Updates from May, 2023 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 22:25 on 2023-05-01 Permalink | Reply  

    The May Day anticapitalist march was quickly shut down by police on Monday evening.

    • MarcG 09:19 on 2023-05-02 Permalink

      A surprisingly large march made up mostly of unions and promoted by QS, but also containing a small antifa group and other parties, passed in front of my place in the early evening yesterday.

  • Kate 19:09 on 2023-05-01 Permalink | Reply  

    TVA says some people feel that a bike path along Christophe‑Colomb may isolate their neighbourhood in Ahuntsic.

    • mare 22:04 on 2023-05-01 Permalink

      Those buildings are indeed a bit perched in between Christophe-Coulomb and College Grasset, I guess the land was cheap. ‘It takes 20 minutes to get from Cremazie to here during rush hour’ according to people in that article. However, according to Google maps, it takes 3 minutes to take the back entrance, which doesn’t have traffic lights and left turns. I bet that’s the fastest access at any time. But it’s true, that street has been sort-of turned into a SPVM parking lot, so you have to make a slight detour.

    • Jonathan 07:45 on 2023-05-02 Permalink

      What exactly is the issue? It’s not clear how they think it will take 20-25 minutes to access their street. From where? They will be stuck at the left turn signal for 25 minutes? I find it really implausible.

      Xstophe Colomb is 6 lanes wide in front of their homes.

    • Blork 10:44 on 2023-05-02 Permalink

      Jonathan, it’s six lanes wide but apparently two were removed last year (why? bus lane maybe?), and the plan is to remove two more for bike paths, so that brings it down to one lane in each direction. That’s where they expect the problems to arise. After all, Christophe-Colombe is the main artery into that neighbourhood, so cutting it down to one lane in each direction will definitely cause backups, and that will also spill onto the 40.

      I’m not sure why the city needs to do this, given there is ALREADY a nice bike path along Christophe-Colombe that is isolated from the car and pedestrian traffic. What’s the point?

    • CE 10:56 on 2023-05-02 Permalink

      Have you ever rode that bike path? It swerves off the street at each block making you have to go up and down and in and out quite a few times. It’s not very fun to ride on and not efficient. Also, it’s a narrow bi-directional path which won’t match up with the new section that’s going to be built to the south. Bi-directional paths are a relic from a previous time in bike infrastructure planning and are rightfully being phased out, especially on paths that are expected to be major cycling arteries (such as Christophe-Colomb).

    • DeWolf 11:10 on 2023-05-02 Permalink

      Christophe-Colomb is still a six lane road above Crémazie. I have no idea what these people are talking about when they say a lane was already taken away. You can see this Street View capture from August 2022 – things haven’t changed since then:


      Maybe they’re talking about the VAS in summer 2020? But that was three years ago and it hardly affected traffic because the city was still very quiet.

      The plan for uni-directional bike lanes will remove one car lane from either side, which still leaves two lanes. CC below Villeray will indeed only have one lane of vehicular traffic in each direction, but I don’t really see how that concerns the people in this Ahuntsic complex.

    • Nicholas 11:45 on 2023-05-02 Permalink

      These buildings are a 15-minute walk to the metro (slightly longer to avoid the somewhat unpleasant walk next to the Met), and both EW and NS buses within the block. There are a four full grocery stores in walking distance, among other stores. There are parks, doctors’ clinics and restaurants. The bridges to Laval are at Lajeunesse and Papineau, and the area is relatively low density other than these buildings. They are the traffic! (Plus people using CC as a cut through.) Removing lanes will just cut the traffic, as people will drive elsewhere (and we can cut lanes there too) and some will switch to other modes, some even to bikes once this is done. This is all fine. In two years the traffic will be no worse than today, possibly better, but we won’t see anything from Quebecor about how these people were wrong; instead we’ll see the exact same piece about another street. If you don’t want traffic ever even at rush hour, there are lots of homes being built well-off-island. There is traffic in cities, sorry not sorry.

    • bumper carz 12:43 on 2023-05-02 Permalink

      I think what they are worried about is that there won’t be a turning lane once the bike lane is installed beside the traffic lanes and parking lanes. They have asked the city to ensure that there be no parking for 250 m before and after their street to allow for turning cars, which seems reasonable.

      But because the city is taking time getting back to them, they are experiencing *traffic headaches and gridlock flashbacks*.

      Patience is a virtue.

    • Jonathan 14:58 on 2023-05-03 Permalink

      I think what they are referring to as their traffic headache was from a recent repaving of their street. Poor them, they got completely new blacktop.

      There is still six lanes to play with.

  • Kate 17:47 on 2023-05-01 Permalink | Reply  

    The mayors of towns off the east end of Montreal island, plus Montreal East itself, are championing a new proposal for the REM de l’Est, one branch running up through eastern Laval to Terrebonne and Mascouche, the other through the eastern tip of Montreal island then across to Repentigny. And they want it soon.

