Updates from February, 2023 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 21:14 on 2023-02-26 Permalink | Reply  

    A pepper spray incident at Atwater station shut down parts of both the green and orange lines Sunday evening, so the stations and tunnels could be aired out. Service resumed around a quarter to eight. It’s the third incident of this kind since the new year.

    Monday, La Presse tells us that two people had an altercation and pepper‑sprayed each other and they have it on video, but there haven’t been any arrests yet.

    • Kate 20:48 on 2023-02-26 Permalink | Reply  

      I think this must be the first time I’ve seen zero news from Nuit Blanche the next day. However, in some sense no news is good news.

      • Vazken 00:23 on 2023-02-27 Permalink

        It was fine and full of people! (felt smaller than other years) That’s my report

      • DeWolf 01:33 on 2023-02-27 Permalink

        It was busy. Even if it was smaller than before the pandemic (was it?) it was impossible to do more than a fraction of the events, and a lot of the stuff I hoped to visit had such big lineups I skipped out. Still fun though! With ~200 activities there’s always something to do.

      • Kate 11:11 on 2023-02-27 Permalink

        It was probably also colder than usual.

      • Daniel 15:55 on 2023-02-27 Permalink

        The free outdoor DJ performance right in the middle of Place-Des-Arts is something I’d love to see happen on more weekends during the winter.

    • Kate 20:44 on 2023-02-26 Permalink | Reply  

      The Canadiens honoured Gazette reporter Pat Hickey Saturday as he covered his last home game before a retirement he chose to take rather than see a younger colleague pushed out by Postmedia.

      La Presse also pays him tribute.

      • Kate 11:54 on 2023-02-26 Permalink | Reply  

        A study done by the city predicts as many as 14,000 new residential units could be built around the new blue line metro stations over the next 30 years. Besides residential, the study hopefully mentions supermarkets, clinics, daycares and all the other services needed by a growing population.

        Brief piece from earlier this week about the construction of Anjou station, which begins next year.

        • Ephraim 15:59 on 2023-02-26 Permalink

          So, by the map… right where the Best Buy is now?

      • Kate 11:46 on 2023-02-26 Permalink | Reply  

        La Presse interviewed several women who fled to Montreal from Ukraine, and now they plan to stay.

        • Kate 11:33 on 2023-02-26 Permalink | Reply  

          Michel C. Auger dissects the disagreements over TGF vs TGV* between Quebec and Toronto. Auger makes no secret of his preference.

          I recall a commenter here, can’t recall who, who pointed out exactly what Auger says here against building a TGV:

          Le TGV ne pouvant s’arrêter aux passages à niveau – il y en a des centaines entre Québec et Toronto –, il faudra prévoir autant de ponts d’étagement et de tunnels, avec toutes les autorisations environnementales, municipales et autres.

          Sans oublier les expropriations. Imaginez une voie qui doit rester la plus directe possible entre Montréal et Toronto, à travers des centaines sinon des milliers d’exploitations agricoles. On n’a qu’à penser aux difficultés et délais à réaliser une voie de contournement de 12 km seulement à Lac-Mégantic.

          Auger mentions the years and billions it has taken to build a TGV between San Francisco and Los Angeles. The UK has also run into massive overruns on its HS2 line from London to Birmingham, estimated at £33 billion a decade ago, and now at £100 billion and rising.

          Could better scheduling and giving priority to passenger trains over freight be the less glamorous but more sensible option here? Auger makes a case for it.

          *Train à grande fréquence vs train à grande vitesse

          • bumper carz 11:46 on 2023-02-26 Permalink

            Before freaking out about how much a TGV would cost, you have to compare this cost to the cost of *tens of millions of SUVs and the roads, policing and snow-removal they require.”

          • Thomas 12:10 on 2023-02-26 Permalink

            I mean, these were the original arguments in favour of VIA High Frequency Rail given by the federal government when they announced it in the summer of 2021 — I still remember watching the travelling press conference with various ministers that was held along the proposed line, including a stop at the soon-to-be-resurrected Trois-Rivières train station. Obviously we wouldn’t have chosen HFR if it weren’t the cheaper option, Michel hasn’t really come up with anything new here.

            It’s just that in the meantime, people have realized that given the climate crisis and the importance of travel between Toronto and Montreal to the overall operation of Canada, the line will likely need to be upgraded to high speed rail one day anyway (so as to properly replace air travel and driving on the most important transit link in the country). So some have concluded that we should just build high speed rail now and get it over with.

            In some ways, VIA HFR is like the REM — an imperfect solution that is perhaps better than the status quo of doing absolutely nothing. In the future, we will almost certainly need high speed rail between Toronto and Montreal, but seeing as our country currently lacks the confidence, foresight and technical prowess of 1970s France, we will most likely end up with high frequency rail as a stopgap. Which, like the REM, is better than nothing I suppose.

          • Kate 12:22 on 2023-02-26 Permalink

            Thomas: As with the HS2 (I don’t know much about the California TGV), I have to ask: is it really worth those billions and billions of dollars to pare an hour or 90 minutes off a train trip between two cities?

            qatzelok: Unfortunately, you have to build an attractive alternative before people will consider giving up their SUVs, and even then, many of them won’t.

