:45 on 2020-05-26 Permalink

      Milano got mentioned a lot, too, as DeWolf says, and he makes good points. I would add: like most stores, Milano only allows a certain number of people into the store at a time anyway, right now, so it’s not like they would get any benefit from having a line going around the block.

    • mare 12:52 on 2020-05-26 Permalink

      There will also be *a lot* of road construction going on in the area: Bellechasse and St-Zotique will be rearranged into one-way streets, St-Hubert is still closed, Beaubien is on-way at the moment. Chateaubriand and Christophe-Colomb both lost several lanes because of new, very wide bike paths. I’m all for that, but closing a major, very busy and often overlooked artery might cause even worse traffic jams than we had before this all started, especially when all Lavalites start driving into the city again because taking the Metro during rush hour is a infection trap.

      I’m afraid drivers won’t think “Oh, let’s take my bike to ride from Montmorency to work!” when bikes are whizzing by.
      I’m afraid they start hating cyclists even more they already do when they’re stuck in traffic and see all that converted road real-estate—*their* roads, that they pay taxes for—being mostly empty because bikes just don’t take that much space when they’re in motion.

      Everyone is on edge these days, I drove a little last week and people were even more aggressive and speeding than normal.
      If you happen to live on or next to a street with constant traffic jams, the perpetual noise and pollution will be terrible too.

      I don’t have a solution, and maybe taking advantage of this pandemic to make giant steps in converting to pedal power is a good idea. But cycling is not an option for everyone, it just isn’t. Even in the Netherlands many people drive.

    • DeWolf 13:18 on 2020-05-26 Permalink

      Yes, even in Amsterdam there are people who drive – about 22 percent of all trips, if I recall correctly. That’s a remarkably low number given that it isn’t an especially high density city (outside the historic core quite a bit of it looks and feels like Montreal). It didn’t get there with half-measures. What Montreal is doing today is what Amsterdam did in the 1970s.

      But hey, maybe I’m wrong, Val Plante will be booted out of office in the ensuring uproar and Lionel Perez can swoop in and save the day by dismantling all the bike infrastructure and raising the speed limits back to 50km/h. After all, we’re going to save the world by switching to electric cars, so who needs active transport.

    • mare 15:26 on 2020-05-26 Permalink

      Amsterdam and Montreal are very different cities.
      Car ownership in Amsterdam is very low for various reasons. If you don’t have one you won’t do many trips by car. Owning a car is extremely expensive: cars are more expensive to buy and it’s much harder to keep an older car on the road because of tough inspections (there are areas you can’t enter with a car that’s older than 10 years!). Gas, insurance and road taxes are much higher. Parking is hard and expensive. There are much less parking spots available. No free street parking. All parking spots in the denser neighbourhoods are metered and in paid parking garages (both $8 per hour, $80 per day) or you need a parking permit. Parking permits are for residents only, maximum one per household, and cost $600 to $900 per year. Waiting list for a permit is 2 to 44 months. A few car-owning friends I have in Amsterdam park their car outside the city and commute to it by tram or bike.

      Density is 5500 per km2 versus Montreal’s 2700 per km2. (A third of the area of Amsterdam consists of water, so the actual density is even higher).

      Public transport is more abundant and efficient. Bus and tram routes are abundant and the stops are further apart so their average speed is higher. There are also a few metro lines and you can even take the train from one part of town to another. Trains leave every 10-15 minutes. Most people commute to other cities by train (almost 10 million people live within 45 train minutes from Amsterdam) and the trains go often and fast. If you go to the train station public transport and cycling is your best option because there’s very little car parking available and it’s outrageously expensive. There are huge free parking garages for bikes.

      City centre popular is much younger, mostly students and young professionals and car-less.

      It’s rarely very cold and snow clearing is done with salt. (I had never seen a snowplough before coming to Canada.) It does rain more and it’s often windy.

      Amsterdam is IMO actually a terrible city to bike in, way too many tourists and relatively few grade separated bike paths compared to other cities.

    • Chris 15:26 on 2020-05-26 Permalink

      >but closing a major, very busy and often overlooked artery might cause even worse traffic jams than we had before this all started, especially when all Lavalites start driving into the city again

      That can be a self-correcting phenomenon though, if alternatives exist. i.e. Lavalites start driving back into the city, find it even more clogged than before, thus even slower than before, and thus they *change their behaviour*. They work from home, they shift their schedule, they take transit, they bike, they relocate, they change jobs, etc. Not everyone will/can of course, but some would, and traffic would go down to a new normal.