    • Nicholas 18:08 on 2023-05-01 Permalink

      $670 million for the Train de l’Est to open in 2014, but our Transportation Experts (politicians) have destroyed the direct one-seat ride to downtown, so now we’d build two new lines that will…be a two-seat ride?

    • Kate 18:53 on 2023-05-01 Permalink

      You mean the Mascouche line? I never heard that it had many passengers, and of course like all the Exo trains it mainly served a 9‑to‑5 commuter ridership.

    • dhomas 21:49 on 2023-05-01 Permalink

      My brother-in-law bought a house in proximity of the Rivière-des-Prairies train station, before the line was inaugurated, around 2013 if memory serves. One of the big selling points of this newly built community was the quick access to downtown via train. It used to take him less than 40 minutes in a straight shot to Central station, which happens to be pretty much exactly where his offices are. It was way faster than taking the car. The only complaint he had was frequency. If he missed his train, he’d have to wait a long while for the next one. IMO, the fix for the low ridership was to increase service. Not the REM.

      They killed the service during the pandemic, so no one really complained. But when my BIL needs to go to the office now (which is admittedly much less frequently than before 2020), he takes his car. I’m pretty sure he’s lost as a transit user forever, just as most other previous users of the Mascouche line. Even after the REM is built, nobody is going to want to switch modes. In any case, the low ridership of the Mascouche line will not get any better with the REM.

    • DeWolf 11:24 on 2023-05-02 Permalink

      One advantage of having a light metro instead of commuter rail is that it serves many different trip types. The Mascouche line was built for downtown commuters, and it is structurally unable to run frequently, because it doesn’t have exclusive use of its tracks and it’s mostly diesel-powered. It’s not useful for anyone who isn’t commuting downtown on a 9-5 schedule. On the other had, having a light metro like the REM or the Vancouver SkyTrain means it will be easier for people to go from Terrebonne to the Galeries d’Anjou without a car, or to any number of intermediate points.

      Post-pandemic, the traditional suburban commuter is all but dead, so focusing on commuter rail that serves this type of person to the exclusion of everyone else isn’t a viable way forward.

      Also, it would be great if media stopped calling this the REM de l’Est, because it isn’t the REM now that the CDPQ has withdrawn its involvement.

    • Nicholas 12:13 on 2023-05-02 Permalink

      Yes, Kate, I meant the Mascouche line (sorry, I’m old!). It was a folly to build then, clear vote buying (that doesn’t appear to have changed a single riding). It’s possible to make that line work, but there’s no interest in making the commuter rail lines work from the politicians down to the planners at ARTM and Exo.

      But honestly, the buses do seem to do a decent job. From Honoré-Beaugrand you can get to St Jean Baptiste in 14 minutes during rush hour, 16 minutes otherwise. Pointe de l’île is half an hour, similar to Repentigny. Mascouche and Terrebonne are a bit longer. But this project won’t create direct trips to downtown, so you have to transfer anyway and it won’t be much faster.

      When you choose to live 30 or 40 km from downtown, it may take an hour to get there, and you may have to transfer or stop a few times to pick up more people. You can expect a non-stop, one-seat ride from every suburb on a rail vehicle, especially when it’s building brand new infrastructure. And you definitely can’t expect it in a sprawly suburb. Maybe if there was a dense town centre you could make this work, but if we can’t get the commuter trains running to Ste Hyacinthe or St Jean, this isn’t happening.

  • Kate 10:15 on 2023-05-01 Permalink | Reply  

    The coronation of Charles III will be studiously ignored in Quebec although Justin Trudeau will be attending and it will be televised on CBC and Radio‑Canada from 5 am 4 am Saturday.

    • Daisy 13:31 on 2023-05-01 Permalink

      Coverage starts at 4 a.m. I believe. I will be watching. Not even sure if I’m a monarchist, but it’s a historic event and I wasn’t born for the last coronation.

    • Kate 13:42 on 2023-05-01 Permalink

      I know what you mean, Daisy.

      And given the longevity of that family, who knows when the next one will be – or even if there will ever be another? Maybe, between them, Andrew and Harry will succeed in taking it down.

      And you’re right. CBC starts the show at 4 am, the actual ceremony beginning at 11 am GMT (7 am our time) but there will be a procession and other things before it gets started.

    • Blork 14:14 on 2023-05-01 Permalink

      I’ll wait for the Facebook memes.

  • Kate 08:57 on 2023-05-01 Permalink | Reply  

    A Swiss firm says the STM’s Opus card is old technology and is suggesting it can provide an app that uses GPS to keep track of one’s trip and charge for it at the end.

    • CE 09:02 on 2023-05-01 Permalink

      Wasn’t the Opus old technology when it was released?

