Updates from May, 2011 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 21:07 on 2011/05/30 Permalink | Reply  

    Before I forget, next weekend will be Puces Pop at Saint-Enfant-Jésus along with some interesting-sounding nosh; also the Fête Éco-Bio in the environs of the Tohu (in previous years, it used to take place in August).

     
  • Kate 21:03 on 2011/05/30 Permalink | Reply  

    Story about a new tourism paradigm championed by Gilbert Rozon and buds comes up with the startling ideas that we should present Montreal as a party town, Quebec City as historic and romantic, and Charlevoix and the Gaspésie as sites of quaint villages. Also, the Mighty St. Lawrence will have to do its bit. Did somebody fob M. Rozon off with some 1950s travel brochures?

     
  • Kate 18:48 on 2011/05/30 Permalink | Reply  

    Here’s an odd thing that was pointed out on Livejournal. On Emploi-Québec’s website you can do a job search and narrow it down to various parts of Quebec including the island of Montreal, which then breaks out into neighbourhoods. So far so good. But here’s the thing: downtown Montreal is not listed. I remember using this site a couple of years ago and they had the downtown core listed, for some reason, under “Saint-Alexandre” (and it always had the highest number of job offers) but it’s gone now.

    I dropped them a line and got in return a confused phone message in which this circular reasoning was given: they don’t list downtown Montreal (or Ville-Marie, or what have you) because that is not how things are listed on the site. That’s all.

    Am I missing something here?

     
    • ant6n 19:14 on 2011/05/30 Permalink

      You may file a complaint by filling out the back of form 39-B and sending it, addressed to the hospital where you were born.

    • Stephanie 19:37 on 2011/05/30 Permalink

      I think they’re sticking all the downtown jobs under “Plateau-Mont-Royal”

    • Rich 19:58 on 2011/05/30 Permalink

      I force myself to use that site regularly and it’s one painfully amateurish piece of work. The federal government should be kicked in the shins for handing the employment portfolio to the province. One could see that move working out badly from a billion miles away.

    • Singlestar 20:46 on 2011/05/30 Permalink

      These are not “neighbourhoods” in which the jobs are located. they are the names of the Emploi-Quebec offices. Most downtown jobs would be under Sainte-Marie-Centre-Sud or Plateau.

    • Kate 20:51 on 2011/05/30 Permalink

      OK, so there used to be one on Saint-Alexandre but there isn’t any more?

      Yes, it would be nice if the site had a map, or let you search by postal code proximity, or used the city’s boroughs or some other rational system.

    • Tux 15:06 on 2011/05/31 Permalink

      Quebec’s websites are a big fail in general. Ever tried to locate the nearest CLSC? Google will serve you a lot better than the province will.

  • Kate 18:25 on 2011/05/30 Permalink | Reply  

    In Pointe Claire Monday morning a young male cyclist was badly hurt in an accident with a city bus, which had to be lifted off him.

    Tuesday morning update: the victim is out of danger although pretty seriously banged up.

     
  • Kate 17:59 on 2011/05/30 Permalink | Reply  

    MétéoMédia has made its long-term forecast for the summer months and sees a somewhat rainier season than the average but nothing outrageous in terms of temperature. Sun, clouds and occasional thunderstorms – that’s pretty much summer in Montreal.

     
  • Kate 17:54 on 2011/05/30 Permalink | Reply  

    The city plans to name delinquent landlords on its website, along the same lines as naming restaurants with serious food infractions. This is excellent: the public needs to know.

     
  • Kate 17:51 on 2011/05/30 Permalink | Reply  

    Just missing Canada Day, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are coming here July 2. The feds have even put up a website for the visit with William’s head close-cropped WAY too tight.

     
    • Chris E 19:40 on 2011/05/30 Permalink

      Also interesting is the fact that French is first until you go into the French or English site.

    • walkerp 21:27 on 2011/05/30 Permalink

      Yeah, wow, that is weird. He looks vaguely extra-terrestrial.

