Updates from June, 2022 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 16:32 on 2022-06-22 Permalink | Reply  

    Following from a recent discussion here on how neither cyclists nor pedestrians are indemnified by the SAAQ for road accidents, regular reader Tim S. sent me this link to a Piétons Québec announcement that the SAAQ is working on extending its coverage to cyclists and pedestrians as well.

    • Spi 17:04 on 2022-06-22 Permalink

      road accidents not involving cars.

      Both are very much covered in any accident involving a motor vehicle.

  • Kate 16:26 on 2022-06-22 Permalink | Reply  

    The shoe had been on the verge of dropping in my thoughts, but Taylor C. Noakes got there first: the city’s free metro plan is fundamentally flawed in several ways, not least being that it makes no sense to have the free stations clumped together downtown, sometimes no more than five or ten minutes’ walk separating them.

    Making these stations free means you’re basically sending people home for free, not bringing them downtown – although Noakes points out the odd idea mentioned by CBC that people will only be able to circulate for free among that small group of stations, and would have to pay to go beyond them (although how this would be established to the satisfaction of the metro security goons is not made clear).

    • Spi 17:02 on 2022-06-22 Permalink

      It’s a poorly thought out piece. To begin with, this is a city of Montreal initiative, it wasn’t going to offer free entrance to off island residents. Keeping in mind that it’s only free because someone else is paying for it ($2 million from the city of Montreal), not because Plante waved a magic wand to make it so. I don’t see how you justify to Montrealers that people from Laval and Longueuil get free passage paid for by Montreal tax payers.

      Taylor presents the initiative as a transit project, it’s not it’s a downtown vitality initiative. His entire section about transit cops pestering people is based upon one article that’s very likely to be wrong in its reading of a press release and then continues to make a huge hoopla about hypothetical transit cops controlling people. I’ve never seen an inspection blitz happen on the weekend and the spokesperson stops just short of telling riders there won’t be.

      To his point, why not make the whole system free? Why not start it at midnight so people have a free ride home from the bar? Because again, it’s only free because someone else is paying for it and this isn’t a transit initiative to up ridership, it’s a downtown initiative to get them downtown shopping supporting shops. I don’t know of any shops that are open at 11pm on a Friday night, does anyone?

      The entire article is just a straw man argument from the start.

      “This feels a lot more like partially subsidizing people to go shopping at underused downtown malls on the weekend” Yes Taylor, that’s exactly what it is, it wasn’t disguised as anything else. I get that you need to write 500 words about something for Cultmtl this month, but you can do better.

    • Blork 17:41 on 2022-06-22 Permalink

      Yeah, it’s a flawed idea, but I also agree with some of what @Spi says above, about the article.

      First off, the thing from CBC saying the free ride only applies to rides between those few stations is so patently idiotic that it must be a mistake on CBC’s part, so let’s just dismiss that altogether.

      Regarding whether the “free” should be coming or going, I think it’s fine the way it is. The idea that you can get downtown for free but you have to pay in order to leave is just wrong and backwards. (It’s also a bit weird to pay to go downtown and then you’re free to leave is also a bit odd, but less odd than the opposite.)

      I agree with Noakes and others that they should just make the whole system free. Ideally from 6:00PM Friday until closing time on Sunday. If nothing else it would be a test of how a free Metro system would work. But it would also encourage more people to try it.

      As Noakes points out, many people use a monthly pass, so this free thing means nothing to them. But for people who pay as they go, it’s not clear to them what to expect in terms of when it’s free, where it’s free, etc. (You can’t expect people to memorize the schedule and which stations apply.) So I suspect most non-pass holders will just see this as something else to be confused about and will just forget about it.

    • Taylor C. Noakes 18:20 on 2022-06-22 Permalink

      Hi @Spi, thanks for reading. A few points:

      The proposal came about with the involvement for the STM and ARTM, who presumably represent the interests of people not living within the city limits. I don’t see why Plante didn’t contact her colleagues in Laval and Longueuil to get them to chip in on the project. Seems like that would have been an easy couple of calls to make, especially given the ARTM’s involvement.

      Sure seems like a transit project to me: Plante states the best way to visit the downtown is by using public transit, and the two major partners are transit agencies, not Destination Centre-Ville or Montreal Chamber of Commerce. The message I’m seeing is ‘try public transit to get downtown’ and it’s tied in with the end of free parking in the city. It’s half-priced Métro, not a free coupon for $5 off at the Phillip’s Square Burger King with every Metro ride, you know what I mean?

