Updates from November, 2011 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 22:28 on 2011/11/30 Permalink | Reply  

    Some people from a defunct municipal party called Parti Ville LaSalle have joined up with Projet Montréal. They didn’t succeed in getting anyone elected in 2009 though, so Projet gets no additional councillors from this move.

  • Kate 22:12 on 2011/11/30 Permalink | Reply  

    February’s Lumière fest is to spotlight plucky little Belgium and various local stars will also contribute concerts culminating with a closing ensemble concert that’s a hommage to Jacques Brel. Also the fries with mayo, no doubt.

  • Kate 19:43 on 2011/11/30 Permalink | Reply  

    Mayor Tremblay says the average 3% property tax hike for 2012 is reasonable, allowing the city to keep up its services while respecting taxpayers’ ability to pay. A homeowner with a building evaluated at $348,000 will have to pay $95 more next year. The press release goes into detail about how the budget manages to cover the city’s needs while not ballooning out of sight. Quotes from various media on OpenFile, dissection by Quel Avenir.

    • William 11:43 on 2011/12/01 Permalink

      Yeah, well next year my car is going to have to pay an extra $75 in Plateau property tax for the 9 square metres it occupies, so in comparison, that does sound reasonable.

    • Chris 21:18 on 2011/12/01 Permalink

      William, what is in fact unreasonable is how little private citizens are charged to store their private property (car) on public land (parking space).

    • William 21:52 on 2011/12/01 Permalink

      Chris – I totally agree! And for that matter, I actually think that private parking is also too cheap, especially when the land is wasted for surface lots when it could be used for housing, offices, studios or manufacturing.

  • Kate 19:35 on 2011/11/30 Permalink | Reply  

    There was some upset with how police “branded” some indignés with UV ink while clearing them from Victoria Square last week. Police justify this as marking certain individuals who were told to leave the area, so they would be identifiable if they returned.

  • Kate 11:51 on 2011/11/30 Permalink | Reply  

    An entrepreneur has come up with the idea of a tunnel from Saint-Lambert to Île Notre-Dame which would create a new link to the city via the Concorde bridge. It’s a thought, but was that bridge designed to take the pounding of a regular rush hour? And what happens to the island if it’s part of this proposed commuter link?

    Here’s the idea on the developer’s own site.

    • Bert 13:05 on 2011/11/30 Permalink

      This might be as bad an idea as I originally thought. In the morning the extra bandwidth should move some of the traffic from the south-shore side of the Victoria bridge entrance in to Montreal, though it still dumps it in to the Bridge-Wellington west-old-montreal area. In the evening it should move some of the traffic from the Montreal side through the wider pipeline available. For all intents, this is adding a lane or two to the Vic.

      The extra wear-and-tear to the Concorde must be evaluated, however, perhaps the extra visitors to the Casino might help pay for the maintenance.

    • Faiz Imam 01:04 on 2011/12/01 Permalink

      This fever dream proposes that 25,000 cars a day will use the tunnel.

      Such a volume cannot cross ile Notre-Dame without constructing a bona fide 4-6 lane limited access road. Also a new interchange would have to be build around existing parks along the St-Lambert side. So “contaminating green spaces” is right on.

      This ironically comes on the same day as Quebec and Ottawa announce $70 million over the next 15 years to protect the St. Lawrence River.

      “The St. Lawrence Action Plan will focus on protecting biodiversity, promoting sustainable use of the river and improving water quality.”

  • Kate 11:43 on 2011/11/30 Permalink | Reply  

    Fascinating bit of Montreal’s history here: the Jewish anarchists and the Yom Kippur Ball.

  • Kate 11:23 on 2011/11/30 Permalink | Reply  

    Public transit in the Montreal area has never been so popular – and never been so broke. OpenFile asks why the STM doesn’t sell any swag.

    • Bert 06:56 on 2011/12/01 Permalink

      Maybe when they decommission the MR-63s and MR-73s they could sell the seats, like they did at the Forum. Otherwise, the stainless steel poles would make for good railing.

      I wonder if the swag would cost more for those buying in Laval and Longueuil?

    • Kate 09:36 on 2011/12/01 Permalink

      Heh. Good point.

