Updates from February, 2023 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 23:05 on 2023-02-07 Permalink | Reply  

    An experimental robot dog was sent to inspect Bonaventure metro station after closing time, taking photos and recording notes about things needing human attention for cleaning and repair. The pilot project extended over several months in 2022 but the STM may be able to expand on this technology to do track inspections and the like, eventually.

    Update: Typically, the Gazette tries to turn this into a scare story.

    • Kate 16:13 on 2023-02-07 Permalink | Reply  

      Interesting bit by a guy who walked the longest path through the underground city.

      • Blork 17:02 on 2023-02-07 Permalink

        Interesting to see this guy’s perspective. Back in the mid-2000s (I.e., 2003-2006 or so) I used to do that walk three or four times a week during the cold months. At the time I worked in an office connected to the Eaton Centre, and for exercise I would take a daily brisk walk as follows:

        Go to the bottom of the Eaton Centre and head south to PVM, then through to the QE and Place Bonaventure. Turn east and go through the tunnels to Square Victoria, World Trade Center, and the Palais des Congrès. Hang a left and go through to Complex Guy-Favreau and then Complexe Desjardins and Place Des Arts. Then Metro one stop back to McGill and return to the office.

        At a brisk pace I could pull that off in about 45-50 minutes, and I didn’t even have to put on a jacket despite the howling blizzards happening outdoors. I got to know that terrain like the back of my hand, and would often mix it up a bit by finding alternative side routes and whatnot.

        I’m surprised I didn’t write about it on my blog, but I see no mention of it after a quick search.

      • Kate 17:37 on 2023-02-07 Permalink

        I tried it a couple of years ago but it was a Sunday, and I got stuck somewhere at the bottom of the U where some passage that would’ve been open during the week was locked up. That might not be the case these days.

      • Nicholas 17:56 on 2023-02-07 Permalink

        There’s an irreverent 2000 film called Waydowntown about some office workers who bet who can spend the longest without going outside, making use of all the skyways. I gather there are more residential buildings connected to the network in Calgary than Montreal, but surely people could try that here.

      • mare 19:26 on 2023-02-07 Permalink

        I’d say the path from the bus station to Avenue Argyle, a tunnel west from station Lucien-d’Allier is longer than his ‘longest route’.

      • Kate 19:45 on 2023-02-07 Permalink

        Can you walk that whole distance underground, mare?

      • mare 01:34 on 2023-02-08 Permalink

        @Kate Darn! I had plotted a whole route, starting at the UQAM science campus. But then, in another app, I had a brain freeze and wrote Berri-UQAM and then looked that up on the RESO map and made it more precise by writing bus station. No, there is no underground connection between Berri-UQAM and Place des Arts or the UQAM Science Campus apart from sewers, cable ducts and the metro tunnels.

      • Marc R 02:03 on 2023-02-08 Permalink

        my primary question about the 2023 state of the underground city is how would the 2011 mook life folks (so conscientously linked on the recent article about the st. paddy’s day parade) now interface with that space?

        mook erasure is gentirification and sterilization of the IMO vital & gritty montreal downtown scene, underground included; if our downtown is configured for office workers and is mook-averse (or mook-hostile) how exactly is it different from Toronto’s PATH?

      • shawn 10:36 on 2023-02-08 Permalink

        I wonder, with all the construction downtown, so much of it residential, will it be expanding the underground system very much? The new National Bank HQ will be connected, their site states that, so that’s something.

      • JS 10:41 on 2023-02-08 Permalink

        Why is the “underground city” spoken of as something other than a bunch of interconnected identical shopping malls?

      • Kate 10:56 on 2023-02-08 Permalink

        It’s just a convention, JS. What do you want me to call it? I know officially it’s RÉSO but that feels kind of phony to me.

        Anyway it isn’t only malls.

      • shawn 12:32 on 2023-02-08 Permalink

        Yes, the Underground City lol. I may have shared this before, but a couple of summers ago I was walking up Parc Avenue near Parc Jeanne Mance on an absolutely beautiful day and these very earnest young men got out of a car and asked me where the underground city is, like they were looking for Oz. I told them where to find it but suggested on a beautiful day like this there were better things for them to do, perhaps.

      • Blork 12:47 on 2023-02-08 Permalink

        I worked on the corner of McGill-College and de Maisonneuve for seven years early in this century, and I spent a lot of time around Place Montreal Trust (goofing off, hanging out in the bookstore on my lunch break, going for afternoon walks, etc.). During the summer I frequently saw people gathering for guided tours of the underground city. They were typically “bus tour” tourists, so I imagine they found it interesting enough in their own way, as it seems like all they really wanted was to be led around and spoken to.

        Side note, taking in the afternoon sun in Dominion Square one day I saw a tour guide leading a bus tour through the square, stopping here and there an pointing to things and explaining this and that. There was a busker near one of the monuments strumming this guitar and the tour guide basically explained to them what a busker is (!) and then encouraged them all to give him a donation. So there was this lineup of grannies from Wichita or Kalamazoo or whatever all systematically dropping quarters into his bucket like good little minions. Not that the busker minded, but it was funny to see.