      One of my favourite examples;

      >*their* roads, that they pay taxes for

      In case you were not aware, motorist-only fees (gas tax, etc.) pay for a minority of the road infrastructure, general taxation pays for most of it, and that’s money from everyone.

      >But cycling is not an option for everyone

      Obviously. Driving isn’t an option for everyone either: the young, the old, the blind, etc. We don’t need a single solution, we need many, and cycling is one, and vastly underutilized.

    • Ian 19:10 on 2020-05-26 Permalink

      Oh Chris hates cars and doesn’t care that Milano’s is an institution, I am SO surprised.

      I guess when Milano’s sees that more of their clients start riding bikes to carry home 4-5 bags of groceries they will change their tune, maybe all the bicyclists should lead the charge and actually start shopping there.

      I admit I have only ever been to MIlano’s on foot, I usually do my groceries locally on foot – but I also admit I have never a purchased more than I could conveniently carry except once – when I took a cab home. People like me will not keep Milano’s open.

  • Kate 16:55 on 2020-05-25 Permalink | Reply  

    The city’s inspector general (BIG) has fingered a fraudulent contractor, cancelled contracts and put the business on the blacklist for five years. Not only did they dump toxic waste on agricultural land, the operator of the business, in reality, was a guy who participated in the “everything is truqué” era in 2008 and 2009 and should not have been given a city contract.

    • Francesco 20:44 on 2020-05-26 Permalink


  • Kate 13:36 on 2020-05-25 Permalink | Reply  

    Two months ago, Justin Trudeau sent Quebec $21 million in funds to help the homeless. Quebec has set aside only one third of this cash for Montreal, even though this city is overwhelmingly where the majority of the province’s homeless are living. And shelters say they haven’t received a cent yet.

    • Bill Binns 14:39 on 2020-05-25 Permalink

      Ugh. The homeless are in Montreal because that’s where the handouts are. Give all 21 million to Sherbrooke to open wet shelters and heroin lounges and see what their downtown looks like a year from now.

    • Tee Owe 14:45 on 2020-05-25 Permalink

      Bill Binns – sometimes your observation are witty, to the point, amusingly on the mark if a bit politically incorrect – not this one. Homeless people did not choose to be homeless – show some humanity

    • Blork 15:07 on 2020-05-25 Permalink

      I agree with Tee Owe. Homeless people go where they stand the best chance of surviving, and that’s generally the densest urban area.

      That’s where the resources are, which include (a) spaces to shelter at night (whether it’s an actual formal shelter or a deserted shed or a nook under an overpass, a squat, etc., (b) free food from church charities, grocery store dumpsters, food banks, generous restaurants, etc. (c) odd quick jobs such as shoveling or sweeping something (i.e., jobs that pay in cash or food, require no commitment, no CV, no schedule, etc.), (d) ready supply of booze and dope for the addicted, (e) companionship in the form of other homeless people, (f) space (more or less) to live their odd lives largely un-harassed and unmolested by small town people who wouldn’t tolerate having unstable homeless people around.

    • dwgs 18:38 on 2020-05-25 Permalink

      Yeah, what Tee Owe said. Bill, usually I like you even if I don’t often agree with you but you’re out of line with that one.

    • david99 19:39 on 2020-05-25 Permalink

    • EmilyG 22:06 on 2020-05-25 Permalink

      Ok Bill, we get it, you hate poor people.

    • Bill Binns 10:29 on 2020-05-26 Permalink

      22 years in the convenience store business and 4 years living in the Village. I did not come to my opinions on the “homeless” by turning my nose up at Stinky Joe sleeping in the Metro.

      It seems obvious to me that if you put all of the various services offered to the homeless in one place, that’s where the homeless will be. Montreal has a disproportionate burden in this regard and within Montreal there is a huge discrepancy. Where is Outremont’s heroin lounge? Why no Westmount branch of the Old Brewery Mission? A few months ago the city announced they would be opening some of the trendy new shelters with open bars but refused to say where they would be located. Anyone want to place some bets on what side of town will shoulder the burden of these new attractants?

