Updates from April, 2024 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 18:48 on 2024-04-09 Permalink | Reply  

    Canada Lands has big plans for the Wellington Basin, with 2800 housing units and a beach.

    • Ephraim 11:23 on 2024-04-10 Permalink

      So the only green spot in the area, with a lovely view of what I have renamed “Pont Pauline Marois” (CNR Wellington Bridge). I named it after here because it goes nowhere, doesn’t do much and yet is going to cost us money anyway. (How much did it cost to shut down Gentilly? Supposedly $1.8B and we are already talking about starting it up again)

    • qatzelok 12:06 on 2024-04-10 Permalink

      The proposal’s model features a 40-story tower right next to the beach.
      Do people really want to swim in the shadow of a giant tower?

      Why not distance that tower more from the water and public park?

      Or is that tower there to demonstrate that the real estate mafia cares very little about the quality of the environments that they leave behind? ie. “We will build gigantic towers next to beaches and just try to stop us! We got Grffintown just the way we wanted it to be.”

    • Spi 13:04 on 2024-04-10 Permalink

      @qatzelok the shadow that building would cast is mostly only an issue in the morning as it’s on the eastern side of the basin. Past noon-1pm the beaches would be completely clear of the buildings shadow.

    • su 14:02 on 2024-04-10 Permalink

      That huge building looks like it could create quite a windtunnel on that beach!

    • bob 14:23 on 2024-04-10 Permalink

      The end product will be more sterile than that render. If this is the pitch, I can only imagine the soulless barrens that will waste this opportunity – much like the other development downhill from downtown over the last fifty years – the levelling of Burgundy, the bizarre bedroom suburbs, the ticky tacky high rise condos. How is it that urban planning has gotten worse over the last century, as if not a single lesson has been learned from the vast landscape of failures that surround the livable, human neighbourhoods that were built well over a hundred years ago. It’s like, “hey, let’s model the built environment after those experiments on rats that made them literally murder and eat each other,” “let’s design a building that houses 750 people such that none of them need ever know any of the other 749 residents exist,” “let’s make sure there is no commerce so that people will drive literally across the street to Costco – maybe Walmart will put in a store across the lot from it,” “Let’s put grass on whatever is left over and call it green space, and make sure that there are trees and sidewalks and boulders on any strip of land large enough for sports”

      Shall we start a betting pool on how many of the promised 1000 “affordable” units? One bet on the number they claim, and another on the actual rent of an “affordable” unit.

    • Kate 17:45 on 2024-04-10 Permalink

      I’ve wondered this often, bob, but haven’t formally studied urban planning. It’s clear that Montreal’s successful neighbourhoods have come about piecemeal over time. How do you replicate that kind of organic development? Can you do it deliberately?

      And to respond to your betting pool: a lot will depend on who gets into power over the next couple of years. Nobody else seems to remember it, but there was a point when the city, drunk on neoliberalism, sold off a lot of its properties that could have been used for public housing. That could easily happen again.

    • MarcG 09:15 on 2024-04-12 Permalink

      I wonder what the quality of the water is like, presumably there’s no swimming in the Lachine canal for a reason.

    • carswell 10:44 on 2024-04-12 Permalink

      @MarcG Have read that the problem with the canal water is two-fold: runoff and discharge from industrial operations along the canal and, the bigger concern, overflow from the sewer system. There’s also the issue of all the crap that’s settled on the bottom over the decades, during many of which the canal was a convenient dump.

      The water in the Lachine harbour at the west end of the canal is usually clean enough to swim in (the city’s planning to put a beach there). Maybe the flow of water into and out of the basin is sufficient to dilute any nasty stuff in the canal water? Or maybe the pollution sources are finally being tamed?

    • bob 22:27 on 2024-04-12 Permalink

      @Kate – There is no way to replicate organic development. Organic development is contrary to everything that this clot of developers and spseudo- para- semi- governmental institutions do for a living. Ideally, the city would put in the streets and services, declare some area a park, zone the rest, and make sure that no single developer could get more than, say, ten percent of the whole. The people who manage these things are business school idiots. Not enough money in doing anything well or right.

      Also – what will end up there will be nothing like these renderings. This is pr. It will be like if Griffintown made a colony.

  • Kate 12:07 on 2024-04-09 Permalink | Reply  

    Plaza St-Hubert will be pedestrianized for the first time this summer. This item has a list at the bottom of all the pedestrianized streets and their dates, which vary.

