Updates from August, 2010 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 21:04 on 2010/08/31 Permalink | Reply  

    The heat wave seems to be driving a growing grumble about air conditioning in the metro as both Projet Montréal and Vision Montréal begin asking for AC in the new cars we’ll be getting along about 2015 or so, maybe.

    (This topic must be hot: I got more comments on a post about it four days ago than I usually get for this sort of thing.)

    Christian Duperron sums up the arguments on both sides and the Gazette explains how the STM is in the midst of improving metro ventilation and that the new cars should generate less waste heat than the current ones.

    • Marc 22:46 on 2010/08/31 Permalink

      I’d much rather see A/C in the buses rather than the Metro. You spend less time in the latter. The bus drivers union has been asking for it for ages.

    • zach 23:31 on 2010/08/31 Permalink

      People take so long to get onto buses I dont even think AC would work. Not to be handicapist but Ive been stuck on the 80 many times for fifteen minutes while the driver tried to open the ramp… that would surely void any AC.

    • blork 23:33 on 2010/08/31 Permalink

      But on a bus you have the possibility of catching a breeze. I spend about 90 minutes a day on the Metro, and on a day like today it is stifling. The station is hot and breezeless, the platform is hot and breezeless, and the Metro car is hot and breezeless. Just kill me now!

    • Tux 10:53 on 2010/09/01 Permalink

      I’m in favour of AC on the metro and in the buses. Some days, the bus is hell… standing for 45 minutes, sweaty smelly bodies crushed in all around you, sweat dripping down your face… it makes you want to buy a car. If we increased the comfort level on our public transport, perhaps more people would use it, resulting in a net gain in environmental cleanliness from the cars more people riding transport would get off the road…

      Obviously I have no statistics or expertise, but it seems to me anything that gets people to stop using their cars is a good thing, no?

    • Kate 11:04 on 2010/09/01 Permalink

      Tux, if you read some of the articles I’ve linked to, air conditioning on our public transit has never come very high in the list of user priorities as worked out from surveys. Not surprising it’s on everyone’s minds this week, but “anything that gets people to stop using their cars is a good thing” has to run up against what’s cost-effective. How many weeks out of the year do we really need air conditioning?

    • Suaveman 15:36 on 2010/09/02 Permalink

      The tendering of contact for metro cars is happening right now. Projet Montréal is saying: ‘Let’s add air-conditioning to the requirements, as we’ll be stuck with these cars for 50 years from now’.

      It would add approx. 2% to the cost of the wagons and would increase comfort levels to meet those of the automobile.

      Ever worn a suit in the metro during summer? A jacket in the winter? You’ll sweat through your clothes before getting to work.

    • Kate 11:59 on 2010/09/03 Permalink

      I wish I believed it was just 2%, but it’s not just that, it’s the venting of the extra heat and condensation, the cost of the extra current and so on. Better ventilation, yes yes yes. Bring on the latest technology. Not sure we need AC for a couple of heat waves a year.

  • Kate 20:40 on 2010/08/31 Permalink | Reply  

    Without even buying a ticket, the MSO will be getting $35.5 million from Loto-Québec over the next four years.

  • Kate 20:15 on 2010/08/31 Permalink | Reply  

    In a coup worthy of an Evelyn Waugh hero, Benoît Labonté is off to Burkina Faso to help the town of Kombissiri figure out its municipal government. English Wikipedia hasn’t got much about the town but French Wikipedia says it has 16,821 inhabitants and is a centre of sweet potato production.

  • Kate 07:18 on 2010/08/31 Permalink | Reply  

    Valid commentary about the incongruity of strange modern buildings being constructed within rows of vintage housing.

  • Kate 07:11 on 2010/08/31 Permalink | Reply  

    Laval transit is offering discount rides today – $1 to take a bus there because of today’s smog warning, which comes along with a high heat and humidity warning too; the Gazette notes that the city has closed its public pools just in time for this heat wave.

    • naftee 10:25 on 2010/08/31 Permalink

      Some city pools have actually been closed for a week now – probably due to the cooler weather at the beginning of last week. It really sucks that they weren’t open last weekend, though.

    • Kate 11:46 on 2010/08/31 Permalink

      I gather that one of the limiting factors is that most lifeguards are students, so the pools tend to close up when they go back to school.

