Updates from February, 2011 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 21:51 on 2011/02/28 Permalink | Reply  

    Quebec’s planning to pour $444 million into Montreal road repairs this year, part of the $4 billion being allotted to roads all over the province. Fifty separate sites are being planned on the island. Repairs on bridges and autoroute exchanges are included, as well as the refit of roads around the MUHC construction. In some places, stress is put on the inevitable traffic hassles, but you can’t complain about potholes and road erosion on the one hand, but then complain about repairs on the other. Here’s a time-lapse of work being done on the Champlain bridge.

     
    • Chris 22:50 on 2011/02/28 Permalink

      That $4b is just for repairs, it doesn’t even count the $3b for the new Turcot! How much are they spending on sidewalks and bike paths I wonder?

    • Carlos 00:35 on 2011/03/01 Permalink

      I remember two reports made about a decade ago on how much money was spent on roads that wasn’t offset by fees and taxes in Quebec: one by the Ministere des transports said about 500M$ a year was “overspent” and the other by a Universite de Montreal professor put it at 1B$ a year (I suppose he included all level of governments and municipal administrations). But drivers still complain that their tax money is not spent on road repairs and construction…

    • Stefan 08:54 on 2011/03/01 Permalink

      Quebec’s extensive road network seems to become unsustainable, given the high cost of repairs and the resulting bad level of maintenance. when will the first roads be closed instead of further expanding the network?

    • Chris 09:55 on 2011/03/01 Permalink

      Carlos, it’s a couple of years old, but this CAA article says that the gov spends more on road infrastructure than it collects from motorists:

      http://www.caaquebec.com/Nouvelles/Nouvelles/Nouvelles-Detail.htm?lang=en&Title=Taxes%20vers%E9es%20par%20les%20automobilistes%20au%20gouvernement%20du%20Qu%E9bec%20(ann%E9e%20financi%E8re%202008-2009)&ID=12766773-f96b-4a57-aefb-ad64c312b063

      It drives me nuts when motorists complain that they pay too much in taxes. In fact, they don’t pay enough. Pedestrian, cyclists, and public transit users are subsidizing their mode of travel by way of income and other taxes. :( And of course the CAA’s math does not account for the costs to the health care system caused by air pollution, inactivity/obesity, etc. To say nothing of climate change.

    • Stefan 10:17 on 2011/03/01 Permalink

      cyclists’ subsidies are actually enormous. an austrian study notes that while motorists subsidize their transport with 5c/km, for cyclists this is 1 euro/km! i’m cycling ~3000km/year – that’d make for a nice sum.

      note that this is not directly comparable to quebec, since in austria motorists pay already much, much more (300% more gas taxes, motor-efficiency dependent taxes, highway tax, parking taxes, luxury tax and more) while immaterial effects are not considered, or else there’d be no subsidy from motorists. in quebec, motorists deficit must be quite high.

      conclusion: we need cost transparency to lift awareness and a follow-up in taxing/credits to discourage the self-destructive behavior that we’re all more or less trapped in.

      to the people who say that they arrive much faster with their car than with other transports: sure, but you’re spending that gained time and more working off its costs.

  • Kate 08:36 on 2011/02/28 Permalink | Reply  

    Despite high hopes for Denis Villeneuve’s Incendies, neither he nor anyone else local is coming home with a certain golden statue.

     
    • David M 20:14 on 2011/03/01 Permalink

      If that’s the best we can do here in Quebec, we need to go back to the drawing board. Like seriously, film in this place is stuck in the 1990s, it’s like this assumption that the fact of being quebecois is subtlety enough to replace nuances in character, plot, development, etc. Everyone loves a good story, and it seems everyone loves to tell it histrionically.

    • Kate 09:12 on 2011/03/02 Permalink

      Well, there is a lively film industry here, but remember it’s got just one try at a foreign-language Academy Award yearly, for which there’s a massive amount of competition.

