Updates from May, 2024 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 23:22 on 2024-05-09 Permalink | Reply  

    I noticed Rex Murphy and Jordan Peterson were both trending on X, so I had a look – kind of like turning over a rock to see what’s wriggling under it.

    Rex Murphy is dead. I cannot report the same of Jordan Peterson.

    I also note a wide range of opinions on Murphy from “dead hero” to “dead zero”…

    • walkerp 08:49 on 2024-05-10 Permalink

      As much as I deplored Rex Murphy’s late life boomer heel turn, in terms of actual intellectual integrity, character and contributions to society, we should not even be mentioning the speed-addled con artist Jordan Peterson in the same discussion.

    • Blork 12:00 on 2024-05-10 Permalink

      I used to like listening to Rex Murphy years ago, when he was an odd but smart contrarian who often went against the grain (which I always appreciate if it’s done with thought and intelligence) and was always entertaining in his somewhat bombastic rhetorical style. But wow, did he go off the deep end in the past decade.

    • Tee Owe 13:36 on 2024-05-10 Permalink

      Like Blork, I enjoyed Rex Murphy back in the day, odd but smart contrarian is a good description – however, I moved away and missed the last decade, so no further comment – glad I missed that part of his output

    • Mozai 17:02 on 2024-05-10 Permalink

      Beware the “trending on X” in twitter’s sidebar; it often tells me some topic is trending and tries to impress me with less than 100 messages in this “trending” topic.

    • walkerp 17:08 on 2024-05-10 Permalink

      On a side note, I can’t recommend enough reading twitter on your browser with Control Panel for Twitter installed. All you see is people you follow in chronological order. No ads, no suggestions, no trending. It makes it a much healthier experience.

    • Kate 17:17 on 2024-05-10 Permalink

      walkerp, that sounds great, but for the blog I’ve got to see the whole thing.

    • walkerp 18:35 on 2024-05-10 Permalink

      It’s quite granular, so you can pick and choose what you want to disable, so you could at least clean it up for yourself while still being able to see what is trending.

    • Kate 19:54 on 2024-05-10 Permalink

      For the blog I have lists of media entities I follow, and they’re not too polluted.

  • Kate 15:43 on 2024-05-09 Permalink | Reply  

    The man who killed a seven‑year‑old girl in a hit‑and‑run in 2022 pleaded guilty Thursday at the Palais de justice. His penalty will be announced later.

    In another story, a tow truck driver will be fined for burning through a red light and striking an SUV which then fell onto the frozen Lachine Canal in January 2022. The driver was OK but the passenger died.

    • Kevin 19:36 on 2024-05-09 Permalink

      The recommendation is a 12 month community sentence for killing the child and fleeing the scene.

    • Chris 21:00 on 2024-05-09 Permalink

      Wow, those trivial punishments are the best ‘car subsidy’ ever! 🙂

    • H. John 21:53 on 2024-05-09 Permalink

      @Kevin You would have been correct if you had written “The recommendation is a 12 month community sentence for fleeing the scene.”

      He was not charged, and he was not on trial for “killing the child”.

      He turned himself in, and he plead guilty.

      If he had stayed at the scene, as the prosecutor pointed out, there would have been no charges.

    • Nicholas 22:53 on 2024-05-09 Permalink

      While I have mixed feelings about whether sending someone to jail for these kinds of situations is the right move (though negligent and reckless driving should be punished more severely), in a just world a person who kills another person with their vehicle, even unintentionally, should be banned from driving for life. You clearly can’t safely operate a vehicle, and given the harm you’ve done, you don’t deserve a second chance just because it would be a slight hardship. Many of us take the bus, and you can too. (Hell, the mayor of Chambly doesn’t drive!)

    • Kevin 23:10 on 2024-05-09 Permalink

      H. John

      Yes, under the strict language of the criminal code there is nothing called a hit and run, rather only “failure to stop,” “accident causing death” and so on.

      But I’ll leave milquetoast language to the lawyers.

    • Kate 23:25 on 2024-05-09 Permalink

      Not so much milquetoast as very precisely defined. I know this because I sometimes like making sweeping generalizations, but the law can’t do that.

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

      @Kevin what is the meaningful difference between “hit and run” and “fleeing the scene”?