    • JaneyB 13:14 on 2010/08/31 Permalink

      I think the city should keep the pools open on the weekends until it gets actually cool eg. October…student-lifeguards could probably use the money. I wish they’d promote that little restaurant at the beach in Parc Jean-Drapeau. Sometimes just being near water is nice even when it’s cool out…..

  • Kate 07:04 on 2010/08/31 Permalink | Reply  

    Andy Riga has some interesting images of the Glen Yard from its days as a railway installation to its current state as a construction site, and a sketch of how it’s meant to look when the hospital buildings are completed.

  • Kate 20:31 on 2010/08/30 Permalink | Reply  

    Devimco has unveiled its new project for Griffintown: four massive towers under the name District Griffin, a name gently mocked by Neath. Note that this is just “island one of phase one” of the transformation.

  • Kate 20:25 on 2010/08/30 Permalink | Reply  

    Nosh I
    One great thing about harvest time at the markets is that you get so many interesting variations on the standard produce items.

    Nosh II

  • Kate 19:09 on 2010/08/30 Permalink | Reply  

    Interesting piece in the Guardian about two Inuit women who do throat singing – and one of them is a Montreal woman called Segalowitz, adopted when she was a baby.

  • Kate 07:07 on 2010/08/30 Permalink | Reply  

    Interview with the young woman who runs Concordia’s new student volunteer bureau.

  • Kate 07:01 on 2010/08/30 Permalink | Reply  

    The city had a fair number of visitors for the NASCAR race on the weekend, won by American driver Boris Said, with homeboy Jacques Villeneuve coming in third.

  • Kate 06:47 on 2010/08/30 Permalink | Reply  

    Yves Boisvert does a good summary of the history of the city’s favourite roof and has hopes for the new retractable design proposed by Dessau and EllisDon.

    I’m seeing here a parallel to the Metro car situation, in which an idée fixe – a fixed steel roof, a metro on rubber tires – can suddenly be shaken by a new idea, a different kind of roof, a metro on steel wheels. Of course the long entrenched businesses that expected the contracts will fight tooth and nail, even if the new idea is both better and cheaper.

    • DC 15:37 on 2010/08/30 Permalink

      Except here, the idées fixes are reversed. It’s Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive playing Roger Taillibert: short track record, little experience, promising big results via a pricey gamble on new technology. Bombardier/Alstom might be proposing a prosaic solution, and won’t offer a hefty discount like their rival, but they are companies that are confirmedly capable of delivering something that stays up and keeps the rain out, so to speak.

      Place a bad bet on a stadium roof and you have a leaky white elephant. Lose out when letting an inexperienced firm rip up your metro system, and you have hundreds of thousands of people riding buses until the STM and ZEL are done suing each other.

    • Kate 21:23 on 2010/08/30 Permalink

      I’m not sure I buy everything you say. Zhuzhou is asking us to go back to an older technology for trains, not something untried. Rubber wheels make for a smoother ride for sure, but you probably know it also means the Montreal metro can never have sections that go outside, like many subway systems do.

      I agree it’s slightly nerve-wracking to think about the suspension of service necessary if the metro system were to be rejigged for rail, but what if it meant long-term savings over the following decades?

    • DC 02:11 on 2010/08/31 Permalink

      The point isn’t that steel rails are experimental as such, but that we’d be making a wholesale switch to a technology that the rest of the physical plant isn’t built for, all for a one-shot savings on rolling stock. There just doesn’t seem to be enough upside to justify this kind of risk.

      Rubber-tired metros can run outdoors, actually. I think the main problem with that on our system would be the way the third rail is set up, but that’s another story.

    • Tamara 10:32 on 2010/08/31 Permalink

      Kate, I don’t think the rubber tires are what impede the metro from running outside the tunnels (please take a look at the 12 lines of the metro in Mexico City). And I don’t buy the ZEL option, because it means changing A LOT of infrastructure and I think the STM has been wise to stay away from this. I would say, bring the project home, with Bombardier.

    • Kate 11:50 on 2010/08/31 Permalink

      Mexico City doesn’t get snow, for one thing. Another thing that occurs to me is the increased vulnerability of a rubber-tired system that goes outside. I’m not losing sleep over talk of terrorist attacks, but the Montreal metro was named as one of the possible targets in that recent arrest. Think about the havoc you could cause by simply dropping some home-made spikes on the bands where the wheels roll.

