Updates from November, 2022 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 21:42 on 2022-11-18 Permalink | Reply  

    Villa-Maria and Pie-IX metro stations are now equipped with elevators. Eight more stations are in the process of being upgraded, but it’s an expensive business, Pie‑IX having come in at more than $81 million.

    • Taylor C. Noakes 21:49 on 2022-11-18 Permalink

      That’s absolute insanity. I’m having a hard time imagining that the cost of retrofitting all the stations with elevators is less than adding staircase-mounted lifts, or just providing adapted transit services.

    • PO 10:06 on 2022-11-19 Permalink

      Criminal. Going by Wikipedia, the Tour des Canadiens cost 230m. The Icône complex cost 120m. The Tom Condo building at 90 million.

      One metro station elevator retrofit costs almost as much as a 40 story tower?

      3 retrofits and you can build the seventh tallest tower in Montreal?

      Taylor is right, absolute insanity.

    • Joey 10:44 on 2022-11-19 Permalink

      The Pie-IX work was more than just a couple of elevator:

      C’est à la station Pie-IX que les travaux étaient le plus imposants. Au-delà de l’installation d’ascenseurs, le chantier, lancé à l’automne 2020, impliquait également d’agrandir les édicules principaux et secondaires de la station, d’élargir le corridor souterrain, de revoir plusieurs systèmes électroniques ou encore d’ajouter un puits de ventilation naturelle.

    • Kate 10:49 on 2022-11-19 Permalink

      I’m not sure it’s so wacky. Every station is different and is set in different geological conditions, so there’s no standard template for adding elevators. It has to be worked out in detail every time.

      Also, the article did specify that the changes around Pie‑IX were also to align the station with the SRB Pie‑IX.

      It’s a pity that, even if they hadn’t wanted elevators at the time, designers of the original stations couldn’t at least have engineered them to allow for potential future elevators to be implanted, but it seems not.

      And as Joey says, other work’s been done.

    • DeWolf 11:43 on 2022-11-19 Permalink

      Saying the Pie-IX elevator cost $81 million is like saying it cost $60 million to build a bike path on Pine Avenue, when it’s actually a complete reconstruction of the street and all of its underground infrastructure.

      As for Taylor’s question about whether elevators are really needed – chair lifts are not a replacement because they only serve wheelchair users and only one at a time at that. And given that they are very slow, they need to be supervised by a metro employee and there are many, many stairs in the metro, it would be a pretty torturous process to use them.

      Elevators aren’t just for people in wheelchairs. They’re for anyone who isn’t able to walk up a bunch of stairs: people with bad knees, people with lots of shopping bags, people with suitcases, cyclists taking their bike on the train.

    • Kate 12:09 on 2022-11-19 Permalink

      People with kids, too, whether in strollers, walking or being carried. It’s a modern truism that you have to have a car before you can have a kid, but one way to push back at that is to make it easier for parents to use transit.

    • carswell 12:31 on 2022-11-19 Permalink

      In case others interested in this issue missed it, the AgoraMTL thread on metro elevators has an interesting map in which all the stations are ranked by the technical challenges involved in making them universally accessible.The number of problématique stations is depressing.


    • Kevin 12:51 on 2022-11-19 Permalink

      I think the Villa Maria station is a good example of the problems faced.
      It took three years to install 3 elevators, extend a building, extend platforms, move ventilation, move the bus loop… and all without shutting down the orange line because of some hiccup.

      Retrofitting is very hard. It is always cheaper and faster to build new from scratch

    • mare 15:04 on 2022-11-19 Permalink

      The way our metros are build, with the ticket checking on a separate level of the actual platform doesn’t help with the installation and engineering of the elevators. Especially is some stations were there are stairs up and down to reach the platforms (example Mont-Royal), or where the platforms are far away from the entrance (Beadry, Beaubien).

      Building two longer elevator shafts directly to/from the platforms to a small edicule above the ground would have been *much* cheaper. An automated opus card reader would open the elevator door, and the setup would also be easier for the actual users who wouldn’t have to descend with one elevator, go through narrow turn styles and then find another elevator.
      A few downsides I can see, of the top of my head:
      1) how do users without an Opus card enter, but with the availability of Opus cards in other places than the metro it’s less of an issue, and future technology might put Opus cards directly on phones.
      2) The elevators have to be longer. Two elevators going to ‘deep’ stations like Lucien-Lalliers, will cost more so there a three tier approach might be better.
      3) You can’t go from one platform to another one without paying again (although there’s an easy solution for that, swiping your Opus card when you exit gives you a 5 minute window to enter another metro entrance. Yes, can be abused.)
      4) people might use the elevator entrances to “jump the stiles”, by sneaking in at the same time as a another user, but that can be done with the current installations too. (It also won’t cause millions in losses.)