      @Nicholas while, as Sideshow Bob pointed out, they don’t give you the Nobel Prize for attempted chemistry, I would wager that many of the driving acts that cause an accident/death occur hundreds of times a day by hundreds of Montreal drivers; it’s sheer luck that more people aren’t hurt. In other words, lifetime bans might be appropriate for more than just those who actually hit somebody…

    • Joey 10:22 on 2024-05-10 Permalink

      Meanwhile in Mile-End yesterday a cyclist failed to stop for a schoolbos with its lights flashing and wound up plowing through a little girl. The cyclist was following the bike path that goes against traffic on Jeanne-Mance and either (a) didn’t know that a stop was required, since apparently cyclists have only been bound to stop for schoolbus lights for the last few years, (b) didn’t notice the lights, (c) didn’t compute that the lights applied, given that the bike was going in the opposite direction of the bus, or (d) knew all this but just assumed the kid would be crossing from the other side.

      While the cyclist is clearly at fault here, there is a point to be made about the city’s slapdash approach to non-major throughfare bike lanes – painted lines that have cyclists go against traffic present all sorts of hazards, especially to young kids who aren’t easily seen over cars but also to cyclists themselves who present a surprise to drivers (who aren’t expecting oncoming traffic and who also have a major blind spot when pulling out of the parking lane next to the bike lane). Placing this mediocre version of a bike lane on a block that might have the highest concentration of young kids in the city is just nuts, and it’s not surprise that residents reported that this isn’t the first accident of this kind to occur recently.

    • DeWolf 10:45 on 2024-05-10 Permalink

      The Jeanne-Mance bike lanes are about eight or nine years old, if I recall correctly. They’re effectively from another era. They certainly don’t meet the city’s current best practices. Gradually these counterflow bike lanes are being changed into an arrangement where they run between the sidewalk and parked cars, which in this case would have prevented the little girl from being invisible while waiting to cross the street. It also eliminates conflicts between cyclists and drivers heading in the opposite direction. This also has the effect of making the roadway narrower which slows cars down.

      Esplanade between Villeneuve and Mont-Royal is being changed to this new arrangement. All the road markings are done but unfortunately nobody seems to have told the residents to mark their cars outside of the new bike lane, so it’s currently useless.

      A caveat here is that on a low-traffic street with a low speed limit, there shouldn’t be anything wrong with counterflow bike traffic. You don’t even need a designated lane – Esplanade between Mont-Royal and Duluth allows cyclists to ride against traffic and there’s no bike lane. Amsterdam allows cyclists to go against the flow on every side street, and Paris does on many streets as well. It demands more vigilance on all the road users but in practice it tends to work well.

      The problem here was the cyclist. Unfortunately, even the best planned infrastructure doesn’t work when the people using it are incompetent or negligent. That’s something that can only be fixed through education. Make cyclists understand that they need to stop for school buses, that they need to give pedestrians priority at crosswalks, that it’s not a good idea to be riding your bike while distractedly looking at your phone while also listening to music on your noise-cancelling headphones. And of course we have so much driver education to do. The amount of people speeding down small streets, casually running red lights and generally behaving in dangerous ways is astonishing.

    • Tim S. 11:12 on 2024-05-10 Permalink

      As a driver, I would be thrilled if any political party made it a campaign platform to take away the licences of the, say, 2000 worst drivers in the province. Whatever their position on any other subject, they would get my max donation, if any strategists are reading…..

    • Meezly 11:37 on 2024-05-10 Permalink

      While cycling south on Esplanade, I recall being yelled at by a pedestrian family with a stroller about to cross in the middle of street coming from Parc Jeanne-Mance. I was cycling against traffic, and the guy yelled “you’re biking the wrong way!” I retorted, “it’s a bike lane!” And he yelled back, “No it’s not!”, oblivious to his own hypocrisy of crossing in the middle of the street with his baby in a stroller.

      The bike lane markings are only visible at the end of each block, so the guy was obvs unaware because if he was crossing the middle of Esplanade, he wouldn’t see ANY markings indicating that cyclists are allowed to bike against traffic there.

      Clearly marked bike lanes not only give cyclists the legitimacy that they belong on the street as much as vehicle drivers, they also help in the case of accidents. If you get hit by a car while cycling against traffic on a street with no bike lane, you wouldn’t have a case for insurance compensation, even if the driver was looking at his phone and clearly at fault. But if you were cycling on a bike lane, you’d have a case to make a claim.

