Updates from May, 2024 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 22:20 on 2024-05-06 Permalink | Reply  

    A La Presse op-ed writer does some number crunching to show that cars are more generously subsidized than public transit.

    • Blork 11:38 on 2024-05-07 Permalink

      I only scanned the article, but I’m calling bullshit. The main premise seems to be that all the money spent on roads (maintenance, snow removal, etc.) can be 100% filed under “car subsidy.” As if the ONLY PURPOSE for the city streets is for personal cars. What, bicycles, buses, taxis, and delivery vehicles are supposed to float 10 feet above the ground? Pedestrians don’t need cleared streets to get around?

    • Ian 12:52 on 2024-05-07 Permalink

      That crossed my mind, too.
      Also worth noting, it’s basically the same argument as “I don’t have kids, why should I pay school taxes?”

    • bumper carz 19:03 on 2024-05-07 Permalink

      Ian, did you only have time to skim the article as well?

      Too busy looking for parking?

    • walkerp 21:15 on 2024-05-07 Permalink

      Yes, those highways are really great for pedestrians.
      Come on, our entire society is built around the automobile, of course they are all way more subsidized than public transit, not to mention billions of our tax dollars to the fossil fuel industry.

    • Blork 23:54 on 2024-05-07 Permalink

      Yes, but it’s bogus to apply 100% of road cost to “car subsidy.”

    • Daisy 06:15 on 2024-05-08 Permalink

      Of course it’s not 100%, but come on, it’s close enough for a rough calculation. Maybe it’s 95%.

    • CE 08:02 on 2024-05-08 Permalink

      Just the street side parking in urban areas is a huge subsidy to drivers. I know they have to pay for the vignette in some areas but I doubt it pays for the full cost of paving, cleaning, and snow clearance. Even the amount of space that is given over to these parked cars is a form of subsidy in lost opportunity costs.

    • GC 08:04 on 2024-05-08 Permalink

      There must be some rough stats on what percentage of vehicles on the roads are deliveries versus commuters or whatever. It wouldn’t be perfect, but it would still be more accurate than just assuming 100%.

    • Ian 08:24 on 2024-05-08 Permalink

      I actually did read the article, but i expected the gratuitous snark from the usual crowd 😉

      Emergency vehicles, delivery trucks, buses, heavy trucks, fleet cars, garbage trucks, public transport, shared cars, taxis, police vehicles, city vehicles…
      If you look at the registry numbers private vehicles are nowhere near 95% and all those other vehicle types need roads too, but do go on.

      We don’t get to choose what portion of our taxes go to things we personally see benefit in. 603 million to save French comes to mind.

    • jeather 10:11 on 2024-05-08 Permalink

      I’d actually love to know how much more cars are subsidized than public transit — I would be surprised if it were the reverse — but I don’t think this article does the right math. It might not be possible to do the right math, honestly.

    • Chris 10:42 on 2024-05-08 Permalink

      >If you look at the registry numbers private vehicles are nowhere near 95%…

      So what? Your list of other types of vehicles are still vehicles, and they still benefit from society’s subsidies to automobile culture, past and present. Don’t confuse cause & effect. It’s *because* of the existence of these subsidies that we have delivery trucks, fleet cars, taxis, shared cars, etc. Without those subsidies we’d have had some alternative history, maybe package delivery compartments on all public transit buses, maybe more bike delivery, helicopter ambulances, who knows. We would have done whatever was most efficient/cheaper, which would have been different without the distortion of massive subsidies.

      Do people other than car owners benefit from the “car subsidy”? Of course. Hypothetical example: I don’t own a car, I order a trinket from Amazon, Amazon uses the free roads to bring me my trinket. My trinket is now cheaper thanks to society building and providing those free roads. i.e *you* have subsidized *my* trinket. I would argue it would be better that society charge Amazon (and it charge me) to use the roads.

      No doubt some wonks have studied what percentage of road spending counts as “car subsidy” and of course it’s less than 100%, but I’d put my money around 90%. The width of roads is almost all for cars (moving and parking), with just a sliver for sidewalks. Cycling mode share is a rounding error of ~2%. Cars are way heavier than cyclists/pedestrians and do way more damage. There’s bus transit, but many souls are concentrated per one bus.

      >We don’t get to choose what portion of our taxes go to things we personally see benefit in.

      Not individually, duh; but collectively we do. The population has spoken and (unlike me) they love spending tax money on automobile subsidies.