    • carswell 12:45 on 2024-04-09 Permalink

      Great news about the Plaza. Too bad, with all the new trees, it’s short on shade.

      Very little for boroughs not east and south of Mount Royal, however. Nothing other than the occasional weekend street fair in CDN-NDG (the city’s largest borough), St-Laurent, Ahuntsic, Lachine, Sud-ouest, LaSalle and I could go on. Typical of Projet, sorry to say.

    • Kate 13:10 on 2024-04-09 Permalink

      I wonder if it’s that their SDCs aren’t on board.

    • nau 13:35 on 2024-04-09 Permalink

      One imagines that is an important factor. Plus the fact that neither LaSalle nor Saint Laurent have any Projet representatives calls into question how seriously one should take that list as proof that it’s Projet that’s the common element.

    • carswell 14:34 on 2024-04-09 Permalink

      That may be part of the issue, Kate, but the city’s relative neglect of (roughly) non-Plateau/Plateau-adjacent boroughs is an ongoing trend. Look at the bike path network, for example. Not only is it far more built up in P/PA boroughs, that’s also where innovations are introduced (REV, year-round BIXI, hell, even BIXI) before slowly being extended to other hoods. And the Plateau gets a REV but cyclists in CDN-NDG and SL don’t get even a feeble attempt at a safe path across the deadly Décarie autoroute/service road corridor. And even if the city comes through and builds the promised Jean Talon West REV in the next decade, that’s one safe crossing between Villa-Maria and the Metropolitan; someone biking on Côte-St-Luc, Queen Mary or Édouard-Montpetit isn’t going to detour all the way up to Jean Talon and back to get across the death trap. Similarly, the De Maisonneuve-Décarie intersection is an unsafe mess, especially for cyclists, a known fact for decades; betting that if it were in the Plateau, it would have been remedied years ago.

      Speaking as a resident of CDN, my impression is that, having quashed and booted Sue Montgomery and parachuted in an outsider chosen, one suspects, because she’s photogenic, order-following and not a white male as the new borough mayor, CDN-NDG has returned to being a backwater as far as city hall is concerned. About the only positive municipal initiatives we see and hear about in my neck of the woods are city-wide projects like improvements to the (few) bike paths and the pending introduction of composting for apartment blocks.

      For the past few months, I’ve been asking locals — neighbours, friends in NDG, etc. — if they can name the borough mayor. Tellingly, no one has to date. Some didn’t even know she’s a black woman. Obviously, part of that is their apathetic fault but it also says something about the borough administration’s pathetic presence.

      Touché, @nau, though as the ruling party, Projet is responsible for the entire city, not just Projet-controlled boroughs. But instead of nitpicking, how about addressing the actual point of possible Plateau/Plateau-adjacent favouritism at city hall?

    • Kate 15:01 on 2024-04-09 Permalink

      A shoe just dropped over here. Hasn’t rue St‑Paul been pedestrianized now for several summers? But it’s not on the list.

      Another street that has had a pedestrianized moment in the past is Masson, but it’s not listed either. And yet Rosemont’s a Projet borough.

      Not that I’m defending Projet, but it seems to me to pedestrianize a street effectively it has to be both commercial yet narrow enough, and the city doesn’t have suitable streets evenly distributed by borough. It’s why the only part of St‑Denis that gets pedestrianized is south of Sherbrooke. North from there it’s too wide and carries too much traffic, a situation common to many of our commercial streets.

      All that said, I agree that CDN-NDG is suffering neglect. I don’t know what kind of political leverage it would take to break that borough in half, but it really needs to be two entities, with the attention and financing it would get if NDG and Côte‑des‑Neiges were separated. But that isn’t going to happen.

    • Joey 15:55 on 2024-04-09 Permalink

      @carswell after the Terrebonne bike lane fiasco, it will be a long time before Project tries to bring major cycling infrastructure to NDG.

    • carswell 16:05 on 2024-04-09 Permalink

      @Joey Last I heard, the Terrebonne path is finally happening. And there are unspecified plans to upgrade the Édouard-Montpetit path from Côte-St-Cathérine to Côté-des-Neiges (expecting the existing lanes will be moved from between the parked cars and the road to between the curb and the parked cars, as has been done west of CDN.

