Updates from May, 2024 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 21:31 on 2024-05-27 Permalink | Reply  

    TVA, pursuing the theme of ticketing, claims that a lot of cyclists burn red lights along what the headline describes as “Valérie Plante’s REV”.

    • Nicholas 23:22 on 2024-05-27 Permalink

      The most cycling tickets are given along the corridors with the most cyclists, surprise! But what’s actually surprising, again, is that the TVA article (rather than the headline) is pretty good: the complaints given are that the lights are synchronized for cars not bikes, and the light cycles are really long. If you made the light cycles just long enough for pedestrians to cross the street, you could shorten the overall cycle time and you’d get much shorter reds. But we make the cycles long to process many cars through the intersection, as they take up more space so take more time to clear. Note that they do synchronize the lights on Boyer in Rosemont/Villeray for cyclists in the rush hour direction, so it can be done.

      Another thing you can do is to put the lights for cars and bikes before the intersection (at the stop line), rather than after. It causes people to actually wait at the stop line rather than inch forward into the crosswalk during the red, because if you move forward you can’t see the light. Second, it means you can’t see the lights for others (from other directions and from other modes), so it’s harder to run a red because you don’t know as well who has the green. This is especially true for bikes, and both are helpful for keeping pedestrians safe.

    • MarcG 06:39 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

      Nicholas: Do you have a visual representation of what’s described in the 2nd paragraph?

    • Ian 08:08 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

      They havs that configuration in “downtown” TMR. IT seems pretty effective.

    • Meezly 10:01 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

      I don’t drive and I’ve had to take taxis recently. During non-rush hour with not that much traffic, it still takes a long time to get across town because the timing of the lights was just awful. We kept hitting reds at every intersection! It didn’t seem synchronized very well at all! Maybe it was timed better for rush hour traffic?

    • Bert 10:23 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

      The TMR solution is FANTASTIC! Not only are they synced, not only is it actually posted, but it is actually configured and operates as posted. When I go through there I can confidently set my cruise control to 40 and figuratively close my eyes. I have also seen a posted “synced to 50 (or 60)” on Pierrefonds Blvd, (between Charles and Jean, IIR) but the timing was not right and I would pick up reds all the time.

      The other solution is to dynamically evaluate traffic and have dynamic control of the lights. I recently heard a report saying that a city would only need to sample about 6% of cars (i.e. live speed / position data), pump it through some AI and have the AI change lights as required.

    • Ian 11:45 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

      Yeha it’s actually really pleasing to go 39 along Rockland and watch all the beemers and audis race each other to the next stoplight haha

    • Ephraim 13:56 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

      The lights in Montreal can’t be synced because we are the world’s largest repository of mechanical lights, when everyone else has gone electronic. When the world was going electronic, Montreal was buying up their used mechanical lights

      The REV goes through several protected cross walks. Cars have finally learnt to stop to let pedestrians cross…. but cyclists can’t be bothered for the most part.

    • Ian 14:05 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

      Even regular crosswalks, to be fair. Day after that kid got plowed on Jeanne Mance I was on my way driving to work on Van Horne and saw a bicyclist almost run over a Hassidic guy crossing the street at a light, I honked at him and he just gave me the finger & yelled kesk’t’VEUT Like, didn’t even slow down or dodge the pedestrian. Crazy.

    • CE 15:13 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

      Bogotá, Colombia has the lights Nicholas is describing. I kind of hated them, if you were at the front of the line, you were always looking up at the lights, I never got used to them. Here’s an example of an intersection with traffic lights.

    • Joey 15:47 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

      The Rockland approach makes sense in large part because there aren’t any significant cross streets on that stretch (between Cote de Lisse and Jeant-Talon). Kudos, I suppose, to TMR for figuring out how to move lots of traffic through a residential area that doesn’t create major bottlenecks or traffic jams, but cross-traffic is minimal. Compare with the traffic on the other side of the train tracks, where all those cars wind up in Outremont – things can get very slow there, largely because Van Horne is a major street with lots of vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

      Anyway, at some point we decided we’ll never upgrade our old and out-of-production traffic light system in favour of a proper grid that doesn’t require police officers to intervene the moment a construction project causes a traffic jam. A more cynical person would argue that the way our construction projects are managed provides great benefit first and foremost to the mob and, just behind, the police.