      @Tee Owe – People don’t choose homelessness? Speak to someone in the homeless industry and they will quickly tell you the opposite. A great deal of these people (especially younger people) have homes waiting for them that they choose not to return to. Notice how the number of apparent homeless spikes during warmer months? They don’t spend the winter in the Caribbean. They go home. Or, you could just talk to some homeless people and they will tell you themselves. You will hear stories of extreme rugged individualism and a reluctance to follow any rules whatsoever.

      @Emily – I suggest you look into how much it costs to be drunk or high 24/7. These people have more cash flow than the average “poor” person who works and has an apartment.

    • EmilyG 11:49 on 2020-05-26 Permalink

      Bill, there is so much you don’t know about these things. So much you don’t know about poor or homeless or underprivileged people in general.

      But it doesn’t seem that you’ll ever care about people less-advantaged than you, so I won’t waste time trying to explain any of that here.

    • Travelzombie@gmail.com 13:50 on 2020-05-26 Permalink

      Yep, we’ll just leave it at “Bill hates poor people”. It’s so much easier.

    • Blork 15:58 on 2020-05-26 Permalink

      I hear what you’re saying Bill, but maybe you should acknowledge that your two vantage points doesn’t necessarily give you a CLEARER view of the situation; rather it gives you a skewed view (along the lines of when you’re a hammer, all problems look like a nail).

      Your neighbourhood is known to be a gathering point for the kind of seasonal homeless people you describe. So that’s mostly what you’re seeing. (Hammer -> nail)

    • Ian 19:49 on 2020-05-26 Permalink

      Jeez Bill, of course people in the throes of addiction spend lots of money on their addiction. That’s why it is called addiction. I had an uncle who got hooked on crack – looks pretty cheap at 5 bucks a pop until you are at the point you need a pop every 20 minutes, you really can’t hold down anything but the addiction at that point.

    • Bill Binns 20:07 on 2020-05-26 Permalink

      @Blork – The vast majority of advocates will not admit that the “seasonal homeless” exist. The prevalent position is that of Tee Owe above “Homelessness is not a choice”.

      As far as my vantage points go, what am I missing? Do other neighborhoods have a different type of homeless people or just less (or none) of them? The folks shuffling around my neighborhood don’t seem materially different than the homeless I see in LA and Sacramento and Seattle (San Francisco is in a class by itself). If anyone is missing the proper vantage point on the situation it’s the super advocates who believe the homeless can do no wrong but also never encounter them anywhere near their home.

      @Ian – Not surprised that addicts spend money on their drug of choice but that doesn’t make them “poor” does it? Since the government and various government funded entities take care of absolutely all the day to day needs of these people from food to socks, they are able to spend every nickle they get their hands on on drugs or booze. We are enabling this lifestyle.

    • JP 22:55 on 2020-05-26 Permalink

      “…We are enabling this lifestyle.”

      I really have no words. I can’t see how anyone could ever think homelessness or addictions are somehow a luxurious lifestyle choice. These are not a choice. There are many factors, including mental illness, abuse, systemic discrimination. Even if someone has a “home” they could return to, maybe try to imagine how awful “home” might be if they’d rather live on the street. 

      To my mind, it only makes sense that the homeless or those with addictions would go to where there are resources. That’s not a bad thing. You should go where you can get help and have the best chance of surviving.

      With that said, there are neighbourhoods in Montreal where one might not be as exposed to the homeless. If you find the homeless, so offensive, I’m not sure why you wouldn’t move…

      I wish people would realize that much of our outcomes are mere accidents of birth.

      Count yourself lucky and extend some compassion.

  • Kate 13:32 on 2020-05-25 Permalink | Reply  

    Quebec has now had more than 4000 deaths from Covid; François Legault has announced that malls outside Montreal can reopen as of June 1.

    • Kate 12:58 on 2020-05-25 Permalink | Reply  

      TVA says Ste-Catherine Street is reawakening; although they’ve caught a few people on the street, the traffic cam at Peel doesn’t exactly show ebullient crowds, even at lunchtime.

      • Kate 09:59 on 2020-05-25 Permalink | Reply  

        The Journal is dogpiling on Valérie Plante for the announced plan to reform French gendering at city hall.

        • david119 10:29 on 2020-05-25 Permalink

          They try to make is sound super goofy,like the whole Anglo-created “latinx” thing, but practically, the changes they’re announcing won’t be a big deal, and aren’t anything particularly new.