    • Chris 21:21 on 2011/12/01 Permalink

      And yet we have $3 billion for Turcot!

  • Kate 00:47 on 2011/11/30 Permalink | Reply  

    It’s not difficult to sit down with a city map and suggest new metro stations and lines, but making the best sense of them is another matter.

    Marc Dufour has a page about the city’s prediction in 1967 of the grandiose metro system foreseen for 1982 (massive PDF file) and Matt McLauchlin of the Montreal by Metro site has a page showing the evolution of ideas for the metro from 1944 onward.

    This Canoe blogger has come up with an ambitious one (although it ignores the option of stretching further into Laval or Longueuil) and McLauchlin proposes this complicated layout. Both these maps include a second north-south line that would visit Mile End, and both also provide better service to the northern edge of the island than we have now.

    McLauchlin also has a simpler map showing extensions proposed by various transit entities. (We were told by the STM guide during the Un métro la nuit event that the only extension being taken seriously right now is the blue line to Anjou.)

    About a year ago, Taylor Noakes posted three other extension maps (it’s not clear where he found them) with his commentary.

    Almost all these fantasy maps show too many lines, as if someone had overdosed on New York, London, Paris or Tokyo subway maps and tried to reproduce their density here. But we only have a population of 3 million and some of the areas served by the maps are far too thinly populated to make sense of digging tunnels at great expense to reach them.

    Dufour comments on Noakes’ page that maybe the metro should never have been built at all: this city had a vital tram network till the 1950s and if we’d updated that and kept it running, it would be the envy of other cities by now.

    This is always going to be the problem: political and economic pressures distort the more common-sense solutions staring us in the face. Metro lines will go where voters are, not where simple need dictates. Suburban mayors will agitate for metro stations because it’s “their turn.” Fashions and trends will come into play and industries will pressure cities to make changes that will be profitable for them – after all, someone convinced the 1950s administration that trams were passé and all the cool cities were switching over to buses.

    And I ask again: what are we doing now that people will look back on from 2060 and shake their heads and say “How could they have been such idiots?”

    • ant6n 02:12 on 2011/11/30 Permalink

      Barcelona – 3~4 Million in metro area – 124km subway, >200km? of electrified surface rail

      Berlin – 3.5~4 Million in metro area – 150km subway, 330km of electrified surface rail (with 20min service or better)

      Munich – 2.5 Million in metro area – 100km subway, 400km of electrified surface rail

      Montreal — 3~3.5 Million in metro area – 70km subway, 31km of electrified surface rail

      Montreal is doing well compared to many other cities of its size; but it’s still far behind the better transit cities in its size category. Even doubling the Metro network might not be completely crazy, if it could be paid for. Although electrifying/separating surface rail is much more cost-effective.

      Also, those European transit cities tend to build lines much more focussed on cost-benefits and ridership projections – so it is possible to do that.

    • David Tighe 09:24 on 2011/11/30 Permalink

      Not completely electrifying the suburban train system while having a surplus of cheap electricity

      At the same time using the labour that could have done this to build an already obsolete highway interchange in an urban area

      Extending a metro system underground through low-density suburbs when alternatives maybe ten times cheaper exist

      Planning a major urban hospital without taking account of public transport and pedestrian access

    • James 10:10 on 2011/11/30 Permalink

      You said it David!

    • Michael 11:17 on 2011/12/02 Permalink

      I love looking at fantasy metro maps, and although I’m not a huge metro user myself, I feel strongly that although there are other, less expensive solutions, the only long-term solution that makes real sense is digging metro lines, not tramways on Park Ave or whatever.

      That said one common thing I notice is a lack of consideration for the places where people want to go in these new maps. For instance, a solution that doesn’t include a station inside the Casino doesn’t make much sense – it probably gets more day-visitors than anywhere else in Montreal. Likewise for PET/Dorval – any new metro (including surface metro) plans that don’t connect to the airport just doesn’t make much sense to me.

    • Urban Legend 11:51 on 2014/08/11 Permalink

      Take me where I want to go via this ultimate subway map.
      Food service and restrooms will be necessary, of course. ;-)


  • Kate 23:56 on 2011/11/29 Permalink | Reply  

    Ghastly incident Tuesday afternoon downtown when a man was flattened by a big truck on Ste-Catherine. When a journalist says it was a “spectacle horrible” you’ve got to believe it.