    • DeWolf 17:38 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

      I posted a couple of comments here with links to what Nicholas was describing but I think they got caught in the auto-moderation.

      The Bogotá example isn’t ideal because the lights are on the far side of the crosswalk, even if they’re on the near side of the street. Go look at Google Street View in almost any European city to see what Nicholas is talking about. The lights are on the stop line, which is well before the crosswalk.

    • MarcG 06:13 on 2024-05-29 Permalink

      Thanks, DeWolf, the Bogotá example didn’t make sense to me. This certainly seems like a smarter way to do it.

    • Nicholas 13:07 on 2024-05-29 Permalink

      Sorry, I had posted a link too but it got eaten. You csn find these at essentially every intersection in the Netherlands. Since it’ll eat a comment with a link, just pick any and you’ll see the bike and car lights at the stop line. You often see lights on vertical poles about 10 feet off the ground, and little mini lights 4 feet high for the first cyclist so they don’t have to arch their head. Pedestrian lights are on the far side usually because because there are often two stage crossings (with an island in the middle) so you want it to be clear which light is for which leg.

      Another option, of course, is roundabouts. No lights at all! I just discovered the first I’ve ever seen on-island: at the Technopark at Marie Curie and Alfred Nobel. Been there since at least 2007.

  • Kate 21:28 on 2024-05-27 Permalink  

    A cardboard cutout of Benjamin Netanyahu was seen dangling from McGill’s Roddick gates Sunday. (CTV says it was “allegedly on display” but there are photos.)

    • Kate 19:23 on 2024-05-27 Permalink | Reply  

      Another murder trial is in Monday’s news. Hosea Amorus Puhya is accused of murdering his ex‑wife Gisèle Itale Betondi in September 2022. More background on this grim story.

      • Kate 14:12 on 2024-05-27 Permalink | Reply  

        April 2016, a man entered a Maxi store in St‑Michel and stabbed to death 20‑year‑old employee Clémence Beaulieu‑Patry. A year and a half later, Randy Tshilumba was convicted of murder in the first degree.

        A new trial was ordered in 2022 on the basis that the judge in the first trial, Hélène di Salvo, had given confusing directions to the jury.

        The new trial is now under way.

        I don’t know what new outcome anyone expects here, as everyone agrees Tshilumba committed the deed. His state of mind may be relevant but he was already convicted and locked up.

        • Kate 13:54 on 2024-05-27 Permalink | Reply  

          Concordia’s president is blaming the CAQ for its new rules meaning the university loses enrolment numbers and has to cut its budget. I never know with reports like this how much of such a cut is actually needed, vs how much is theatre.

          • JaneyB 08:01 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

            I’m wondering how Legault’s measure isn’t a violation of minority language rights. Even some of the provisions in the original Bill 101 were struck down by the Supreme Court. Not everything can be circumvented by the Notwithstanding Clause it seems. Is the current situation just Federal fear of waking the sovereignty dragon by nailing Quebec on its violations or maybe it is permissable? I think there’s a lawyer amongst the regular readers here…Robert?

          • Ian 09:09 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

            Maybe H John?

          • Kevin 10:12 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

            McGill and Concordia are challenging the cuts by saying they are deliberately designed to inflict harm.

            However all court action takes an incredibly long amount of time in Canada, so we’ll probably have another election before a resolution.

          • bob 17:18 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

            It works like this, roughly. Most university expenses are essentially fixed costs (mainly salaries). Most university funding is based on a grant from the Quebec government based on how many credits are enrolled, and in what programs (veterinary school is very expensive compared to, say, creative writing). So, when enrollment goes down, it means that income goes down, but costs remain mostly the same. 1200 fewer students means a drop of something like $20-25 million off the bat (maybe more?), not counting the other decreases (funding is biased toward the francophone schools in many ways). But 1200 fewer students does not mean you can cancel classes, because those 1200 are distributed across the calendar to many, many classes. A prof teaching 37 students costs the same as a prof teaching 36 students, but the university gets something like $1000 less for that class. (My figures are off but I think the same order of magnitude – the actual calculations are complicated). Concordia already has a deficit of something like $35 million.