    • Nicholas 11:39 on 2024-05-10 Permalink

      Joey, Tim: I am supportive of driving bans for more people than just those who kill, but the amount of dangerous driving is so vast that there would need to be a balance to survive the political process. But progressively longer bans, or maybe just removing the worst 1% or 0.1% is definitely a good idea, and I think would be fairly popular, and would change some behaviour. But we also need to change the built environment as all the little things are caused by systemic problems (streets too wide, cut throughs, blind turns, etc.

      Joey, DeWolf: I agree all around. It’s important to acknowledge that the cyclist is 100% at fault, which Vélo Québec was quick to do, to their eternal credit. But given this has happened before, says the person who reported it, there is, like with dangerous driving, a systemic problem, with badly designed infrastructure, that was compromised away from best practices when built. And at least this crash likely resulted in minor injuries, something unlikely if it was a car. I should note as well that even with best practices (a bike lane next to the sidewalk), the large SUV would have blocked the view of the cyclist looking at someone getting off the bus, rather than getting on in this configuration. We just need to always always always stop for school buses, and those who don’t should get in trouble.

    • jeather 11:49 on 2024-05-10 Permalink

      It’s far too hard to lose your license here, and even when you do, you get it back far too soon.

      Honestly, I had no idea cyclists were also obliged to stop for a schoolbus.

      I have a question: if the street is divided, you are not obliged to stop. However, are you obliged if there is a break in the median overlapping some but not all of the bus? I assume you are, and have stopped just in case, but I am not sure what the actual rules are.

    • Joey 12:02 on 2024-05-10 Permalink

      I’m all for banning the worst drivers. Good luck identifying them!

      As far as the counterflow bike lanes goes, this case is a bit anomalous – the bigger risk is to the cyclists, who have to confront drivers/passengers/pedestrians who, as Meezly pointed out, may not be aware of these lanes (the paint job is consistently inadequate) and thus aren’t looking for cyclists. If you’re parked to the left of one of these lanes and there’s a car parked in front of you, it’s very difficult to see if there are oncoming cyclists as you pull out – directly into their lane. Reason enough to only implement these when absolutely necessary. Yes, Jeanne-Mance is wide north of Fairmont, but there’s no reason why the southbound bikes shouldn’t have a lane on Esplanade (with traffic) instead. The counterflow lane on Esplanade just north of St-Joseph is a great example of a bike lane being dumped on a street that is too narrow. The city’s MO and planning for bike lanes on secondary streets is really haphazard.

      @Jeather it’s only in the last five years or so that cyclists are required to stop at flashing lights. It doesn’t help that, unlike the public school buses in the neighbourhood (that have collect points on corners that kids walk to), the Hassidic school buses that run in Mile-End stop at every kid’s doorway – meaning they might make a dozen stops on one block alone. It’s a little nuts that they don’t just pick up the kids at every intersection instead of at every relevant house. Obviously a much more minor concern…

    • Blork 12:54 on 2024-05-10 Permalink

      One of the difficulties of “cycling education” is that there’s no perception among many cyclists that anything is at stake. Since you don’t need a license to ride a bicycle, there is no threat of “losing your license” and not being able to ride.

      You’re all thinking “it’s not about licensing, it’s about safety,” and you’re right. But many (not all) cyclists are oblivious to that. Most cyclists have been riding bikes since they were children, with only the most rudimentary training. Not helpful is much of the recent rhetoric that always places cyclists in the role of “victim” without any counterpoint from within regarding their responsibilities (that always comes from other people, so it is dismissed as CRAZY DRIVERS just being stupid).

      I’m saying this as a cyclist (who is also a pedestrian and occasionally a driver). Many cyclists have an acute sense of the road and they ride safely and with full situational awareness. And many are the opposite. So, so many are the opposite. They’re adults who ride their bikes the same way they did when they were eight years old, with no sense of other bicycles or vehicles, no sense that the sea of humanity does not automatically part for them.

      I saw that video. I hope the little girl is OK (she does not seem to be seriously injured, fortunately). But that cyclist on a Bixi… totally oblivious to (a) the school bus with the flashing lights, (b) the parked car on his right which very well could be (and in this case was) hiding a child about to step out from in front of it right into his lane.

      This is an error of the most basic defensive driving lessons: expect the unexpected. Even if it was not required by law to stop for the bus, just seeing a stopped bus with its lights flashing means CHILDREN ARE PRESENT and you might not be able to see them (such as if they’re stepping out from behind a parked car). So act as if there ARE children about to step in front of you. EXPECT them to.