  • Kate 22:58 on 2011/11/29 Permalink | Reply  

    Everyone seems to be getting into the mode of proposing new ideas for the city, even as Mayor Tremblay prepares for a sober budget to be released tomorrow. Taylor Noakes has been listing features and services we don’t have and now Quel Avenir looks at three New York ideas he thinks we could borrow; in the Gazette the CEO of Cirque du Soleil had a boosterish thing about turning this town into a capital of creativity – not the first time we’ve heard about that notion.

  • Kate 22:29 on 2011/11/29 Permalink | Reply  

    The renowned skateboarding spot in the Olympic park is being moved as part of the work of enlarging the Impact stadium. Also, a video of the Big O in use.

  • Kate 21:45 on 2011/11/29 Permalink | Reply  

    The Museum of Fine Arts is promising some fancy stuff for 2012, notably an exhibition of major Impressionist works in the fall. There will also be a Robert Lepage imstallation that’s never been seen in Canada.

  • Kate 21:43 on 2011/11/29 Permalink | Reply  

    Some bones found last week in Coteau-du-Lac turn out to be those of Diane Grégoire, who vanished almost four years ago at a South Shore mall. La Presse reminds us that it wasn’t so long ago that searches were made on a farm near Granby, but she was found a good distance from there.

  • Kate 21:36 on 2011/11/29 Permalink | Reply  

    A group of indignés has gathered at the Mordecai Richler gazebo on Mount Royal and is staying there for now (although La Presse doesn’t mention the Richler connection in the article or accompanying video).

    • William 23:41 on 2011/11/29 Permalink

      CTV’s Todd van der Heyden covered this at noon, although there was no explanation of the significance of the site chosen..? (presuming there is any..?)

    • Kate 00:58 on 2011/11/30 Permalink

      I think it’s just a cute place with a nice view and some shelter. No bathrooms anywhere nearby, though.

    • mare 01:45 on 2011/11/30 Permalink

      There are public bathrooms under the Parc pedestrian crossing in front of the monument. No idea if they’re still open or will be opened for the occasion.

  • Kate 15:24 on 2011/11/29 Permalink | Reply  

    I’ve been pondering a response to this Quel Avenir piece since yesterday. The writer wants Montreal to shed its “cultural ambiguity” and become 100% francophone.

    How does this text differ from the impulse that led this young white woman in England to rant against Polish and black people on a tram recently? “Britain’s fuck all!” she says. Camil Bouchard likewise says Montreal has lost everything if it doesn’t return to being solidly French (which, as we know, it never was).

    We can all feel irritation at times with people who do not share our culture or our values. We’re not saints. It happens. The dangerous thing is when we try to make a virtue of it.

    • Tux 15:41 on 2011/11/29 Permalink

      A resounding “meh” of derision to this article. What’s with people who think that french culture and language are in danger in this province? Take a look around, it’s going strong. Homogeneity would only make Montréal (gimme a break) more boring. Culture and language evolve constantly, legally “protecting” them from their own natural evolution is just dead stupid. Point final.

    • David Tighe 17:12 on 2011/11/29 Permalink

      I think it differs greatly. Bouchard is talking mainly about language but the woman in the video is talking entirely about xenophobia. To make a connection between the two is rather unfair. I agree that a unicultural Montréal would be rather a bore, but a predominantly English-based and American-facing culture would be a lot worse, at least for me.

      The woman is rather a sad loser.

    • Robert H 20:23 on 2011/11/29 Permalink

      David Tighe, vous avez raison. Kate, je viens de lire l’article et les commentaires et vous ne devriez pas vous donner la peine d’y répondre. La plupart d’eux sont contre l’dée d’une Montréal unilingue et affirment comme vous qu’elle ne l’était jamais.

    • Singlestar 20:59 on 2011/11/29 Permalink

      It’s been a while since anyone mentioned that for about 115 years (1760-1875) Montreal was a majority English-speaking city. Bit by bit, francophone immigration from the rural areas turned the tide. Nothing is written in stone.

    • walkerp 21:02 on 2011/11/29 Permalink

      More than just bilingual, I like a multi-lingual Montréal!

    • