Updates from December, 2022 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 16:52 on 2022-12-12 Permalink | Reply  

    Mayor Plante announced Monday that 40% of the parking on Mount Royal – 300 parking spaces – would be returned to green space but it won’t be completed till 2026.

    Also, adding later, some land near the old Royal Vic will be added to the park although not right away; no mention is made here of the issue about possible Indigenous or other burials in the area.

    Some thoughts on La Presse on the need for radical change: If the messages from COP15 appeal to everyone, if they don’t bother anyone, if they are not “radical”, this will mean that the conference will not have achieved its goal.

    • Spi 17:50 on 2022-12-12 Permalink

      Can we start by doing the simple things? Olmstead road itself needs some work, they’ve finally gotten around to closing some parts to let nature regrow after years of neglect, but that should be a cyclical thing.

    • Blork 18:52 on 2022-12-12 Permalink

      Here’s some radical thinking that will no doubt elicit some knee-jerk reactions from too-fast readers who assume this is a closeted rant in favour of cars:

      Removing parking from Parc Mont-Royal is essentially sending a message that the park is not really for “all Montrealers” but is primarily for people who live within walking, cycling, or short taxi ride distance of it. Because if you’re packing up a whole family, including kids and toddlers and all the stuff you need to grill some hot dogs and keep your kids amused on your Sunday afternoon in the park, you can’t really pack all that into the number 11 bus.

      And that’s just fine! As long as there is a commitment to create similar green spaces for people all around the city. Parc Angrignon is fantastic for this, and Parc Maisonneuve is excellent for people in that part of the city (AFAIK). But there needs to be an equally large and accessible park in every borough, and every corner of the city, where people who live crammed into too-small apartments can pack up their kids and their families and spend their Saturdays or Sundays in the park, plinking on their guitars and grilling their hot dogs and napping in their hammocks, but within easy and inexpensive reach by taxi.

      Context: not everyone who enjoys Mont-Royal is a fit 30 year old on a bicycle who goes there for half an hour twice a month. Go there (especially on Sundays on the western ends of the park) and you’ll see it is full of large groups of extended families spending the whole afternoon there, along with all the kit and caboodle that comes with toddlers and infants and whatnot. It’s a lot of gear to lug, and most of these people (from my observation) are not white European BoBos who could just as easily be spending time on the rooftop terrace of their million dollar renovated and converted duplex on Henri-Julien or Avenue Laval. No, most of them are working class people — typically but not always immigrants — who probably don’t have a lot of space in their apartments, and this is how they like to celebrate the fine weather and their extended families.

      Mont-Royal is within distance for such families in Cote-des-Neiges, and maybe Park-Ex. But what about families in Villeray or Montreal-Nord and whatnot? Do they have such parks? Parc Jarry is big, but it’s highly developed, so is it good for hammocks and BBQs and leisurely afternoons?

    • Chris 20:21 on 2022-12-12 Permalink

      Blork, your points are well-taken, but as I enjoy argumentation, some counter points…

      >you can’t really pack all that into the number 11 bus.

      True enough. But: a) we could retrofit some 11 buses to be like 747 buses and have more cargo space. b) you can pack it into a cab. Sure, not everyone can afford a cab. Well, perhaps trips to the Mountain will need to be looked at like other more distant vacations: where you have to save up a bit and do it more rarely.

      >there needs to be an equally large and accessible park in every borough

      Would that even be possible in some boroughs, without tearing down some buildings? (Perhaps a good idea!)

    • CE 20:36 on 2022-12-12 Permalink

      Those parking lots near Smith House are insane and could probably be reduced by a third and still accommodate about the same amount of cars. Quite a bit of green space could be added just by ripping out all the roads that access the lots and by rationalizing them. The parking lots are a small part of a larger plan (thankfully only partially realized) in the 60s to cover the mountain in roads and parking. The interchanges at Remembrance/Côte-des-Neiges and Pine/Parc were part of the plan (with a few more never being built) and are finally no more. Anything that reverses this plan is good in my eyes.

    • Ephraim 20:40 on 2022-12-12 Permalink

      I thought that they were talking about the parking lot just north of the Neuro and the parking lot next to the McTavish Monument. Plus about 290 spots from the main park. I am wondering though, how often is the parking full? And could we actually move away from large parking lots to a more decentralized parking with more green space? So smaller lots with trees with a few handicapped spots closest to the trails.