    • Kevin 10:59 on 2024-05-08 Permalink

      Debating subsidies and tax expenditures is the modern-day equivalent of debating the number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin.

    • Blork 11:29 on 2024-05-08 Permalink

      Here’s one more Rhumba on this pin-head (you wanna Rhumba? Pick a Rhumba from one to ten!):

      It’s not just a question of the percentage of private cars versus other vehicles. It’s a question of how IMPORTANT it is to have those roads for all the other purposes. Remember that roads existed long before cars were invented. Italy’s Via Appia was built more than 2300 years ago and still exists, runs for hundreds of kilometres.

      Roads do much more than just carry private cars!

      Even if every private car vanished from the face of the Earth overnight we would still need roads, for (borrowing Ian’s list) emergency vehicles, delivery trucks, buses, heavy trucks, fleet cars, garbage trucks, public transport, shared cars, taxis, police vehicles, city vehicles, etc. etc.

      People need to move around. Things need to be delivered. Fire trucks need to put out fires. On and on.

      Also, would you prefer that sewer and water lines be at surface level, just randomly zig-zagging around?

      That represents way, way more than 5% of the use of roads.

    • Ian 11:33 on 2024-05-08 Permalink

      Especially if one side is just spitballing numbers.

    • walkerp 14:48 on 2024-05-08 Permalink

      “What about the emergency vehicles!” is the “what about the children! argument for cars. The plastic industry used the same tactic with the “what about straws for handicapped people!” hysteria.

      It’s just excluded middle nonsense.

      Of course we need some kind of systematic transit routes. Nobody is saying remove all the roads. What we are saying (as Chris put very well) that the current road and the massive infrastructure around it, is heavily biased towards the individual automobile and by extension a vast proportion of our tax dollars goes to pay to maintain that model compared to how much goes into public transit.

      Sophists and consnerdatives are going to nitpick stupid debate tactics right up until the planet is unlivable.

    • Ian 15:47 on 2024-05-08 Permalink

      TIL not making up numbers to support your point if view is a stupid debate tactic. Good thing hot air doesn’t contribute to the end of the world.

    • Tim S. 19:19 on 2024-05-08 Permalink

      “we’d have had some alternative history.” Horses. That’s the real history/alternate future you’re looking at. I have no idea what carbon emissions they produce, but they also run people over, produce noxious fumes and massive amounts of manure, and take up huge amounts of agricultural space to grow fodder.

    • Ian 21:48 on 2024-05-08 Permalink

      If we’re cosplaying pre-industrial Montreal I wouldn’t mind seeing Square Victoria turned back into a hay market, but I could do without the cholera.

    • Kevin 22:18 on 2024-05-08 Permalink

      Banning plastic straws in Canada was stupid and useless. Straws in Canada aren’t ending up in the ocean because our tax dollars go towards garbage collection.

      Plastic in the ocean is mostly from China, Indonesia, India, and the Philippines.


      I understand wanting to make assumptions but doing so without getting it wrong is a difficult skillset.

  • Kate 20:40 on 2024-05-06 Permalink | Reply  

    Kept ignorant of the presence of wetlands in an east-end lot, councillors approved the cutting of 1323 trees.

    • Kate 19:44 on 2024-05-06 Permalink | Reply  

      There’s some disappointment that there will be no Olympic flame passing through Montreal in advance of the Olympics this summer in Paris. Tourisme Montréal’s video referenced in the item.

      • Bert 20:22 on 2024-05-06 Permalink

        I remember that some buildings downtown did lighting stuff, I think corner Beaver-Hall / Dorchester. I seem to remember that it was the HQ of the Canadian Olympic Committee or something. Also, they used to light the Olympic flame on the corner of Pie-IX / Sherbrooke.

      • dwgs 07:39 on 2024-05-07 Permalink

        The Canadian Olympic Committee is in the building at the south west corner of Rene Levesque and Beaver Hall so that checks out.

      • Ian 08:25 on 2024-05-08 Permalink

        That dopey sculpture in front of it represents the Olympic flame.

    • Kate 18:01 on 2024-05-06 Permalink | Reply  

      Quebec mayors met with transit minister Geneviève Guilbault on Monday and she offered $200 million to pay 70% of the deficit of the ARTM. The transit authority had asked for twice as much.

      CTV reported however that Quebec had made no offer at all.

      Tuesday morning, City News also writes: “LaPresse reported Monday that the Quebec government would absorb around 70 per cent of the 2025 deficit providing around $200 million in aid, but Guilbault’s office said Monday afternoon that the official amount will only be decided on in the fall.” CBC has also picked up the $200M story.