      Ah well, the expensive solution was chosen, maybe because of the unions that didn’t want the job of ticket booth attendant have competition. Or other reasons.

    • Taylor C. Noakes 16:46 on 2022-11-19 Permalink

      @DeWolf, that’s a fair point

      I understand that a lot of these stations are getting other work done, and/or that the jobs are way more complicated than initially anticipated, but to me it still feels like a misuse of funds. I don’t want to sound insensitive, but my thinking is that every public transit dollar needs to be prioritized for system expansion and electrification, with a clear aim towards reducing CO2 emissions from other forms of transport. All of this elevator money could have been used to buy more electric buses (which are accessible), or getting going on a new tram line (which would allow more buses to be rededicated to the suburbs, where they’re more useful).

    • DeWolf 18:59 on 2022-11-19 Permalink

      That’s fair enough Taylor, but I think it’s more of situation where we need the expansion you describe along with retrofitting stations to be accessible.

    • jfc 12:44 on 2022-11-20 Permalink

      This is how drivers design transit systems.

  • Kate 17:04 on 2022-11-18 Permalink | Reply  

    Actor, musician and senator Jean Lapointe has died after a long career in music and movies. His support of the alcohol addiction treatment facility that bears his name is also being remembered.

    • Kate 10:30 on 2022-11-18 Permalink | Reply  

      One of the arguments for building a new MUHC hospital was that it’s important to have only one patient per room, to control infection as well as offer privacy. But so many kids are currently sick that they’re putting them in two to a room in the pediatric ICU of the Children’s.

      In addition, throughout Quebec, teenagers from 16 to 18 are being directed to hospitals for adults.

      • Taylor C. Noakes 21:50 on 2022-11-18 Permalink

        They haven’t really started work on the Vic yet, have they? There’s still time to save it. They knew they were decreasing the number of beds way back when.

      • Kate 10:53 on 2022-11-19 Permalink

        They won’t use the old Vic as a hospital again. It’s too run down.

        Yes, they consciously reduced the total number of beds available in the MUHC network. I don’t know how much of a reduction they made in beds for the Children’s specifically, but I recall a pretty sharp fall from more than a thousand to somewhere around 800 beds in the MUHC as a whole.

        I don’t remember how they justified this, but it was during the period when everyone had been hypnotized by Arthur Porter so the decisions being made were not being properly questioned.

      • Uatu 12:26 on 2022-11-19 Permalink

        Everyone thought it was nuts reducing the number of beds except the planners. People were sold on the idea by slick talking Porter and the combined media push by CJAD that ran infomercials (Health Matters) and CTV (Mitsumi etc.) They hand waved it off by saying that there would be additional beds on some other site to come and that modern medicine meant shorter hospital stays etc. Of course that was crap and now the pandemic and an aging population have come to slap them in the face with the reality that we all knew was coming. But what do they care? The planners, doctors etc. all have access to private clinics that the rest of the public doesn’t. Just be rich like the caq says and it’ll all be okay for you!

      • dhomas 05:45 on 2022-11-21 Permalink

        The old Vic may be out of the question, but what about the old Shriners hospital? It was a kid’s hospital already. Has it already been repurposed?

      • dhomas 05:56 on 2022-11-21 Permalink

        I just looked into it. It seems like the government of China bought the building around 2019-2020.

    • Kate 10:27 on 2022-11-18 Permalink | Reply  

      In September 2021, a young man was killed on his bike at the corner of Mont‑Royal and Park Avenue. Now the accused is on trial, evidence showing he stopped his truck, pulled the bike out from where it was caught underneath, put it aside, and drove away.

      This man, Brandon Marchand-Bibeau, should be on trial, but that intersection has always been a tricky one, whether for cyclists, pedestrians or drivers. Beyond accusing Marchand-Bibeau, the question should be asked what has been done, or could be done, to make that corner less hazardous.

      • Daniel D 11:23 on 2022-11-18 Permalink

        I apologise for immediately going off-topic, but can I ask why Quebec doesn’t mandate license plates on the front of vehicles like the other provinces? It makes me wonder if it’s easier to get away with a hit-and-run, as the vehicle could be reversed away far enough that the license plate isn’t visible when the vehicle turns to speed away.

      • bumper carz 11:39 on 2022-11-18 Permalink

        As a full-time commuter cyclist for over 30 years, I have been treated to near-death manoeuvres by commercial truck drivers many times. When you get paid to drive a truck (or cab) fast and furiously… your boss (or client) rewards you for this dangerous behavior: “Hey, that was fast! Here’s a bonus! : ) “.

        About 10 years ago, a commercial cube-truck deliverer chased me around Villeray in his truck trying to run me over with it because I had verbally complained (stopped at a red light) that he had almost crushed me by passing me with only a few cm between us.