            In sum, the cuts are needed, probably overdue, and very serious.

        • Kate 12:16 on 2024-05-27 Permalink | Reply  

          Linda Gyulai reported last week in the Gazette that Montreal is unusual in Canada for not offering a property tax break to nonprofit housing.

          • Nicholas 13:36 on 2024-05-27 Permalink

            Good. Everyone who lives here benefits from city services largely paid for by property taxes. Let’s stop the exemptions and differential price structure and tax all property at the same rate (or, better yet, tax all land, and at the same rate). Simple, easy, efficient. Then if we decide that certain groups deserve grants we can create those. Why should we only give tax exemptions to people living in non-profit housing, or some students, rather than based on income? It’s better and fairer to just give money to people with low incomes, rather than an indirect subsidy to those that supply housing to a small subset of those people.

          • jeather 14:25 on 2024-05-27 Permalink

            It’s surely not a worse rebate when given to low-income housing than to religious institutions.

          • Nicholas 23:31 on 2024-05-27 Permalink

            jeather, absolutely agree with religious institutions, and all the other exemptions (educational institutions, etc.). Also some independent cities charge higher taxes if you live in a 6+ unit apartment building than if you live in buildings with fewer units, so a $2-million dollar mansion pays a lower rate than a six-plex where each unit is worth $334,000.

          • jeather 12:12 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

            I have no opinion about property tax exemptions — I haven’t looked into it at all — but I do think that given there are exemptions for shelters etc, there should be exemptions for low-income housing. The higher taxes per multi family dwelling is remarkably mistaken about costs.

        • Kate 10:16 on 2024-05-27 Permalink | Reply  

          A particularly nasty case saw guilty pleas in court last week from a mother and daughter who kept a young woman in their house in slavery, starving and prostituting her.

          • DeWolf 10:42 on 2024-05-27 Permalink

            The mother and daughter are also awaiting trial for another case of human trafficking? And the mother was charged with organizing a $2.5 million fraud but got off because of an arrêt Jordan. Wow.

          • Meezly 12:05 on 2024-05-27 Permalink

            Meeting new people and finding roommates on TikTok – what could go wrong?

          • JP 19:57 on 2024-05-27 Permalink

            I don’t know…is meeting a person on Tik Tok any different than meeting someone on Bumble or something. Even if you used Tik Tok….I wouldn’t ever imagine anything devolving to this level. These women who did this are beyond depraved. I had a hard time reading that article…and see no need in being facetious about it.

          • Kate 22:28 on 2024-05-27 Permalink

            I don’t think Meezly was being facetious. It’s not victim-blaming to observe that the young woman’s nightmare may have begun with a single unwise decision.

          • jeather 13:32 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

            We all make lots of unwise decisions every day, but mostly they don’t end with being enslaved for 6 months.

          • MarcG 13:53 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

            Kate you really need to do a calendar this year, or at least an end of year “best of comments” list.

        • Kate 10:13 on 2024-05-27 Permalink | Reply  

          Pursuing its theme of ticketing, TVA finds that cyclists got more tickets last year, particularly for ignoring red lights.

          • Ephraim 10:16 on 2024-05-27 Permalink

            They could pay their budget with a few days on Prince Arthur. Which is annoying as they built an entire protected bicycle lane on Avenue des Pins, so that the people from the Villa Maria readaptation centre can hobble along and get their exercise on Prince Arthur

          • bumper carz 10:49 on 2024-05-27 Permalink

            The sidewalk is the same width that it was before the parking was removed in order to enlarge the bike network, and wheelchair-bound people can use this link to get around.

            80% of Montrealers drive, and they defend their parking privileges by mentionning “victims” of bike paths that are not themselves. It’s a car company tactic – astroturfing.