      While looking for links on this mess, I stumbled over this tweet by Eric Duhaime: “la ministre Geneviève Guilbault s’apprête à refiler la facture de la mauvaise gestion de la société de transport de Montréal à l’ensemble des contribuables québécois.” For some politicians, nothing works better than sneering at Montreal and its needs, although what I’m beginning to despise more than anything is critics like this who deliberately turn a blind eye to the lingering effects of the pandemic so they can blame problems on their political rivals.

      Columnists too. Here’s an example from the Journal. Instead of praising Valérie Plante for holding things together through years of difficulty, Danièle Lorain tears her down. Sisterhood? Bof.

      • Kate 17:46 on 2024-05-06 Permalink  

        The pro-Palestinian encampment at McGill not only persists, but continues to grow. The protesters feel they’re making little progress in their demand that McGill divest.

        • Kate 14:37 on 2024-05-06 Permalink | Reply  

          The 1950s-era diner that stood on St‑Denis at Gilford for many years is being dismantled and removed to make way for a condo development. The owner says he’d like to keep it in town, but there’s no definite plan yet.

          • CE 14:50 on 2024-05-06 Permalink

            I wonder where it will end up. It’s a funky building but not really in the right location. This is what is planned as a replacement: https://forum.agoramtl.com/t/galaxie-4-etages/2926

          • Nicholas 14:54 on 2024-05-06 Permalink

            That’s a shame. A few steps away on Gilford is a five storey building, and then there’s an eight storey one across the street on top of the metro, which is ten minutes from downtown, but they’re only building four storeys, so only 29 families will be housed, rather than double that.

          • Ephraim 15:48 on 2024-05-06 Permalink

            Isn’t it a re-creation that was put there some time in the 1980s or 1990s? And hasn’t been occupied in over 10 years, if not more.

          • Kate 16:14 on 2024-05-06 Permalink

            Ephraim, that’s what I recall. It was an American diner brought here and reconstructed on that spot somewhere in that time frame. I don’t think it was called Pizzaiolle originally but I can’t bring to mind the resto that was there first. And I have no idea what was on that corner before the diner.

          • GC 17:12 on 2024-05-06 Permalink

            I live nearby and walk by all the time. It’s become a real eyesore, since it’s sat vacant, with so much graffiti. (I didn’t think it’s been vacant for 10 years, though. More like five, I would guess…)

            It was definitely unusual in design, but I’m not sure it was so architecturally significant that it needed to be saved. And we could probably use housing more than another restaurant around there. I like the idea of keeping the square on Gilford, but there’s a very cool mural there that looks like it might be obscured a bit by that building design.

          • Adam 17:15 on 2024-05-06 Permalink

            They should move it to district central! Right near l’esplanade and Louvain! It’ll fit right in , honestly I’d love to see it down here

          • DavidH 18:33 on 2024-05-06 Permalink

            The original restaurant was the Galaxie, same as the condo project’s name. It’s a pre-fab building that had its first life in the States. As fun as that building is, its history is not here. I’ll be glad if it stays but not at the public’s expense.

          • Kate 21:07 on 2024-05-06 Permalink

            Galaxie! That’s it. I think there was also a period when it was explicitly some kind of burger place, before it became Pizzaiolle.

          • Nicholas 00:38 on 2024-05-07 Permalink

            There’s a person coming out of it and more inside six years ago on Google and it looked occupied five years ago. Looks like shit from the pandemic.

        • Kate 12:03 on 2024-05-06 Permalink | Reply  

          The New York Times has a proposed reading list for Montreal from writer Mona Awad. Of course it’s all in English, or English translation.

          • jeather 12:40 on 2024-05-06 Permalink

            You can’t expect them to do untranslated works, but that’s a pretty decent selection of translated from French authors, it’s not like there’s just one.

          • Ian 14:19 on 2024-05-06 Permalink

            To be fair the only things I knew about Montreal culture when I moved here in 1990 were the books I had read. I expected it to be a mix between “The Favourite Game” and “the Tin Flute”. I was not disappointed.

          • PatrickC 16:02 on 2024-05-06 Permalink

            Not directly related, but the first episode of the new season of the HBO show “Hacks,” just out, is set in Montreal during a JFL festival (!). The lead character, played by Jean Smart, says of the city: “sounds like Paris, looks like Hartford.”