          • carswell 13:07 on 2023-02-26 Permalink

            Is giving passenger trains priority over freight trains realistic? Wouldn’t doing so disrupt the just-in-time delivery model that industry requires to operate these days? Perishables, including food, are still shipped by train these days; they can’t spend hours sidelined. Do we really want all that stuff transferred to big trucks?

            The cost of building an HFR and eventually replacing it with a TGV would exceed that of building a TGV now, however expensive the latter. And if routing and expropriation are problematic now, think of how much more so they will be in a few decades as urban sprawl continues.

            Gaining experience building and operating a TGV would prove useful when lines to the US are built and would provide Canadian engineering firms with expertise marketable at home and abroad.

            A TGV wouldn’t just reduce road traffic between the major urban centres along the route btw. Combined with a ban on short-haul flights between the cities served (as is currently the case in parts of Europe), it would eliminate a huge amount of air traffic, a significant cut in greenhouse gas emissions (and unlike road vehicles, aircraft will still be major GHG emitters decades hence). This in turn would help extend the lives of existing airports, which wouldn’t need to be expanded or replaced.

            One thing I find odd about the HFR proposal is that the travel time between Montreal and Toronto would drop from around 5 hours to a bit under 4. In the early ’70s, I used to take the Turbo train between the two cities and the scheduled travel time, often achieved, was a bit under 4 hours. All this money to bring us back to where we where 50 years ago? Really?!

            If you’re going to do it, do it right.

          • DeWolf 13:12 on 2023-02-26 Permalink

            Kate, TGF would shave an hour off the travel time. TGV would cut it in half. Potentially, you could get from Montreal to Toronto in just 2.5 hours. That would kill most of the air travel between the two cities, which would be a huge environmental benefit.

            I’m also not overly familiar with the California HSR debacle, but from what I’ve read, it is suffering from a politically-motivated route, lots of dodgy and corrupt practices in terms of awarding contracts, and the kind of political back-and-forth that has made California such a dysfunctional state (and one of the reasons quality of life there has declined to such an extent it’s losing population – California is actually shrinking). It’s possible the same thing could happen here, but I doubt it. The federal government did manage to get the new Champlain bridge built on time and on budget.

            To put the cost into perspective, Ontario spends $13 billion every year just to keep its highways from falling apart (along with some incremental improvements). So in 10 years it will have spent $130 billion essentially to maintain the status quo. That would be more than enough for a TGV, which would lessen the burden on those highways by quite a bit and prevent the need to keep expanding them.

          • Chris 15:11 on 2023-02-26 Permalink

            >Unfortunately, you have to build an attractive alternative before people will consider giving up their SUVs

            Not so. You could tax the automobile to high heaven (carbon tax, parking fees, congestion tax, sales tax, or whatever combo). This would induce demand for other forms of transportation. It could then become profitable for private enterprise to provide bus routes, train routes, etc.

            Not that it will happen.

          • Ephraim 16:13 on 2023-02-26 Permalink

            Assuming we do the SMART way and build a completely new line, banked for up to 350km but operating at about 300km/h. Possibly using equipment designed by Siemens or Alstom with Bombardier, and a distance of 540km with NO stops in between, That would make it a 2 hour trip, end-to-end. Which will kill the need for even planes. Because going to the airport (30 minutes) and waiting for the plane (30 minutes) and going from the airport (30 minutes). Means it’s essentially the same amount of time, but end-to-end downtown. Almost to the point of where some people can live in one and work in the other.

            The federal proposal was with a stop in Ottawa and Peterborough. That would make the total trip so long as to negate it’s need.

          • Anton 05:22 on 2023-02-27 Permalink

            Well it would be nice to do …something. Get dedicated infra in place with an upgrade path for higher speeds, up to 250~300. Sweden would be a role model, not California or China. The main thing is to keep the infra public, to have a long term plan, but to start now.

          • jeather 15:13 on 2023-02-27 Permalink

            I used to have to go to Quebec for day trips and it pissed me off every time that the train schedule was not well set up for a single day work commute. (I took the bus, which then left hourly.) Toronto — well if you had a 2.5h ride it would work if it’s set up for single day work commuters. But you can’t do any of that without some passenger priority over freight.

          • carswell 15:38 on 2023-02-27 Permalink

            Last summer, I looked into the train schedules to travel from Montreal to Quebec City via Via Rail and onto La Malbaie via the Train de Charlevoix and back. The earliest train from Montreal arrived in Quebec 45 minutes after the Train de Charlevoix left and the last train to Montreal left an hour or so before the TdeC arrived. So it would have entailed an overnight stay in each direction.

        • Kate 10:50 on 2023-02-26 Permalink | Reply  

          The future of the Lachine Hospital is under debate: should it be used more like a big clinic, or should it remain a full community hospital?

          • JP 11:08 on 2023-02-26 Permalink

            Just taking more away at a time when things are already falling apart…not everyone can or wants to go downtown.

          • Kate 11:35 on 2023-02-26 Permalink

            I would’ve thought the Lachine hospital has a place, given the notorious problems at the Lakeshore hospital. But I don’t live in that part of town.

          • carswell 13:13 on 2023-02-26 Permalink

            If emergency services are shut down at the Lachine Hospital, how many more people will die because of the increased travel time from that area to downtown emergency rooms? Even a few minutes can make a huge difference in the survival rates of heart attack and stroke victims.

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