    • CE 20:44 on 2022-12-12 Permalink

      The CBC article says “The city also plans to remove about 40 per cent of the 725 parking spaces next to the Smith House, at the summit of the mountain.” I’d be curious as to how often the lots are more than 60% full. If not often, this will be barely even noticed.

    • Tim S. 20:51 on 2022-12-12 Permalink

      I’m mostly with Blork on this. The comments about the parking lot being empty 5 days a week drive me nuts: yes, that’s because of the way our civilization allocates leisure time. Waving away the fact that the park/parking lot is heavily used the two days a week most people actually have leisure time is insane.

      So yeah, it would be great if we had a well-developed public transport network that let people get there easily ON WEEKENDS. But we don’t, and until we do the effect of this is just to reduce Mont-Royal to a Plateau- adjacent leisure space.

      Chris: turning the 11 into a 747-style bus is a great idea. Making poorer people more miserable is not.

    • Kevin 21:51 on 2022-12-12 Permalink

      Every time I go to Mt. Royal it is absolutely packed with cars and people. People park in spaces where it’s technically not allowed, but it’s accepted by the powers that be.

      Further to what Blork said, getting to the park in a car is often cheaper, and certainly faster, for a family with food, skis, sleds, and other gear. And taking buses home with all that would be a nightmare as everyone leaves at the same time, reminiscent of the Ikea bus from New Jersey back to Manhattan…

      We went through all these arguments three years ago and PM is showing that history rhymes if it doesn’t repeat: they’re presenting another declaration that the Mountain is *not* for all Montrealers, it’s just for the ones who live within walking distance.

    • walkerp 09:15 on 2022-12-13 Permalink

      So because of existing inequalities and the much bigger issue of poor transit, we should not try and increase the green space on the mountain?
      I would be curious of the demographics of the people who drive to the mountain. How many of them are truly deprived of access to greenspace and how many of them come over from the west island who could just as easily drive to parks outside the city? Because if you are driving from anywhere within metro distance, than you can just as easily ride your bike (and yes carry bbq and sporting equipment with you).

      I agree that there are bigger problems of inequality, but to use those to argue against removing parking spaces tells me that you are still locked into the car addiction model.

    • Janet 10:03 on 2022-12-13 Permalink

      If what we want is to reduce the heat island effect and increase rain absorption, are there technical solutions that could help, such as installing turf grid pavers under a tree canopy? While this would not be as robust as pavement, it could be employed in areas where parking is limited to high-use weekends.

    • Kevin 10:29 on 2022-12-13 Permalink

      I’m now trying to picture a multi-generational family of 7 carrying BBQs and whatnot up Mt. Royal on their bicycles.

      Why not just put up a sign at city limits saying “Able-bodied people only”?

    • Ephraim 10:45 on 2022-12-13 Permalink

      @Janet – There are many ways, including making permeable asphalt, permeable blocks or breaking it up with trees. We are going to see more of this. And then there are things like “true grid” which lets grass through. See https://youtu.be/vlFX_WTFIis for an example

    • Marco 13:30 on 2022-12-13 Permalink

      It looks like we are going to have to rebuild the Funicular to accommodate all of the people who can’t get up the mountain by any other means other than by car.

    • Chris 13:55 on 2022-12-13 Permalink

      >…getting to the park in a car is often cheaper…

      That should change as a matter of policy. The cheapest option should not be the most environmentally destructive one.

      >…And taking buses home with all that [gear] would be a nightmare…

      Only because of policy that could be changed. The 11 schedule could change to have more buses when there are regular peak usage periods (closing time of skating rink, etc.)

      This parking removal really should be coupled with an improvement in alternatives though.

      >Why not just put up a sign at city limits saying “Able-bodied people only”?

      Because it’d be false. There will still be hundreds of parking spaces. Even the current 725 spaces mean that the 726th non-able-bodied person can’t come. Oh, the injustice!

      Sorry, but one person’s “right” to drive to the mountain, does not trump everyone’s else right to clean air and a healthy environment.

    • Kevin 14:29 on 2022-12-13 Permalink

      You’ve ignored the key clause of what I wrote: for a family.

      Projet Montreal keeps making mobility proposals for fit individuals who live alone, instead of for families with varying levels of fitness, mobility, and physical capabilities.