          • Daniel 10:59 on 2024-05-27 Permalink

            bumper carz, we prefer the term “confined to wheelchairs” /s

            (or even “wheelchair users/people who use wheelchairs” maybe?)

          • DeWolf 11:03 on 2024-05-27 Permalink

            As someone who gets around mostly by bike it really irritates me to see the bad behaviour of some other cyclists. I was riding behind a middle-aged woman on St-Denis last week and she cut off pedestrians on three different occasions, including one instance when I was already stopped and she flew past me just as a woman was about to step into the crosswalk. I caught up with her at a red light, on Roy, and was tempted to confront her, but she zoomed off and ran the red (of course) before I could say anything.

            That said, I have no doubt that at least some of those SPVM tickets are for red lights that get ignored because they make no sense. For example, there are a number of intersections that have bicycle lights that turn red to give priority to cars turning right across the bike path. Northbound St-Denis/Bellechasse and northbound Peel/William are two examples. Except both of those intersections are with one-way westbound streets where cars simply cannot turn right. The programming of the lights is not tailored to the intersection. If you follow the lights as you are legally obligated to, you have just a few seconds to proceed on your bike before the bike light turns red while the light for cars stays green for what feels like another minute. If you know the intersection and know that there’s no danger of cars turning, there’s no reason you wouldn’t proceed.

            There is also an overabundance of traffic lights in Montreal at intersections where they really shouldn’t exist. Pine/Henri-Julien, for instance. Or de Gaspé at its intersections with Beaubien and St-Zotique. These seem to be legacy lights from the days when four-way stops were extremely rare and traffic engineers had selected random little sidestreets to serve as thoroughfares to relieve traffic on major arteries. When you’re on a bike at a red light on a tiny street with no traffic, I certainly get the temptation to go through.

          • steph 12:14 on 2024-05-27 Permalink

            I never understood why cyclists wouldn’t lose demerit points for cycling infractions while a passenger not wearing a seat belt is subject to demerit points.

            Fines for cyclists should be more harsh – they’re not deterring anyone. (last week, in my car doing a full stop, I watched a cyclist with a phone in hand drive straight into the back of my car. The cyclist even admitted to the police they were distracted by their phone. No insurance. Damage to my vehicle. uuugh)

          • Kate 12:17 on 2024-05-27 Permalink

            Where do lost demerit points go if you don’t have a drivers licence?

          • jeather 14:12 on 2024-05-27 Permalink

            They create a shadow account for you and it goes on that account, waiting for you if you get a license. I assume they also fall off after 2 years from the offense, not two years from the day you get a license, but I do not know for sure.

            Cyclists used to get demerit points, but they removed that, I believe the SAAQ lost a court case.

          • steph 14:38 on 2024-05-27 Permalink

            I got a seat belt ticket when I was 15. They issued the lost demerit points when I got my license at ~16, and the loss counted starting the moment my license was issued. I considered it cruel at the time, getting my learners with only 1 of the 3 points… It was what it was.

          • Blork 17:44 on 2024-05-27 Permalink

            Bicycles will always occupy a grey area when it comes to regulations and law enforcement. After all, kids are riding around on bicycles at six or seven years old. There will likely come a day when age factors in, such as once you turn 14 or 16 then maybe some regulations are enforceable, but there are so many variables involved, and a lot of difficulty enforcing.

            One place to start that might be if you’re riding a bicycle and you cause an accident or otherwise do harm or damage, then you are held responsible for it (assuming you are 14+ or 16+, whatever). This might create something of a “bicycle rider’s insurance” industry, or at least make people more cautious as they are schooled on the consequences of reckess cycling.

            For example, Steph says that a cyclist rear-ended his car and caused damage. That cyclist should be held responsible for fixing the damage, no different than if they had picked up a stick and started smashing it against the car.

            On the other hand, there also needs to be flexibility. Ticketing cyclists who blow through red lights AND THEREBY CREATE A HAZARD ought to be done. But ticketing a cyclist who crawls through a red light at a small intersection where there is no traffic (as DeWolf describes)? That’s just stupid. But how do you define the law that says when there is no traffic it’s tolerable, but when there is traffic it is not? How much traffic is “traffic?” (Hence the grey area I mentioned at the top.)