      But this comes from driver training. There is no such bicycle training. That’s a problem and I don’t really know what the solution is.

    • Daisy 12:58 on 2024-05-10 Permalink

      In the Netherlands they have bicycle training in elementary school, or so I’ve heard.

    • Joey 14:04 on 2024-05-10 Permalink

      @DeWolf I happened to be walking on that block (Esplanade between Villeneuve and Mt-Royal) at lunchtime. Got to witness a handful of residents berating two parking agents who had just handed out $350 tickets to each car parked according to the “old” configuration (adjacent to the sidewalk, not to other side of the brand new yellow bike lane). According to the residents, they didn’t get any kind of notice that the parking rules were changing today and were upset that the city was handing out expensive tickets instead of a warning given that the apparently unannounced changeover happened this morning. Very on brand for Montreal…

      I think a standard parking ticket is about $90, presumably these ones are so much higher because it’s technically a bike lane. Also there’s a cherry-picker parked at the southern end of the block right in the bike lane, which doesn’t help matters. The ticketing agents said they were instructed by the city to check this block and are not authorized to give warnings instead of tickets. I wonder how much the city will net once each of these tickets has been contested.

    • Kevin 14:14 on 2024-05-10 Permalink

      One is how people speak, and the other is how cops speak.

      As for bad drivers, this is one of the few cases where I would be in favour of corporal punishment.

    • Blork 14:37 on 2024-05-10 Permalink

      @DeWolf, the change you describe is an improvement, but it doesn’t eliminate the problem. As you said: “Gradually these counterflow bike lanes are being changed into an arrangement where they run between the sidewalk and parked cars, which in this case would have prevented the little girl from being invisible while waiting to cross the street.”

      Yes, it would have prevented this girl in this case. But if the girl were getting off the bus instead of going to the bus (i.e., crossing the street after disembarking the bus) the same invisibility would have been there, but on the left instead of on the right.

      So an improvement, yes, but people still need to learn and understand how to cycle safely.

    • Ian 16:37 on 2024-05-10 Permalink

      The Jeanne Mance bike lane would be better if they reversed directions. The right lane is fine aas it follows the flow of traffic but the left lane is super problematic – if you are in a car (compact or sedan) with an SUV parked in front of you, you literally can’t see up the street from the driver’s side. you can see behind you with the passenger side rear view but you have to pull out into the bike lane coming at you before you can see past the vehicle infront of you. If the bike lane directions were reversed it would be easy to see oncoming bike traffic from both parking lanes. That said there’s not much to make up for bicyclists or drivers that aren’t doing their due diligence to pay attention to what’s going on around them.

      I used to live on Jeanne Mance and I would regularly see people riding down the bike path the wrong way at night, with no lights, checking their phones, blowing through the stop sign at Groll without even checking. Of course I would also see bad driving all the time, too – but it feels like most people readily talk about shitty drivers and only grudgingly admit shitty bicyclists, and if a bike hits a kid or an old person they can be seriosuly injured, too.

      Of course unlike a driver’s license there’s no mandatory bicyclist training, so it’s even more important that bicycling infrastructure be set up to protect bicyclists not only for their own sake but also for the sakes of the people around them, especially in neighbourhoods where there is a lot of traffic and pedestrian mixity.

  • Kate 09:37 on 2024-05-09 Permalink | Reply  

    The city has given a cautious nod to Hydro‑Quebec’s request to construct a new transformer station on the lot north of the Grand Bibliothèque. Promises have been made to hold an architectural competition and keep the building small.

    • Kate 09:20 on 2024-05-09 Permalink | Reply  

      A disused church in Rosemont being converted into a shelter for 30 people is not welcomed by local residents who claim they were not consulted. (I bet they were, but didn’t pay attention at the time – but this is just a guess.)

      Also reported by TVA, accompanied by a video displaying the chyron UN AUTRE EXEMPLE DE COHABITATION DIFFICILE, is the difficult cohabitation of a downtown shelter near Windsor station and a daycare next door.

      • Kate 09:14 on 2024-05-09 Permalink | Reply  

        A fatal accident on autoroute 15 in Laval provoked an epic traffic snarl Thursday morning. Police are after the driver accused of hit and run.

        Update: Friday there was news that a driver had turned himself in.

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