      I’ve had the misfortune of being surprised by an undercover STM goon validating transit fares, and I’m a big tall white guy. It was unpleasant, and, based on some recent videos circulating online, far less pleasant for so-called visible minorities. The point is that when the STM spox was asked how exactly they plan on verifying fares, he didn’t have a clear answer and only said they were still considering it. For a lot of people in this city, transit goons are a source of anxiety. It’s not a trivial matter.

      This whole nonsense idea that it’s only free because someone else is paying for it… no. All public transit in the whole province receives public subsidy to one degree or another, but it’s also not a zero-sum game. The train runs whether it’s full or empty, and it’s being paid for by people who live in Kuujjuaq, Pierrefonds, the Gaspé (etc). We’ve all already paid for that train to run.

      I’m not sure this counts as a straw man argument, since I didn’t exaggerate the thing I’m opposed to. I literally quoted the press release and what was reported about the mayor’s actual plan.

    • Daniel D 10:15 on 2022-06-23 Permalink

      For a perspective from another city, The Guardian has an interview with Boston’s mayor on the topic of free transit: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/jun/22/mayor-michelle-wu-boston-interview

    • Taylor C. Noakes 11:36 on 2022-06-23 Permalink

      Thanks for sharing that Daniel. The second paragraph neatly summarizes all the key reasons why transit ought to be free:

      “Championing free public transportation as part of a broader focus on affordability and tackling carbon emissions (…) This March, the city dropped the $1.70 fare for three bus lines that serve predominantly low-income areas and people of color. Amid budgetary concerns, the city will use a Covid-19 relief fund to make up for $8m of lost revenue. Ridership on the first free bus line has soared by 48%, from 47,000 to 70,000 weekly riders.”

  • Kate 15:58 on 2022-06-22 Permalink | Reply  

    Toula Drimonis is now writing for Metro in French – mostly – giving a level‑headed elucidation of the allo‑anglo view of things here.

    • Kate 13:52 on 2022-06-22 Permalink | Reply  

      Montreal was named #1 among large cities in the PeopleForBikes 2022 City Ratings, and 8th overall.

      • DeWolf 15:18 on 2022-06-22 Permalink

        Their “network analysis” map is very interesting, showing all the “high stress” and “low stress” areas for cycling in Montreal. It corresponds pretty well to my own impressions.

        As usual, though, these types of rankings are only as good as their data, and they rely too much on arbitrary municipal boundaries. Vancouver actually ranks higher than Montreal overall because it has fairly constrained city limits, and by the same token Montreal’s ranking probably suffers because its city limits just happen to include suburban areas like Pierrefonds and Pointe-aux-Trembles.

        There’s also some intangible factors to consider. It may technically be convenient for someone in Vancouver to ride their bike to the grocery store, for instance, but my own experience tells me it’s far less common than it is here. Another example: Gatineau ranks just one spot lower than Montreal. While I suppose they have the infrastructure, it’s not a city where cycling occupies anywhere near as large a civic space as in Montreal.

      • DeWolf 15:20 on 2022-06-22 Permalink

        Oh whoops. I confused their rating with their ranking. I take back what I said!

      • Kevin 15:48 on 2022-06-22 Permalink

        You’re making me miss the trailer I borrowed every time I did groceries while living out West.

      • Meezly 09:31 on 2022-06-23 Permalink

        And the Plateau/Mile End and Little Italy area ranked as the most “low stress” – probably due to their proximity to the downtown core but also mostly to the efforts of Projet Mtl the past decade or so?

    • Kate 09:12 on 2022-06-22 Permalink | Reply  

      Eight people were arrested Tuesday in connection with a scam targeting older folks: they would call and tell them their bank card had been compromised, and send someone to pick up the card, and the code too!

      How they got lists of phone numbers and knew they were soft targets is a question not asked in these pieces.

      • Kate 07:15 on 2022-06-22 Permalink | Reply  

        NATO’s climate change centre (pardon me for feeling that the wording centre of excellence is about as bogus as it gets) will be established in Montreal.

        Note that the point of this “centre of excellence” is not to fight climate change, but to assess the impact of climate change on the security of NATO.

        • su 11:41 on 2022-06-23 Permalink

          This has to do with the Arctic. As it is warming ( many times faster than anywhere else) to the delight of many. The vast resources ( oil, gas, “green”rare metals) it and brand new shipping routes are open to exploitation. Russia, China, and of course the mafia oligarchs are positioning themselves for the advantage.

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