        I finally lost him by riding under an underpass into the Plateau’s one-way street driving hell, where I was able to stop and report the incident to the police.

        The other hundred examples of dangerous truck driving… I have left unreported. Until now.

      • walkerp 11:48 on 2022-11-18 Permalink

        I believe that the borough government has plans to make that intersection safer. I just heard this from a fellow citizen, but it sounded legit.

      • Daniel D 11:54 on 2022-11-18 Permalink

        bumper carz: What a horrifying story! Did the police do anything after you’d reported that truck driver?

      • DeWolf 11:59 on 2022-11-18 Permalink

        @Daniel, there are only three provinces that require front plates: Ontario, BC and Manitoba. The rest of the provinces and territories are like Quebec. (Front plates are a bit more common in the US, but there are still 19 states that don’t require them.)

        From what I can tell, the justification is that dropping the front plate reduces costs for the government and it may also reduce maintenance costs for car owners (apparently front plates are bad for bumpers):


        I can’t seem to find any actual data on whether rear-only provinces and states have more safety incidents, but my instinct says no, given that there doesn’t seem any correlation between the number of licence plates and the number of traffic accidents. Just for example, Quebec has more per capita road accidents than Ontario, but fewer than BC:


      • DeWolf 12:02 on 2022-11-18 Permalink

        Plans to redesign the Mont-Royal/Park intersection were announced on this very blog in September:


        Part of it will include extending the Côte-Ste-Catherine bike path to meet up with the path on Park Avenue:


        There haven’t been any concrete details released since then, however.

      • Daniel D 12:44 on 2022-11-18 Permalink

        Thanks DeWolf!

      • carswell 13:03 on 2022-11-18 Permalink

        Details are vague but the Mont-Royal/Parc intersection is slated to be reconfigured and made safer for active transiters as part of the recently announced cycling infrastructure plan. That led me to comment a while back that a cyclist obviously needs to die while crossing the Décarie for the city to get serious about bridging the bike path gap.

      • carswell 13:06 on 2022-11-18 Permalink

        Apologies for the redundancy, DeWolf. Automatic updates don’t appear to be happening with my browser anymore. Should have refreshed before posting.

      • MarcG 13:21 on 2022-11-18 Permalink

        @carswell: Automatic updates were disabled a few months ago, the requests were too much for the server.

      • Joey 14:08 on 2022-11-18 Permalink

        I was under the impression that the lack of front plates was one of the main barriers to adding more speed cameras, but I’m not sure that’s correct.

      • mare 14:47 on 2022-11-18 Permalink

        Number plate visibility don’t seem to have much priority here anyway. I see so many plates that are unreadable. Blue shields over number plates, plates covered in mud or caked-on road salt, or with the paint completely ‘chipped’ off on plates of very new cars. And of course the custom of driving a month with your temporary license paper glued to your tinted window. You don’t want to get into a hit-and-run encounter with any of those.
        @Joey speeding tickets (and all traffic violations) need either a clear photo of the front and back of the car (with plate and recognizable face), or a sworn statement by a cop who has stopped you after witnessing the issue, and has checked the identity of the driver. This is needed because of the demerit points system, and people who have successfully sued that they weren’t driving at the moment of the offence, even though the car was theirs. So front plates aren’t deemed really important, because the cops have to catch you anyway.
        (In Europe, without a demerit system, tickets are issued to the car owner, and in some places there’s a red light and speed camera at virtually every intersection.)

      • CE 14:49 on 2022-11-18 Permalink

        New Brunswick made the front plate non mandatory a couple years ago. The police and school bus drivers weren’t happy. The change was blamed on lobbying efforts by antique car collectors.

      • Kevin 16:28 on 2022-11-18 Permalink

        When you get a new vehicle you save money if you keep your old plate. There is no verification that the old plate is legible

      • mare 19:11 on 2022-11-18 Permalink

        @Kevin, Really? Saving $15 after you’ve bought a car costing (tens of) thousands, that will cost you thousands every year?

      • bumper carz 17:12 on 2022-11-19 Permalink

        Daniel D, yes, they asked me for the license plate number, which… I never saw since I was being chased from behind by the cube truck. I gave them the location where I had spoken to them at the red light, and described the two guys in the cab who I saw very briefly. But the police never got back to me.

        I was just glad to be alive. It was in late March, and there was still ice on the road.

    • Kate 10:21 on 2022-11-18 Permalink | Reply  

      Weekend driving is expected to be, as usual, plagued with obstacles, and we’ll be getting a bit more snow as well.

      Things to do on the weekend from Daily Hive, CityCrunch, CultMTL, Sarah’s weekend list.

      Ste-Catherine Street will be closed for part of Saturday for the Santa Claus parade.

      • Kate 10:18 on 2022-11-18 Permalink | Reply  

        CBC has a feature on scientists studying the river and what we can learn from them.

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