  • Kate 08:34 on 2011/02/28 Permalink | Reply  

    A couple of weeks after being sacked by the city for being too close to certain developers, an ex-manager from RDP-PAT has been hired by a developer who does business with the borough. This is the same man reported two days ago as suing the city for having been fired unfairly.

     
    • qatzelok 17:19 on 2011/02/28 Permalink

      Nice juxtaposition of two related articles. The first one (chronologically), he sues the city for wrongful dismissal and denies having been bribed with fishing trips or hunting expeditions. In the second story (the first link), he receives a golden handshake for his years of service to private contractors. Mr. Gravel displays perfect and unrepentant corruption, like a small-scale Hosni Mubarak. Bravo.

  • Kate 18:17 on 2011/02/27 Permalink | Reply  

    Roch “Moïse” Thériault, who ran an abusive cult in Quebec between 1977 and 1989, was killed in prison this weekend. He was 63 and had fathered 26 kids with nine women, one of whom he murdered. There’s been an arrest of an inmate in the New Brunswick prison where Thériault was serving his time.

     
  • Kate 18:13 on 2011/02/27 Permalink | Reply  

    Duke Snider, who after a respected baseball career became a broadcaster of Expos games, died this weekend at 84.

     
  • Kate 13:56 on 2011/02/27 Permalink | Reply  

    There’s a weather warning for tomorrow: 15 to 20 cm of snow possibly with freezing rain. Of course we had a warning a few days ago and got a light dusting, so I suspect Environment Canada was embarrassed by the storm earlier this winter in which they predicted 3-4 cm and we got walloped; now they’re over-predicting just in case.

     
    • Stefan 14:15 on 2011/02/27 Permalink

      i recently discussed with a meteorologue here (of german origin) about why it seems more difficult to predict the weather here: the network of measuring stations is much less dense (obviously) and also the united states and canada do not share weather data. i think that the relative flatness of the eastern side of the north-american continent also allows weather phenomena to move very quickly.

    • Kate 18:57 on 2011/02/27 Permalink

      Could be. I’ve noticed Environment Canada hedging their bets before, though. They often predict rain on summer days that turn out cloudlessly clear, so I suppose they may also have been slammed for failing to predict bad summer weather. Which is worse – wrongly predicting lousy weather so people stay home on a nice day? Or wrongly predicting good weather so people get drenched at a picnic?

    • Ian 09:19 on 2011/02/28 Permalink

      Another thing worth noting is that Montreal is an island, creating its own localized weather pattern. That big area of cold air over the water surrounding the warmer urban area often acts as a wedge when there’s weather rolling in – this is why they get more lightning storms in Laval and the South Shore than we do downtown. It works the same with snow, too.

    • Kevin 10:23 on 2011/02/28 Permalink

      Stefan’s comments are intriguing but I don’t think they are accurate.
      I used to share an office with a meteorologist (long story) and he said the density of weather stations across North America is pretty high, and data is shared between the US and Canada.

      Part of the job is that while we, the public, just see faceless ‘Environment Canada’ forecasts, the individual at the desk does have quite a bit to say about how to interpret the computer’s predictions — and the percentage chance of precipitation (which most people ignore) is important.

      Overall it’s a lot easier to handle Montreal that it is, say, Victoria, where they have to rely entirely on satellite info because there are no weather stations in the Pacific!

    • Stefan 12:43 on 2011/02/28 Permalink

      my earlier post was relating second-hand information.

      so research at environment canada reveals that canada and u.s. use different standards for measuring weather data, which may be the reason why sharing may be limited or not occur, while there is some pilot project to start doing that. furthermore it says that canada has 303 weather reference stations (austria has 240, at less than 1% of canada’s landmass).

      http://www.ec.gc.ca/envirozine/default.asp?lang=En&n=0F5559B9-1

      i agree that a percentage of precipitation is difficult to interpret for most people.