    • walkerp 14:51 on 2022-12-13 Permalink

      Families can ride bikes and carry more stuff than an individual, so they are actually better placed to bike to the mountain with their equipment.

    • Kate 15:09 on 2022-12-13 Permalink

      Not to be contrary, but if a family is a young couple with one or two active kids, or kids small enough to be toted – yes. But I’ve observed family picnics in Jarry Park that included at least three generations, some of the older folks probably not fit or safe to go up Mount Royal on a bicycle. Also – again thinking of Jarry Park – what about women in a sari or abaya? They don’t usually cycle.

    • DeWolf 15:45 on 2022-12-13 Permalink

      Kevin, that’s a big presumption on your part. Maybe it’s because you live in the west end, which is the worst part of Montreal for active transportation, but over here on the other side of the mountain it’s certainly not just fit young single people who take advantage of all the active mobility infrastructure. Every day I see people in electric wheelchairs using the REV and other bike paths, not to mention the many families here in Rosemont that tote their kids around on cargo bikes.

      Back to the topic of Mount Royal, parking is obviously necessary. The question is how much. 750 spots? 1000? 2000? You can’t ignore the environmental impact of having 60,000 square metres of asphalt in a public park. Of course accessibility is important, which is why there needs to be a focus on improving bus service to the mountain. Personally, I’d also support maintaining the current amount of parking as long as the asphalt is replaced by permeable paving and more trees. You’d still have a huge chunk of the park given over exclusively to car storage, but at least the ecological impact would be mitigated.

      As it stands, reducing parking by 40 percent over four years isn’t exactly radical. There will still be a huge 450-spot parking lot on the top of the mountain. Anyone who wants to drive up the mountain with a barbecue, folding tables and their entire extended family will still be able to do, but it may require a little bit more patience on their part. At least when they get there they’ll have more space to picnic.

    • Kevin 01:06 on 2022-12-14 Permalink

      I’m thinking of my own permanent injuries, and those of people I know, who don’t qualify as disabled but who are certainly incapable of certain tasks.

      It’s not a question of the flesh being weak, it’s that the flesh and bones are broken.

    • Joey 13:37 on 2022-12-14 Permalink

      LOL to Chris’s notion that trips to the mountain should be like “distant vacations.”

      Seriously, though, is there really a meaningful ‘heat island’ effect because of parking on the mountain? Obviolusly the parking lots will be hotter than the rest of it, but so what? Are people hanging out on the road between the chalet and the Smith House?

    • jeather 13:44 on 2022-12-14 Permalink

      It’s a good thing that electric wheelchairs are easily and inexpensively available to everyone who could use one (not just require one, but would be helped by one) so people with mobility issues can still schlep their stuff.

      I don’t have the knowledge to say what level of parking, or of access, is best — will there be a dropoff area? Could there be weekend shuttles THAT ARE FREE (because, as always, once you have more than 2 people it’s almost always cheaper to drive than to pay public transit if you don’t have a monthly pass).

  • Kate 11:01 on 2022-12-12 Permalink | Reply  

    We have a winner in the “having your cake” sweepstakes: Quebec wants to be able to say it’s preserving the environment (and get the PR boost and kudos for doing so) while hanging onto the right to allow development in areas with endangered species.

    • steph 11:40 on 2022-12-12 Permalink

      This is the hypocrisy that people protesting COP15 are highlighting.

    • Tee Owe 13:03 on 2022-12-12 Permalink

      Agree with Steph, Quebec are not alone in this hypocrisy – blah blah and flying in to do it just makes more CO2

  • Kate 10:25 on 2022-12-12 Permalink | Reply  

    A special bus route calling at a list of east‑end hospitals and healthcare facilities has been added to reduce traffic in the tunnel.

    La Presse has an editorial Monday asking why Quebec’s transit commissions have to go begging for funds while the government showers bonus cheques on many people who don’t need them.

    Updated to add this very good piece by Florence Sara G. Ferraris in Le Devoir, analyzing the uneven distribution of public transit on the island of Montreal.

    • Orr 21:52 on 2022-12-12 Permalink

      I am using my “bonus cheque” for rem tickets to the west island and deux-montagnes.
      The train frequency (every five minutes) is a real game changer.

  • Kate 10:13 on 2022-12-12 Permalink | Reply  

    Autoroute 30 was extended ten years ago with great hopes it would relieve traffic congestion on the island of Montreal. It hasn’t worked.