      • Blork 13:03 on 2023-02-08 Permalink

        Also: while I find it amusing that some tourists think the underground city is some magical alternative universe or whatever, I am equally bored with the rote response of so many locals to dismiss it as just malls. As Kate says above, it’s a lot more than malls, and is a very useful web of underground connections that can be invaluable in a place with a climate like ours.

        Back in my younger years when I had a lot more time on my hands I used to spend hours exploring the various connections between buildings. Getting from some random office building on Sherbrooke over to the Metro at Peel without going outdoors? Fun!

        Sometimes I’d feel like I was in a forbidden zone even though I never did anything more than go through open doors. I often had the sense that around the next corner there’d be a security guard who would boot me out. But after passing through enough times I’d start to feel like an insider who had the secret password.

        And I was endlessly fascinated by all the tiny businesses that existed down there. It was like a strange world of underground people if you applied your imagination. Tiny little depanneurs no bigger than a closet, or wee sandwich shops smaller than your average bathroom. And I’m not talking about the ones in the main tunnels like between the Eaton Centre and PVM; I mean tiny shops in the barely-known tunnels between office towers on Sherbrooke or Peel, etc. Places that only serve the people who work in the building and arrive by Metro, or who have a need to go from one building to another in the middle of the day without going outside.

        I don’t know if it’s still like that, but that’s how it was 20-30 years ago.

      • MarcG 16:38 on 2023-02-08 Permalink

        When I was a teenage arcade rat in the early/mid 90s my friends and I would use the underground to get from place to place, especially in the winter or crummy weather. I remember there was a Cinnabon or St-Cinnamon in one of the little commercial slots that stunk up a whole tunnel (who approves these things?), and something called Le Passage or similar where you could avoid going outside by slinking down an escaltor and passing through some commercial area to get across to the next building. This city used to be lousy with arcades, we had a blast. Does anyone remember when the McDonald’s opened at Mackay and Ste-Cath? I remember when I first saw that I thought “This is the beginning of the end of grimy Montreal”.

      • Kate 17:12 on 2023-02-08 Permalink

        MarcG: I remember the cinnamon place and Le Passage, which I think led from Bonaventure but I don’t remember where to. The train station, maybe?

        I used to work upstairs in that building at Mackay, but it was a bank branch in those days.

      • Ian Rogers 20:00 on 2023-02-09 Permalink

        Yeah I know that Passage well, it’s got the best coffee shop in the area. Also at the north end of the tunnel there are a bunch of decent shoe stores.

        Basically it’s Bonaventure > Gare Centrale > PVM > the Eaton Centre food court heading north. If you go south instead you end up in the RBC lobby at Rene-Levesque.

        If you are N of that long east-west link you need to go back S to go fully one-end-to-the-other but along the southern strip it goes all the way from Lucien-L’Allier to Palais de Congrès. There are a couple of spots that are tricky like the jog past the hotels at Square Victoria but it is very much doable – it’s actually substantially faster to walk on the surface if the weather is nice, though, and if you are willing to “cheat” and take the green line metro you can zip back and forth with ease even from Peel to P-des-A, or hop onto the orange line to connect to the smaller underground network at Berri-UQAM, so you can even go to the government offices without going outside & still have time to catch lunch at a Food Court or if you’re feeling fancy one of the many restaurants that also have street-front footprint.

        I used to fantasize about living in a condo at Cours Mont-Royal and getting a job somewhere in the connected underground so I would no longer have to actually go outside but so far it’s just a dream to throw away my winter coat, especially since I no longer work in an office, let alone downtown.

      • GC 00:46 on 2023-02-10 Permalink

        Ian, there were a few years that I lived in a building on top of Sherbrooke metro and worked in one on top of Peel. So, I didn’t actually have to go outside to commute. And there were tons of places to eat out for lunch. You can even buy groceries at Place Dupuis or Alexis Nihon while still saying in the underground. I would still bring my winter coat to work, in case the metro went down or something, but there were definitely days that I never put it on. That being said, I still felt the need to at least step outside a bit after twenty-four hours or so.

    • Kate 12:16 on 2023-02-07 Permalink | Reply  

      Claims against the city for pothole damage to vehicles broke a record in 2022. This only concerns vehicles – I wonder how many people have tripped or turned an ankle while crossing a potholed street.

      • Blork 12:24 on 2023-02-07 Permalink

        And bicycles! How many bent rims, bit-tongues, rattled teeth, and full-on wipe-outs caused by potholes?

      • Kate 12:39 on 2023-02-07 Permalink

        Yes, potholes are arguably more hazardous to cyclists than to drivers.

      • Chris 14:23 on 2023-02-07 Permalink

        I guarantee you cyclists hate potholes more than motorists. But indeed it’s one of the few issues where they have common cause.

        Remember to report them to 311. They actually fix them promptly when they know about them, because it becomes a liability concern when they know.

      • dhomas 14:21 on 2023-02-08 Permalink

        I report them using the “Montreal” app. They used to respond very quickly, but I think they got annoyed with the amount of tickets I would raise (not necessarily only about potholes, but also broken street lamps, snow clearing that blocks sewer drains, etc). They mostly now close my tickets without taking any action. It’s quite frustrating!

    • Kate 10:25 on 2023-02-07 Permalink | Reply  

      Throughput at the Port of Montreal is down as the threatened economic slowdown begins to materialize.

      The Journal is also pessimistic about office vacancy rates downtown.

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