          • Blork 20:56 on 2024-05-06 Permalink

            Yeah, that was fun although the JFL part stung a bit. (The character was in Montreal to get a (fictional) award at JFL.) BTW my sweetie laughed out loud at the Paris/Hartford line. As a kid growing up in Quebec City her family made occasional trips to Montreal, arriving on the 40 coming through Anjou and St-Leonard. To her young eyes Montreal was the ugliest place on Earth. She changed her mind (somewhat) only after she moved here as an adult.

          • Kate 21:09 on 2024-05-06 Permalink

            In the 1990s I organized a couple of gatherings in Quebec City for friends made on the internet. One of them was the daughter of a foreign diplomat, who had lived in several different countries on several continents and experienced more cities than most of us manage to do. She said she felt Montreal was Quebec City’s ugly stepsister. (But she only saw Vieux‑Québec, not the mall sprawl beyond.)

          • DeWolf 00:51 on 2024-05-08 Permalink

            Quebec City has the advantage of a pretty spectacular landscape, but it’s also more put together than Montreal, despite the sprawl. Everything feels a bit tidier, a little more polished.

          • Kate 10:28 on 2024-05-08 Permalink

            Quebec City was so prized as a world capital in waiting during the PQ years that it had a lot more money spent on its aesthetics than Montreal did. The 400th anniversary also gave it a polish.

        • Kate 10:37 on 2024-05-06 Permalink | Reply  

          Two kinds of emergency alert will be tested on Wednesday, the phone and media alert, and also the sirens that sound in parts of town adjacent to hazardous industries.

          • Kate 10:35 on 2024-05-06 Permalink | Reply  

            The greenhouses at the Botanical Garden are closed to the public while work is done to make sure more glass panels can’t drop out, as happened in January.

            • Kate 10:04 on 2024-05-06 Permalink | Reply  

              The CCSDM gives away free snacks to the kids, but an investigation shows that they’re unhealthy, being mostly made of ultraprocessed food. There are photos of bars, cookies and sweetened yogurts, but talk about fruit and veg.

              La Presse also talked to various experts on what kids eat and how bad this is.

              • Meezly 10:51 on 2024-05-06 Permalink

                This is so true. Probably because ultra processed foods are relatively cheap.

              • jeather 11:27 on 2024-05-06 Permalink

                They also last longer.

                It’s interesting because I know EMSB parents who have been chided for letting their kids bring homemade cookies (but not homemade “granola bars” aka some version of a cookie bar), no matter what else is in the lunchbox.

              • Kate 12:12 on 2024-05-06 Permalink

                That’s the thing. Those cookies and bars are shelf stable. Serving up fruit and veg sounds great, but the schools would have to install fridges, arrange regular deliveries, employ people to do basic food prep, manage possible allergies, clean up a lot more mess…

              • CE 14:18 on 2024-05-06 Permalink

                Why would parents be chided for giving their kids homemade cookies?

              • Ian 14:21 on 2024-05-06 Permalink

                My kid got chided for having popcorn (homemade, no salt or butter) as her lunch snack. Some teachers think it’s their business to bother the kids for eating what they perceive as “unhealthy” foods.

              • CE 14:34 on 2024-05-06 Permalink

                Oh, they chided them for being unhealthy? I thought it had something to do with the homemade part. What do the teachers say to the kids who, like me when I was a kid, show up with a bag full of Oreos? Homemade cookies were a rare treat but there was always a bag of some sort of cookies in my lunch.

              • jeather 15:14 on 2024-05-06 Permalink

                They’d do the same for Oreos as homemade cookies at the schools where the teachers comment about healthy food.

              • Kate 16:07 on 2024-05-06 Permalink

                CE, maybe the schools are afraid of parents sending in cookies containing peanuts or other allergens? A commercial cookie would have a list of ingredients. A homemade cookie would be an unknown quantity.

              • jeather 16:28 on 2024-05-06 Permalink

                If you buy a big case of prepackaged cookies and dole them out in ziplocs, no one can see what is in the food; similarly, if you cook food in peanut oil and give that to your kid, no one will see. I don’t really see that homemade cookies are higher or lower risk than anything else homemade. At the EMSB elementary shcools I am aware of this happening in, this is very explicitly part of their healthy foods curriculum which also uses somewhat dated ways of teaching about food.

            • Kate 09:57 on 2024-05-06 Permalink | Reply  

              A water main broke Monday morning in the Plateau, just in front of a school.

              • Kate 09:53 on 2024-05-06 Permalink | Reply  

                Two men were shot in Lachine on Sunday night. They are expected to survive.

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