  • Kate 17:29 on 2011/05/30 Permalink | Reply  

    McGill is holding a poll to nominate the greatest person associated with the school and you don’t have to be a student or graduate to cast a vote.

     
    • Ian 19:26 on 2011/05/31 Permalink

      My money’s on Shatner since few people remember the likes of Sir Ernest Rutherford.

    • Kate 07:35 on 2011/06/01 Permalink

      Shatner’s doing OK but Leonard Cohen’s way ahead of him.

  • Kate 17:21 on 2011/05/30 Permalink | Reply  

    A chunk of concrete weighing 20 kg flopped off the Met this morning and by chance did not brain a passer-by or smash a windshield.

     
  • Kate 16:18 on 2011/05/30 Permalink | Reply  

    Alain Dubuc ponders what kind of bad management or lack of insight means Montrealers get worse health services, especially in terms of ER waits, than the rest of Quebec.

     
  • Kate 11:54 on 2011/05/30 Permalink | Reply  

    The head of the police major crimes unit is stepping down for reasons of health.

     
  • Kate 07:21 on 2011/05/30 Permalink | Reply  

    A brief look at what’s on at the modern art museum this summer; Sunday’s museums day was, as always, a success. I wasn’t museuming but I saw the crowded buses plying some of the routes.

     
  • Kate 07:18 on 2011/05/30 Permalink | Reply  

    A Danish urban mobility expert is to speak at the Grande Bibliothèque on Wednesday about Montreal’s potential as a cycling city.

    (Not to wet-blanket, but it might be more realistic if he had a look at this city in January, when weather and road conditions make cycling tough even for the hardiest.)

     
    • Chris 07:58 on 2011/05/30 Permalink

      A mere 2% of trips in Canada are done by bike. Before you can convince people to bike in winter, that number has to go up first.

    • Stefan 08:31 on 2011/05/30 Permalink

      cycling in +5 rain (as just a week ago) is more tough than in -5 snow (not wetting you as much, and therefore feels less cold). also, waiting for a bus which does not come in time is wayyy more tough than cycling in -30 (moving makes you cozy warm). the catch is that one generally does not realize these things before making that experience themselves (as it was for me).

      i think in general most people would like to cycle. now let’s look at why they don’t:

      perceived as dangerous: and they are right there – so that eliminates already a majority
      too long distances: urban sprawl is the problem here
      weather: we have the technology for clothes making comfortable almost any weather conditions (requires just some research and organization)
      baggage: again, many technical solutions, and carrying 10-20kg does not slow you down a lot. you just do your groceries a few times a week, on your way to work in small places, instead of planning an extra trip to the big supermarket.
      children: see baggage and danger

      so this guy is absolutely correct that the urban planners have to either be or think like cyclists, instead of treating it as a week-end country sport activity. then cycling could become a secure way of transport, in summer as in winter, which eliminates the number one problem. there would not be any developments outside the city core which could not be accessed in a convenient way be bicycle (i.e. modal combination with train or bus). all this is just more or less broken patchwork today. technical solutions to enable convenient cycling become more common knowledge and natural, the more people use them.

    • Kate 11:50 on 2011/05/30 Permalink

      Stefan, you’re keen on cycling and that’s good, but I think you’re having a smidge of seasonal amnesia here, as well as downplaying the risks of winter cycling. I have tried it, not extensively I admit, but have also talked with friends who’ve done more of it than me, and a whole lot of stuff comes to mind that you’re handwaving:
      1. Ice. Biggest issue. A bike cannot handle ice or a skid the way a heavier vehicle can. Handling ice while negotiating traffic is not going to be easy for everyone and will remain a risk for all.
      2. Narrowed cycling areas. The actual pavement accessible to a bike tire for much of the winter is only a few inches wide. The other areas of the street where a cyclist can sometimes ride or at least think of as an area out of danger will be iced or snowed up. Plow your tire into an unexpected ridge of ice and you can flip over, possibly into traffic.
      3. Visibility in snowstorms – both being seen oneself, and seeing.
      4. Salt, sand and gravel creating wear and tear on bicycle. People I know who’ve done this have sometimes had a second bike for the purpose, but add expense of second bike plus a place to store it.
      5. Bicycle is often filthy after a winter ride – if you normally bring it inside, what do you do with it? Would it be welcome on train or metro? How about when you get to work?
      6. Expense of extra winter clothes (see filth, above), studded tires or other special winter stuff for bike.
      7. No bike paths, and back alleys are not cleared either.