    • Kate 09:11 on 2023-05-01 Permalink

      Yes, but I think it wasn’t the worst idea to use well-tested technology for something like that.

    • Blork 09:38 on 2023-05-01 Permalink

      No disagreement that Opus is obsolete, and it was problematic from the beginning because it spanned three networks yet only provided four “buckets” within the system for storing tickets. That worked well for typical use cases but there were many atypical use cases where it bogged down.

      But this GPS-based system also seems fraught with issues. It feels like it’s taking something that should be relatively simple and making it more complicated. Relying on GPS just seems very iffy on a few levels, including privacy. And then there’s this gem:

      “En cas de panne de métro, il pourrait également y avoir un tarif préférentiel avec Uber, ce serait aussi intégré.”

      Right. As if Uber is going to agree to charge less when there’s a Metro outage. If anything they’ll charge more because they are merciless sharks when it comes to pricing.

      All that said, I suppose we should hear them out, especially if they’re just suggesting they be an option as opposed to TAKING OVER from Opus.

    • Ian 09:57 on 2023-05-01 Permalink

      Location spoofing on a mobile device is really, really easy.

    • Nicholas 10:36 on 2023-05-01 Permalink

      Blork is correct about OPUS’s original sin. Back in the day you could buy single tickets or strips of six or weeklies or monthlies, so when they created OPUS they copied that model. They should have gone to a purse system, where you load on money and it deducts the correct fare. Then it would work anywhere in the province without needing to buy separate tickets, or maxing out the buckets on the card. Then you could do fare capping, so when heading out for the evening you didn’t have to decide on a single ticket vs an evening pass,and the same for multiple zones, 24/72 hour passes and even weeklies. The technology existed at the time, on the Octopus and Oyster cards they copied (not fare capping yet, but it was easy to add on), and now credit and debit card payments easily fit into this model as well: even the incompetent NYC MTA has this now! But now if I want to buy an AB ticket and an ABC ticket I need two separate OPUS cards because of our bespoke system grafted onto our paper ticket model. Not sure if these people are the right ones to fix it, but that should be the next generation.

    • LJ 10:40 on 2023-05-01 Permalink

      Aside from privacy issues, not everyone has a mobile phone. So using this app exclusively would exclude a lot of people.

    • dhomas 10:53 on 2023-05-01 Permalink

      The GPS system is nuts for all the reasons mentioned above: not everyone has a GPS-enabled device; GPS spoofing is trivial (on Android, anyway); privacy; etc.

      But more than that, it’s adding complexity where you don’t need it. Just make the new system require you to tap in (like it already does) AND tap out, so it knows what type of fare to debit from the card. No need for GPS. No need for a mobile device, either, as this can be easily implemented on a dedicated card (like Opus) or disposable card.

    • Chris 10:55 on 2023-05-01 Permalink

      Also, installing such an “app” on your phone requires an account with either Apple or Google. Imagine: you can’t use public transit in your city without agreeing to dubious terms with a foreign megacorp.

    • Meezly 11:04 on 2023-05-01 Permalink

      In Vancouver, you can use your credit or interac card to tap and pay as you go. Simple and convenient, esp. for tourists!

    • Blork 11:59 on 2023-05-01 Permalink

      Regarding not everyone having a GPS-enabled phone, I think this proposal is not intended to be the ONLY way to use the system, so that’s not really a big issue.

      That said, hoping that MOST people would use a system that relies on an app and GPS is just asking for trouble, and it definitely makes it more difficult for occasional users and out-of-towners (tourists and other visitors).

      The emphasis should be on making it EASY and ENJOYABLE. That’s what will get people using the system, and that’s more important that all your whiz-bang connectivities and all your metrics and whatnot.

      This brings to mind one night in the mid-90s when I was trying to take the Metro in Vienna. I had just arrived by boat, it was evening, and the system was entirely self-serve. There were no people around to help, just a wall of ticket vending machines with instructions that were so obtuse and impenetrable that after 10 minutes I just gave up and jumped the turnstile hoping I wouldn’t get caught. (I did not get caught.) It should not be that difficult to get a goddamn Metro ticket!

    • Tee Owe 12:20 on 2023-05-01 Permalink

      @Meezly – same in London – it’s wonderfully easy and totally user/visitor-friendly. Why not copy what works?

    • DeWolf 15:51 on 2023-05-01 Permalink

      We’ll be able to tap our credit/debit cards here, too. That’s what the new card readers in buses and on the new metro turnstiles are for. But as usual, it’s taking forever to roll out the system.

  • Kate 08:53 on 2023-05-01 Permalink | Reply  

    The Public Service Alliance of Canada has reached a tentative agreement with the federal government, but it doesn’t include workers at the Canada Revenue Agency.

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