    • MB 17:17 on 2010/08/31 Permalink

      Kate, there are still steel rails and backup steel wheels that can support the trains in the event of tires blowing out. Also, what difference would it make to terrorists if the trains were outdoors or indoors?

      This whole thing is urban legend: the snow isn’t inherently a serious problem for rubber tires if they are designed appropriately. The same legend comes back in reference to streetcars/trams running on our roads with steel wheels. Cars, buses, and trucks seem to manage reasonably well even without rails.

      It’s really so very simple why the Montreal Metro runs entirely underground: It’s the trains and the rails, not the wheels. The trains aren’t weatherproof, and precipitation would cause problems with the third rails.

      Not to mention, ZEL was right to say that today’s steel wheel technologies can achieve the same grades and turn radii as rubber tired sets. However, they can’t do them as quickly or as quietly. Imagine how screechingly noisy and S-L-O-W the tunnel between Champ-de-Mars and Berri-UQÀM would be??? Plus…knowing that there are shale deposits in our bedrock, I’d imagine the vibrations could cause some problems…

      etc. etc. etc. ZEL is a scheister and a bully, plain and simple. They would have left us with a big bill and without a usable metro for years and years.

    • AJ 10:46 on 2010/09/01 Permalink

      Just as a point of fact, the Montreal metro doesn’t have a 3rd rail – ALL the rails are part of the circuit. The current is transmitted via the two yellow sidebars, picked up by carbon brush electrodes, and the metal rails are the return channel according to what I read recently.

      I think if we want a metro system that can bridge to the outside – notably to flatter sections of the city to the east and west of the central plateau / escarpment – the best and easiest solution is to create intermodal stations where you can change from Metro to light rail. We could create a few lines that run along existing highways (20, 40/Met, Decarie, Cote-de-Liesse), with stops and hubs connecting existing Metros with commuter rail; maybe if we teamed up via the AMT, this could become a single network for Montreal, Laval and the South Shore (also at a cost savings). Frankly, we need something like the NYC subway-rail infrastructure to tie things together more seamlessly.

    • Kate 18:36 on 2010/09/01 Permalink

      AJ, I agree with you. I wonder how much stupid infighting between the STM and the AMT, and between the metropolis and the suburbs, has happened about transit, and has blocked the development of a system such as you describe.

  • Kate 10:08 on 2010/08/29 Permalink | Reply  

    Another issue of the Montréal magazine from the Archives de Mtl: April 1966 is clearly working itself up to an Expogasm with a cover featuring the Gyrotron and a feature on aluminum at the fair, also calèches, Sir George Williams’ new “skyscraper” (the Hall building!) and Gilles Vigneault. The Gyrotron vanished from La Ronde a long time ago, but there are photos of its exterior and the same few images of the interior around.

    I also spotted a link to this page of Expo 67 postcards, since we’re being elegiac.

    • david 12:58 on 2010/08/30 Permalink

      thanks for the postcards link. just imagine if that monorail thing had been retained, one could imagine a development pattern far different from what we got.

    • Kate 15:38 on 2010/08/30 Permalink

      It does seem a shame, in retrospect, that the Expo Express wasn’t kept alive as part of a light rail link to the south shore.

  • Kate 09:52 on 2010/08/29 Permalink | Reply  

    The recent arrest of three young Muslim men on suspicion of terrorist activity is turning attention on a Brossard mosque attended by two of them and on the community around it. The alleged plot, which CSIS says was detected mostly through monitoring of internet activity, involved attacks on Parliament Hill and the Montreal metro.

    The suspect whose name comes up most directly in connection with Montreal is Dr. Khurram Sher, who studied medicine at McGill and of whom journalists have found a lot of folks with nothing but good things to say.

    It will be interesting to see what proofs CSIS has beyond the men tripping an internet alarm, but if I blog about this again it will be chiefly to follow angles directly connected with Montreal. Michael Ignatieff, for his part, stresses that they are innocent till proven guilty.

  • Kate 09:39 on 2010/08/29 Permalink | Reply  

    Sunday mornings there’s usually little hard news, but reports of accidents like an 80-year-old driver plowing into two pedestrians and incidents like a man getting bashed up on Ste-Catherine at bar closing are the usual fare.

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