    • Tim S. 10:40 on 2022-12-12 Permalink

      The other day I noticed a truck full of logs on the Decarie at 5:15PM on a workday. Wherever those logs were going to or from, it wasn’t downtown Montreal.

    • Ephraim 11:13 on 2022-12-12 Permalink

      If you want to make people take the 30 then incentivise it…. but instead it’s disincentivised by having a pay toll for the bridge and it only works if you are on the 20, not the 40. We need to start charging trucks that go into *and* out of the city, specifically going through the island rather than around. (And standardizing the transponder would be nice. I mean, both bridges that are pay use different transponders, which is different than the Ontario transponder for pay routes and still different from the American transponder)

      Does anyone know how many trucks to 40 to 640 to 15 to 50 to get to Gatineau/Ottawa? Or is that just too many highway changes? It’s about 10km shorter.

    • Blork 12:04 on 2022-12-12 Permalink

      It’s also disincentivized by not being obvious. AFAIK there are no signs that indicate GO THIS WAY TO AVOID CONGESTION or TAKE 30 TO BYPASS MONTREAL. No, you pretty much need a priori knowledge that the convoluted turns and exits for highway 30 that you come upon as you approach Montreal from the west is a bypass. Coming from the east, it’s less convoluted (at first) but the only indications I know of say simply “30 OUEST Vaudreuil-Dorion” which means nothing to anyone not from here. Nothing to indicate that it’s a bypass of the island or that it re-connects with the Trans-Canada at the other end.

      You could argue that career truckers would have done their research, and that’s a good argument. But not all truckers are career truckers and this could be a new or rarely used route for many of them. The easiest thing for them is to get on the Trans-Canada and stay on it until they get to their destination. They might have heard that highway 30 bypasses the island, but there’s a fee and if you GPS it, you see that it adds distance. So unless you’ve been stuck in that parking lot AKA “the 40” a few times, you probably wouldn’t think to use the 30. (Pay more to go farther? No!)

      But this is typical of road signage in Quebec, which is notorious for its lack of visibility and useful information.

    • DeWolf 12:26 on 2022-12-12 Permalink

      I wonder if dynamic pricing could work in these situations. Put a toll on every single bridge and have it vary depending on congestion and the time of day.

    • steph 12:29 on 2022-12-12 Permalink

      I figure at this point 50% of drivers blindly using GPS/googleMaps. Professionals 100% use these systems all the time. Time and milage are the ruling incentives. They all calculate using traffic patterns. If “going through the city” is shorter and cheaper, that’s the route they take.

      My beef with the 30 is how stretches of it have no lighting, and night visibility is imortant to me. I’ll take the extra miles and minutes for a properly lit road.

    • Faiz 13:27 on 2022-12-12 Permalink

      I live in Brossard and go to Toronto regularly. I also have an Ev and get a free pass for the toll.

      I always check to see if A30 is faster. And if there is any congestion in the city I take A30. But if it’s smooth Decarie and the 40 tend to be faster.

      My parents take it even if you have to pay $3 because it’s straightforward and reliable.

      My company also does plenty of deliveries from Boucherville to points west. Anywhere from vaudreuil to dozens of places in Ontario. Absolutely none of our trucks use the 30. They all use Champlain > Decarie >40.

      It’s just not built into our contracts, but maybe that might change.

    • Ephraim 13:36 on 2022-12-12 Permalink

      They could also change the designations. Make the 30 part of the TransCanada at that point, renumber it to 20/30 (as we have the 10/15 already). Renumber the 20 from St-Bruno junction to the 40 as the 420 (620, 820 or 920 also available) and therefore normalise the 20/30 as the route around Montreal. Add signs that say Ottawa/Toronto/Kingston (and the pre-requisite sign to Sorel, because for some unknown reason all roads in Quebec lead to Sorel) and mark the new 420 as “Montreal/Laval” with no hint that you could go through the city in that direction.

      Incidentally, Quebec HOPES that A35 will be finished by the end of 2023… if finished, it will be celebrating it’s 57th year of construction

      On the other side of things, they should look into merging the A50 with the 148 over to the 303 and then to the 17/417 and designate that also as TransCanada so you can bypass Ottawa to North Bay/Sudbury. You might even be able to get the Federal government to kick in to make the A50 to the 148 without going into town and create a route west that completely skips most of Montreal (just goes through Laval) and Toronto entirely without having to go as far north as Tremblant and the Reserve, which of course isn’t well serve by electric charging.