      Unfortunately, the plans do not include the obvious, natural and necessary linking up of the E-MP and Fielding paths, because that would mean having to make the Décarie crossing safe for people not wrapped in speeding tons of steel, clearly not a priority for any level of government.

    • carswell 16:11 on 2024-04-09 Permalink

      @Kate When asking friends and neighbours for the CDN-NDG mayor’s name, I also asked several if they felt any connection with the other half of the borough, the part they didn’t live in. None of the respondents did and several wondered why it isn’t two separate boroughs. That’s definitely a development I’d favour but am not holding my breath.

    • nau 16:30 on 2024-04-09 Permalink

      Well, @carswell, if what you were going for in your first post was Plateau and alentours favouritism, I’m disinclined to address it since I suspect that it does exist. You’ll excuse me if I didn’t manage to infer your focus immediately as I live within striking distance of Rue Wellington and so pedestrianization isn’t an issue that screams Plateau-centrism to me.

      It does seem fair to note that Projet was first elected in the Plateau and may well still have its most supportive public there (or not, as certain other posters may well take the opportunity to remind us yet again), so it’s not entirely surprising that its initiatives are most advanced there.

      I agree that the De Maisonneuve-Décarie intersection is bad for cyclists, but in that case one does have to keep in mind CP’s role in blocking the obvious solution of routing the bike path above Decarie beside the rail bridge.

    • Ian 17:34 on 2024-04-09 Permalink

      Many have said, for years, that it’s just straight-up elitism. The highly educated, mostly white, mostly Francophone wine bar crowd that makes up most of the PM elect doesn’t really care about places like CDN/NDG except insofar as they want ot be in control. That said they didn’t manage to hold Outremont because they were perceived as too elitist, so who knows.

      I think pedestrianizing Mont-Royal made perfect sense, and pedestrianizing St-Hubert makes perfect sense, too. Monkland seems like a possible candidate for it in NDG. For bike paths the path along DeMaisonneuve connects all the way from Atwater through Westmount then jogs through Upper Lachine for NDG… no small feat to get Westmount on board. A Decarie path would be nice but that trench was a stupid idea for pedestrians, bicyclists, drivers, and even delivery traffic flow. It’s a travesty of bad urban planning that we will have to endure until it is either covered or backfilled. I’m not sure the city is even allowed to change traffic flow around it much, isn’t that provincial jurisdiction as part of the highway system?

    • dhomas 19:20 on 2024-04-09 Permalink

      Could it be that we’re looking at the causality backwards? Maybe it’s not that areas that elect Projet get more bike/pedestrian infrastructure, but areas that are more open to this type of infrastructure are also more likely to vote Projet?

    • Kate 19:28 on 2024-04-09 Permalink

      dhomas, that idea was creeping up on me too.

    • Chris 20:39 on 2024-04-09 Permalink

      >the city’s relative neglect of (roughly) non-Plateau/Plateau-adjacent boroughs is an ongoing trend

      Perhaps they have simply gauged that the population outside Plateau are just not as in favour of those things. See for example Terrebonne bike path. They may figure it would cost too much political capital. Perhaps they think better to test these ideas/policies/infrastructures in Plateau first, to show by example that it’s a good idea, then they can expand it elsewhere in time.

    • Tim S. 21:06 on 2024-04-09 Permalink

      I’d love a pedestrianized street in NDG, but I don’t think there are any reasonable candidates. Monkland is too major of an artery, I think, with not many other east-west streets (NDG blocks are very long, plus they re-did Somerland last year and will be doing NDG avenue this year.). We can argue about the role of cars etc, but even people on buses and bikes have to get around somehow. What they are doing though is closing off streets adjacent to small parks to make them bigger, which is something.

    • Nicholas 21:54 on 2024-04-09 Permalink

      I’m really confused. Last year CDN/NDG put in a two-way protected bike lane on Bourret, from almost the Hampstead border, crossing Decarie, to Légaré. Almost immediately local residents and even the mayor of Hampstead were demanding its removal. (I gather Hampsteaders use it as a cut through to get to Cote-Saint-Catherine and the NB entrance to Decarie at Edouard-Montpetit while avoiding Van Horne and Isabella.) A few years ago they put in a lane on Terrebonne, and there were incessant complaints to remove it, which finally happened, and they are only replacing it this year. Last year they also added protected lanes on Walkley, EM, Barclay, Fielding, Plamondon, Lacombe and Goyer, all totalling 11.4 km with Bourret. I’ve noticed some significant changes in the last 5 years or so, though obviously it’s nowhere close to the Plateau. (Also note PM did not have a majority on the borough council for half of its first mandate, due to the Montgomery issue I’m not going to get into.)