          • Blork 17:58 on 2024-05-27 Permalink

            Incidentally, my casual observation from many years of cycling is that the worst cyclists are (a) teenage boys, as most teenage boys are less sophisticated than wild monkeys when it comes to impulse control and responsible behaviour, and (b) old men; in particular, old men who appear to have not cycled much since they were kids and are now puttering around on a bicycle, probably for health reasons.

            That second category is quite the phenomenon. I see these old guys who literally ride their bikes like it’s 1962 and they are nine years old. They just go where ever they want, and they assume the entire world’s focus is on clearing a path for them. As if all cars drivers have “don’t hit the cyclist” as their highest motivation at any moment (that would be nice, but FFS don’t count on it). You see them riding the wrong way against traffic. You see them riding on sidewalks when there’s a bike path RIGHT THERE next to them. I want to yell “CYCLING IS DIFFERENT NOW!” at them.

            Fortunately most old men aren’t that way. Over here in Longueuil the typical senior citizen cyclist is puttering along on an electric bike (slowly), usually with his spouse puttering along next to him on a matching electric bike. It’s cute. They obey all the rules. They don’t speed. They stay on the bike paths.

          • bumper carz 18:58 on 2024-05-27 Permalink

            Many drivers kill people with their cars without losing demerit points.

            Many drivers kill people, and this is why you can’t compare these dangerous machine-weapons to shoes or bicycles.

            I don’t like the behavior of some cyclists, just like DeWolf, but I detest the behavior of all automobilists because it kills so many people.

            “Killing lots of people” really stands out for me. I guess that’s because I’m not a car-addict like most.

          • carswell 19:32 on 2024-05-27 Permalink

            Agreed that a large number of cyclists are thoughtless and disrespectful of everyone except themselves. Younger people of both sexes seem to be the worst offenders, possibly for obvious reasons: not much if any driving experience; having often learned to cycle on quiet suburban streets where, until recently, few bike paths existed; and the sheer numbers of them.

            Something that could be done relatively quickly and affordably is a public education/awareness campaign, which the SPVM’s festival de contraventions approach isn’t. This could take the form of public service commercials on TV that explain proper/improper and safe/unsafe behaviour, spell out the rules of the road. Longer videos could be shown in schools. (Disclaimer: I rarely watch anything but movies on TV — yesterday I switched on the tail end of the Radio Canada evening newscast, the first non-movie since last summer — and I haven’t asked any teachers or students about it, so maybe stuff like this is already being done.)

            That said, this is a city of asshole drivers irrespective of the vehicle they’re steering. Yesterday, on the Lachine canal path, a dad on an e-bike towing a kid trailer and with his partner and another kid following was travelling at a moderate clip. He obviously didn’t want anyone in front of him because, when someone tried, he’d speed up until they fell back behind.

            At the dangerous pass under the 20 on St-Jacques between VSP and Lachine, I was crossing the Gowans Ave. offramp on a green when a cyclist waiting on the other side suddenly placed his bike across the very narrow entrance to the path, blocking it and forcing me to stop in the middle of the busy street (I suspect it wasn’t intentional, just his being oblivious to anyone except himself).

            Parents have a role to play in this too: on the René-Lévesque Park path, a family was biking with their 6 or 7-year-old on an mini e-bike in front swerving in and out of his lane and presenting a hazard to passing cyclists; the parents appeared to think it was cute.

            I’ll spare you the rant about car and truck drivers who view the paths as temporary parking spaces or the car owners who sweep the yard trimmings and trash from their property onto the path, often in large piles.

            But, hey, police! Expecting cyclists not to engage in Idaho stops is asinine. I refuse to expose myself any more than absolutely necessary to traffic on the southbound Décarie service road and will turn right onto Isabella on a red in a flash. On Isabella, I’ll also cross Coolbrook on a red if there’s no traffic because the next block, narrow and with parking on both sides, feels like a deathtrap when there are cars in my lane. It’s also good for motorists since I’m not slowing them down, blocking their way.