          A quote like this doesn’t really translate, when we’re mostly talking about dropping an article, rephrasing, or using the equivalent of “tous et toutes”: La Ville adopte désormais un mode de communication épicène », donc qu’il s’attaque « à la suprématie du masculin sur le féminin en français ».

          That said, like the whole “latinx” thing, one surmises that there must be a English language influence on the thinking behind this genre of “feminism” – I don’t think it’s natural in the french-speaker’s brain to really think of the articles as masculine or feminine. I guess if French had retained the long-lost neuter that German still has, this whole track of thinking wouldn’t be nearly as salient.

        • jeather 11:35 on 2020-05-25 Permalink

          I have absolutely no doubt that speakers of gendered languages can come to the feeling that “generic = male” is irritating whether or not English does it.

        • Francesco 22:08 on 2020-05-25 Permalink

          IMO (as an Anglo) the now-common written gendering of what should be neutral titles looks silly and reinforces the other solitude’s desire to retain archaic ideals in modern contexts. Modern English has all but stopped using feminine-specific titles for equal attributes and occupations (ie we don’t call Val Plante “the Mayoress,” and older terms like stewardess have been supplanted by neutral titles); but now everywhere I read French communiqués and social media, I see the dot-e-dot-s (“Montréalais.e.s”) and it makes my teeth grind. In my opinion it’s a step backwards.

        • DeWolf 11:04 on 2020-05-26 Permalink

          There was a discussion about this on Reddit and somebody gave this example of how things can become very unwieldy:

          « Tout bon avocat compétent ou toute bonne a avocate compétente, doit conseiller son nouveau client ou sa nouvelle cliente… »

          And another user pointed out that the new policy of using “épicène” language means avoiding gendered words altogether. The above sentence could be replaced by the following more elegant construction:

          « Chaque juriste aux compétences affirmées doit conseiller sa clientèle »

        • Francesco 20:56 on 2020-05-26 Permalink

          Right, English is generally non-gendered, but over the last 40 years it has moved to epicene nouns and titles. Steward/stewardess = flight attendant, waiter/waitress = server, maid = housekeeper, actor/actress = performer, and so on. To be honest, the transition to neutral nouns was almost imperceptible, smoother than the move away from other (now) non-PC terms, such as those from the medical field. I just don’t understand why evolution of the French language has to be so dramatic.

      • Kate 09:36 on 2020-05-25 Permalink | Reply  

        Le Devoir looks at how Covid has changed even the burial of the dead, specifically at east-end Repos Saint-François d’Assise. People who died of Covid can’t be shelved in mausoleums, an interesting point – they have to be buried or cremated. And undertakers have been very busy. Good photo essay along with the story.

        • Kate 09:02 on 2020-05-25 Permalink | Reply  

          A cell tower in St-Henri was torched overnight. CTV is cautious in its phrasing, but TVA tells us it’s definitely arson, while pretending not to understand the reason. Cell towers were torched north of town a few weeks ago, a gesture against the perceived risks of 5G – which no tower yet emits here.

          • Bill Binns 13:43 on 2020-05-25 Permalink

            The intellectual elites of St Henri are at it again. I wonder if the cops will bother investigating this time since the victim was a big corporation rather than a private neighborhood grocery store.

          • walkerp 22:57 on 2020-05-25 Permalink

            How do you know they were from St-Henri?

          • EmilyG 11:49 on 2020-05-26 Permalink

            We get it, Bill. You hate poor people.
            This is getting old.

        • Kate 08:52 on 2020-05-25 Permalink | Reply  

          Jonathan Montpetit on why reopening Montreal is riskier than François Legault admits: “the government is going forward less because Montreal is out of the danger zone, and more because the heavy lockdown is no longer sustainable.”

          La Presse looks at who’s most at risk and the distribution of cases in parts of the island. This is where the limitations of the borough system are noticeable: I live in VSMPE, which has relatively high levels, but my impression is that Villeray itself is a safer sandwich filling between the bread of St-Michel and Park Ex, although I may be kidding myself. Likewise, I suspect there’s some difference in the numbers between Côte-des-Neiges and NDG, but you can’t tell from the official reporting.

          This article goes into some detail about which occupations have been found to be riskiest, and the interesting observation that, although women are more exposed to the virus for occupational reasons, more men have been seen to die once afflicted, for reasons that are not yet clear.

          • EmilyG 11:50 on 2020-05-26 Permalink

            I think my area of Rosemont has a large number of cases because there was an outbreak at a local hospital.
            Still sad.

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