      Jurisdiction fights really get in the way. Streets are either borough, city or province roads. If a proposed route even crosses another’s roads, you need their approval. Someone at MTQ, likely with soft political oversight, is going to have to approve taking away car space from whichever road you want to put a bike lane on across Decarie, which is probably why they put it on the Bourret pedestrian bridge. The city can do projects on medium-importance roads, but not local borough ones, which is why you see way more lanes on smaller streets in Rosemont than St Laurent. Want to change this, or split CDN-NDG in two (a good idea, imho)? Talk to Quebec, who wrote the new megacity charter. I know there were some great potential corridors specifically blocked by Quebec on one side and certain boroughs on the other.

      As for Decarie and de Maisonneuve, having gone through there thousands of times in my life, it is better than ever before. For people going east-west, I really have nothing to complain about, it’s fully protected and allow people to cross before cars can move. For going to and from the hospital it is not great because there’s nowhere to wait safely. However that intersection is not easy to deal with, with tons of buses making multiple turning movements, lots of trucks, emergency access and traffic coming from and to 5 directions with tight turns and grade changes, with a lot of throughput requested and long light cycles. I can think of lots of other similarly unpleasant intersections in PM areas, like St Joseph and D’Iberville, Rosemont and St Denis, anywhere and Sherbrooke. Would it be great if we could reduce motor vehicle by half and fill in the Decarie with a park and lake, sure, but if it took four years to get a protected lane back on Terrebonne, I’m not sure how this is going to happen.

      If you made me benevolent overlord, you’d see a lot of changes, but in a democracy the people in charge are responsive to public opinion, even if the public doesn’t have a referendum on an issue. Just like a lot of the bike lanes, pedestrian streets are subject to popular support. If you don’t get the SDCs, or at least a good portion of shopkeepers on board, you are going to hear about it every day until the next election. Monkland would be great as a pedestrian street, but besides parking (which is often store owners who want to park there themselves rather than customers who live nearby) Monkland has a major bus route, the 103, as well as the less important 162. (My former 99-year old neighbour who lives near Mont-Royal Ave said he had to walk much farther to the bus on St Joseph, and also can’t stop in a shop on the way to the Metro, or bus to the grocery store.) You could move the buses onto Terrebonne, but now that will be one-way with the new bike project. Put them on NDG/CSA and that’s a big transit gap to the north. Allow only buses on Monkland and Sherbooke? Great idea, but without a benevolent overlord, get ready to fight, because they’re not there yet.

      I won’t go on longer, but lots of correct points already said: projects are easier where support already exists, control is not solely at the municipal level, and, well, lots of Montrealers still like driving, and if you do too much too fast where people don’t want it you’ll hear about it on CJAD, in the Suburban and on TVA, as well as on Facebook and in council meetings. 11 km in one year, well, could be much worse!

    • Kevin 23:55 on 2024-04-09 Permalink

      I know it’s been a few years, but the last time Monkland was closed on a weekday for a street festival ended up with lots of yelling at councillors and the ouster of the head of the SDC.

      Doing it again when the closest east-west street has been changed to one way (a move that many people are unaware will be happening) would likely generate more anger.

    • James 11:16 on 2024-04-10 Permalink

      Linking up Edouard-Montpetit with Fielding requires the cooperation of Hampstead which is not too likely to occur. Perhaps the Edouard-Montpetit or Isabella crossings at Décarie could be done with a safer configuration for cyclists to link up with Earnscliffe/Clanranald. The crossing at Bourret (done in 2023 I believe) is a good improvement.
      Terrebonne will be a big change for NDG this summer. Making it one way for cars and adding 2 one-way bike paths. Expect a lot of complaints about this in the typical anti-bike sources (The Suburban / The Gazette).
      I received two home-made flyers from affected residents that tried to mobilize opposition to the Terrebonne changes (my house is on Terrebonne)..

    • Kevin 11:41 on 2024-04-10 Permalink

      It’s not a dichotomy. There are people who bike and who walk and who drive cars.

    • bumper carz 12:13 on 2024-04-10 Permalink

      @Ian: “…straight-up elitism. The highly educated, mostly white, mostly Francophone wine bar crowd… ”

      And the Plateau welcomes bike paths and pedestrian zones.