  • Kate 10:49 on 2011/02/27 Permalink | Reply  

    The U.S. is to unveil a commemorative plaque at the de Gaspé St. apartment inhabited by Jackie Robinson and his wife in 1946, while he was breaking the baseball colour bar here with the Royals.

    (I hope whoever’s living in the “quaint” flat now has had some warning!)

    Later: CBC has some photos up on Facebook showing the plaque and the rather odd sight of dignitaries honouring a de Gaspé Street lower duplex flat as part of history. (I wish I didn’t have to link to Facebook, but CBC Montreal’s folks really like using it, it seems.)

     
  • Kate 21:54 on 2011/02/26 Permalink | Reply  

    After 25 months of lockout, Journal de Montréal workers have voted by a small majority of 64% to accept Quebecor’s offer and go back to work. Not all are happy with this outcome.

    I will miss Rue Frontenac, which did better, less sensationalistic journalism by far than the Journal does. But it doesn’t seem to have this story yet.

    Later: Rue Frontenac acknowledges its inability to tell this story objectively so is running a piece just showing photos and links to other media outlets. That’s classy.

    I’ve also seen a tweet implying that Rue Frontenac may continue. Considering that only 62 out of the 259 Journal jobs have been preserved, that leaves a good few folks who may be able to parlay RF into a viable thing. Fagstein has some details on this and on the deal.

     
  • Kate 15:51 on 2011/02/26 Permalink | Reply  

    The Gazette has a clutch of stories about things happening at 3 a.m. in various parts of town.

     
    • Adam 17:30 on 2011/02/26 Permalink

      Now, that is some hard-hitting journalism. I think I smell a Pulitzer!

    • Kate 17:35 on 2011/02/26 Permalink

      To be fair, any daily is allowed to run background fluff on the weekend.

    • dewolf 10:37 on 2011/02/27 Permalink

      it’s entertaining and it reflects montreal’s daily life. what’s wrong with that?

    • kg 13:28 on 2011/02/27 Permalink

      Find it weird that they wrote the name of the guy who went to the strip club & his sister’s too. In the new digital age that’s practically like putting it on his Linked In resume.

  • Kate 15:18 on 2011/02/26 Permalink | Reply  

    The city’s investing in special sewage treatment to keep Lasalle from being so stinky on hot days in summertime.

     
  • Kate 12:48 on 2011/02/26 Permalink | Reply  

    Tonight is Nuit blanche. One area getting a lot of mentions is the New City Gas building in Griffintown, where a lot of events are planned: Neath has some notes and a Corridor Culturel link; there’s also a schedule of the events planned around the area. Also on Facebook.

    Radio-Canada has an interview with Parisian Christophe Girard who brought the idea of the Nuit blanche to the city; La Presse has a piece on becoming a tourist in your own city also glancing at Girard, and a piece considering some of the options; Voir looks at one show on offer; the Mirror has a listing of their favourite picks; the Gazette has a listing as well (plus an immutably classic Gazette-style deck about “a reason to stay up late and leave the house”).

    Recommended: the free Nuit blanche iPhone/iPod app, which lets you see what’s happening where and easily compile a list of things that grab you, also for Android.

    As for me, I have a wicked head cold and will need to stay home and keep my germs to myself.

     
  • Kate 12:33 on 2011/02/26 Permalink | Reply  

    Alanah Heffez snapped some excellent aerial views of the city recently; coincidentally, Zvi Leve put up some aerial shots of Bordeaux Jail and other views of the city from above.

     
  • Kate 11:51 on 2011/02/26 Permalink | Reply  

    Fagstein has a good resumé of recent shufflings in Montreal English radio.

     
  • Kate 12:56 on 2011/02/25 Permalink | Reply  

    The STM has put up a photo show on the mezzanine of Place des Arts metro to celebrate its transit workers and mark 150 years of public transit in Montreal.

     
  • Kate 12:51 on 2011/02/25 Permalink | Reply  

    Gazette runs an opinionated piece asking why this city lights up the night.

     
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