    • Spi 14:16 on 2022-12-12 Permalink

      All the people that are saying “just avoid the island”, have any of you looked at a map of the road network in say the last 40 years? In the infinite wisdom of the MTQ planners, all the crossings of the fleuve saint-laurent require going on to the island of montreal. There are entire administrative and economic regions (Laurentides and Lanaudiere) that can’t be accessed from the trans canada highway but by passing through the island, unless you think a 200-300km detour through trois-rivière is a viable alternative.

      A lot of freight shipping business also relies on coshipping, meaning that you fill your truck as much as possible going one direction even if it requires multiples stops along the way. So a truck could have 90% of it’s cargo destined for locations off the island/else where in the province or country but because of that 1 stop he has to make on the island or on the other side of the river the driver has no choice.

      Until a viable alternative to crossing the river is constructed east of the island (somewhere in the Repentigny/verchere area), it won’t get significantly better.

    • Ephraim 15:50 on 2022-12-12 Permalink

      @Spi – It’s actually faster to go 20 to 30 to 20 than it is to go via the 20 alone because of traffic on the island. There is also the stupid section in Dorion where a national highway because a damn street. (Why did they not take the land next to the railroad and build the highway there, no one likely knows). The thing is the 20 t0 30 to 20 is about 10 km longer and has a toll $1.50 per axle for cars and $2.25 per axle for trucks. But it’s shorter, time wise, because you don’t have to deal with the traffic in the city. But it’s also not clearly marked or suggested or as we have said incentivised. (Class 6 and 7 trucks are $80 per axle… think Coca-Cola delivery truck, extremely heavy, but also school buses and some delivery trucks.)

    • Spi 16:42 on 2022-12-12 Permalink

      @Ephraim, sure but people are talking about avoiding the island as if everything north of the saint-laurent doesn’t exist. We’re just going to pretend the million + people that live in Laval, Laurentides and Lanaudiere don’t exist? There are journeys that can avoid the island and many that can’t because some geniuses decided to concentre all the river crossings on it.

    • Ephraim 19:07 on 2022-12-12 Permalink

      @Spi – Yes 🙂 If you have to take a bridge or a tunnel to get there, from here, it’s not Montreal 🙂

    • Kate 19:53 on 2022-12-12 Permalink

      It’s not so much geniuses, Spi. There was simply more motivation to build bridges across from Montreal island because that’s where most of the population lived for a very long time. Putting a bridge across from Repentigny would be very expensive.

    • steph 09:31 on 2022-12-13 Permalink

      > bridge across from Repentigny would be very expensive

      more expensive than the two bridges they had to build at Beauharnois? (one over the river, the other over the canal/power station.) The west was already served with a link over the river (201 & 132). As mentioned, the next crossing eastwards is Trois-Riviere, and that’s quite a detour.

    • Kate 13:08 on 2022-12-13 Permalink

      Yes, more expensive – it would have to span a wider section of water, yet be high enough to allow oceangoing ships into the working port.

    • bumper carz 13:34 on 2022-12-13 Permalink

      It was built only 10 years ago, and yet none of its bridges have any pedestrian or cycling infrastructure.

      This is what happens when the Ministère des Transports is staffed by used-car salesmen.

  • Kate 10:07 on 2022-12-12 Permalink | Reply  

    In the category of news that isn’t surprising, the Roman Catholic ombudsman has found that officials in the archdiocese have meddled in her investigations of abuse, especially older files she was recently permitted to examine.

    • jeather 10:29 on 2022-12-12 Permalink

      The ombudsman was “flabbergasted” that the church tried to cover things up? Had she just appeared on earth and never heard any of the story before she was appointed?

    • Kate 11:50 on 2022-12-12 Permalink

      I know. That’s the only surprise.

    • jeather 12:12 on 2022-12-12 Permalink

      Actually, that she is trying to do her best despite everything up to bar complaints is also a (pleasant) surprise.

    • GC 17:19 on 2022-12-12 Permalink

      This is one case where the swamp really does need to be drained. There are far too many people–well, men–still around who may not have been actually committing sexual abuse but got really good at looking the other way over the years. Relocating the priest who did the leaks is just a sign they haven’t learned from past mistakes.

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