      There are probably other issues, but it’s not the easy breezy thing you’re making out.

      NB Bixi is taken off the streets for at least four months a year because of these reasonable concerns.

    • Stefan 12:52 on 2011/05/30 Permalink

      kate: i tried to highlight two not so obvious things. but you’re right in that 1) there’s some things i’ve blended out in this nice weather, 2) experience of four winters give me a different perspective. i will try to look at these points as objectively as i can (relying also on experiences of others from this year’s CIBL winter cycling community):

      1. i find that riding on snow (especially if tracks already exist, or re-frozen) is actually the biggest constant issue for beginners, it needs some balancing (gripping the handlebars very tightly), but it becomes effortless after some time. the problem with ice is that it comes unexpected. i may have learned to reduce my speed intuitively where it is likely to be icy (anyway much slower in winter), especially when turning. also i have very large tires which seems to help. however, once the streets are ploughed and salted and cars have passed for some time, there’s very rarely ice.
      2. that’s what took me some time and courage: cycling in a narrow/non-existing passage between snow heaps and fast passing cars is dangerous, period. there’s two options: block a full lane in the (dry) street (takes courage and experience), or hop on the sidewalk
      3. i find that visibility is less an issue if you don’t take for granted that anyone will see you (also because of reduced speed, especially if you don’t see yourself, but that’s rare)
      4. you’re completely right there of course. personally, i leave one bike outside, in a place safe from the sidewalk tanks, except when a thaw/freeze cycle is predicted (to avoid having to torch the lock). in the spring i do major tune-ups, as well as 1-2 minors as needed during the winter.
      5. bringing it in: well you need space, and put it on some towels to avoid leakage. generally it is not good for tires, or rust, because of the repeated drastic temperature change. train: no. metro: never needed it, but in theory ok.
      6. depends on your style. for me not a big deal, since i put over-clothes which i shed when arriving at work, i don’t need to be formally dressed, which is an advantage there. wool clothes (or merino) are recommended because they’re fantastic against sweating, but can be expensive. upgrading to metal-spiked tires is imho not worth it if you already have large tires (mountainbike/hybrid). but compare it to not paying for a stm pass …
      7. about half of the bike paths network is usable in the winter, depends where you go.

      so, danger comes almost exclusively from car coexistence. i feel that spring is the most dangerous season though.

      it’s just more effort to transport oneself in the winter in montreal, regardless of the means.

      there is also some learning curve involved to satisfactory winter cycling: mechanical problems, finding a secure way to pass a certain route/weather condition, clothing. all of which can bring you quickly to a stop and giving up. i found the online communities very helpful for that, also for motivation :-)

      i’m also curious how toronto bixi will fare: their network will be open all winter. is their climate so much different?

    • qatzelok 14:17 on 2011/05/30 Permalink

      Biking in the winter is no big deal. You have to forget “the rules” a bit for safety reasons, and bike on the sidewalks, go slower than usual, and wear a flourescent vest for visibility. I’ve been biking all winter, every day, for the last six years. It’s fun when you get used to it (it takes one season) and it has the added advantage of prolonging a feeling of summer all year round. I try to deal with some of the problems on by snobike blog, though I am more interested in the politics of biking than the mechanics.

    • SMD 16:08 on 2011/05/30 Permalink

    • Chris E 19:52 on 2011/05/30 Permalink

      They do get less snow than us but Denmark does have harsh winters and still ride their bikes almost as much as they do in the summer as this photo demonstrates: http://mountanalogue.tumblr.com/post/1658810190/n-rrebrogade-afternoon-by-mikael

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