      Ville St-Laurent barely has sidewalks, let alone bike paths or pedestrianized streets. It’s new towers have zero commerce at ground floor.

      To blame their lack of ped-zones on Projet… is to not understand why suburban towns got to be independent entities in the first place: they “split off” from central cities in order to allow very car-centered urbanism that doesn’t respect the 5000-year history of place-making. Ville St-Laurent is a car-heaven, and that’s why it doesn’t have any high quality streets to pedestrianize.

    • Ian 12:26 on 2024-04-10 Permalink

      Who siad anything about VSL? Weren’t we talking about CDN/NDG?

    • bumper carz 20:07 on 2024-04-10 Permalink

      The article is about Plaza St-Hubert, and the comments rotate about how unfair it is that West Island areas like VSL and NDG-CDN don’t have any.

      Meanwhile, the urbanism of these areas is car-suburbia extremis. Sherbrooke St in NDG was sacrificed as a quality street in order to create a highway that killed the commercial potential. VSL had the same post-war development pattern but started with fewer existing historic buildings, but the result is the same: improverished walkability and a low-quality public realm.

    • Kate 20:24 on 2024-04-10 Permalink

      The old part of Ville St‑Laurent around du Collège metro is pleasant and walkable, but doesn’t offer any commercial street that could be pedestrianized in the same way as the ones on the list. That’s the problem with commercial streets outside the city core – they’re also highways. We simply don’t build streets like Wellington or Mont‑Royal any more.

    • Ian 21:28 on 2024-04-10 Permalink

      All good points, Kate.
      @qatzi CDN/NDG is not west island. The west island literally starts at the western border of NDG.

    • DeWolf 09:04 on 2024-04-11 Permalink

      I think a lot of people don’t understand that the pedestrianization projects are led by the SDCs. The city offers financial, logistical and political support, but it’s the SDC that decides whether they will happen and for how long – not the mayor’s office.

      If NDG or Côte des Neiges want pedestrian streets, it’s up to their local SDCs. But here’s the thing: merchants in both neighbourhoods have historically been extremely resistant to the creation of SDCs in the first place. There’s one that was recently created in CDN, but that’s it. Monkland has a merchant’s association but it’s voluntary and doesn’t benefit from the municipal funding and full-time organizational support an SDC would have. There was a push to create an NDG SDC in 2022 but it was killed due to opposition.

      On top of that, as others have noted, which streets would be good candidates for pedestrianization? I can’t think of any. All the commercial streets are too wide to be comfortable pedestrian spaces. The commercial intensity and volume of pedestrian traffic is generally lower than on streets like Wellington, Mont-Royal and St-Hubert, too.

      One of the fundamental challenges of CDN/NDG is that as a borough, it’s generally quite car-oriented, even in areas that are relatively dense. This is a problem for pedestrian streets, but also for creating safe bike infrastructure. Even though you actually have more space than in other boroughs because the streets are wider, the car dominance creates strong political opposition. Even as a casual pedestrian or cyclist, you can feel the difference walking around CDN/NDG: drivers are that much more hostile.

      @Kate – I’ve heard that St-Paul isn’t included on the list because there’s a plan to pedestrianize a chunk of Old Montreal and those plans will be announced later. Also, Masson has never been pedestrianized aside from the occasional street fair. The SDC has always been extremely resistant.

  • Kate 09:49 on 2024-04-09 Permalink | Reply  

    Although trials for Olympic swimming have to move to Toronto following the fire at the stadium facility, another aquatic event, Red Bull Cliff Diving, is coming to the Old Port in August. I don’t know where they will find a cliff in that part of the city.

    • Blork 15:21 on 2024-04-09 Permalink

      I have seen Red Bull cliff diving on television a few times, and it’s always been at spectacular places like the Adriatic coast of Italy. I don’t see how diving off some scaffolding into the cold Saint Larry can possibly compete.

  • Kate 09:42 on 2024-04-09 Permalink | Reply  

    Most of Tuesday morning’s news consists of reports about the eclipse. Both the Gazette and La Presse liken the experience to a music festival. Reports and images from CTV, Radio‑Canada and a selection of images, TVA, Global, CBC, NPR. TVA tells about highway chaos. TVA also has suggestions what to do with your eclipse glasses as does Chapleau in La Presse.

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