            I’ve been meaning to time my trips out to Lachine: once Idaho-stopping all the way and once coming to a full stop at every stop sign and stoplight and dismounting and pushing the bike as signs ridiculously instruct at various points. Maybe this’ll be the summer that happens. If I do, I’ll post the results somewhere.

          • CE 22:15 on 2024-05-27 Permalink

            I’ve been noticing a lot of pedestrians obliviously standing in bike paths lately. The other day, a guy was standing right in the middle of the bidirectional path on Berri to take a photo. He seemed annoyed that I yelled for him to watch out.

            For cyclists, the worst is these guys (always 20ish men for some reason) riding their bikes while looking at their phones. I saw a guy swerving around on a quiet path while looking at his phone. I slowly rode towards him wondering when he would notice. He did at the last minute, fell off his seat and his phone and sunglasses went flying. He mumbled “my bad” as if someone might think it was anyone else’s fault but his own.

          • Nicholas 00:54 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

            jeather, the SAAQ/government won that case, retaining the ability for certain offences by cyclists to count for demerit points. It was the 2018 Highway Safety Code changes to section 110 that ended up exempting cyclists and pedestrians from receiving demerit points. (I didn’t know it no longer applied until today, thanks for the update! And I’m mostly including links for my own reference.)

          • jeather 10:26 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

            Oh, that’s interesting, I wonder why they changed it if they lost the case. (I think it’s probably correct not to get demerit points for non-car infractions.) I appreciate the links.

          • Kevin 11:02 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

            I know I’m callous because I think when you’re discussing deaths and injuries you need to look at numbers and ignore feelings.

            About 365 people die in Quebec each year while on the road. Most of those people are inside the car that crashes.

            Meanwhile even though more people are in vehicles, and we have more vehicles on the road each year, the number of drivers in an injury-causing crash is slowly dropping year after year.

            People should and could be safer and more responsible when driving, and the evidence says that the overwhelming majority are doing that, even if it’s only through attrition.

          • jeather 12:09 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

            200 pedestrians are seriously injured and almost 2000 lightly injured a year in car accidents, and 75 are killed.

          • Nicholas 13:17 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

            jeather, I don’t know the specific impetus for this change, but the 2018 law was a really wide-ranging, long, open process. I know some people in the bicycle and pedestrian activist community who went to Quebec City for consultations. People said it really was treated like a once in a generation update, where anything was on the table if people could make the case for change. Everyone had their asks, everyone had to compromise, and I get the impression they weren’t going to make many changes again for a decade or two, as in this is a settled file for a while. So even though the government legally had the right to give out points, I assume consensus was it wasn’t a high priority or preferred policy.

          • Ian 13:23 on 2024-05-28 Permalink

            Just can’t resist sea-lioning, eh qatzi?

            Back on topic …

            In 1992-ish one of my classmates got stopped by a cop for riding his bike the wrong way down Crescent on his way to class. The only ID he had was his driver’s license, which he showed. The cop said “Too bad you used that as ID because now you’ll get demerits” but my friend had drugs on him and didn’t want to risk being taken in to the station if he didn’t show ID, so he sucked it up.

            Am I correct in understanding that he woudl have gotten demerits anyway since he is a license holder? Was the cop just messing with him?

        • Kate 10:11 on 2024-05-27 Permalink | Reply  

          The STM has made a plan to reduce expenses till 2029 and look for more ways of increasing revenue.

          • Kate 09:28 on 2024-05-27 Permalink | Reply  

            The SPVM is so short-handed that it’s persuading retired officers to come back to work. The idea of a reservist corps is borrowed from the RCMP.

            • Kate 08:52 on 2024-05-27 Permalink  

              UQAM has had its request for an injunction against its Gaza encampment partially approved by a judge: a two-metre space must be clear around buildings, doors and windows must be unobstructed, and surveillance cameras as well. QMI headlines this as a victory for the university but it’s hardly that.

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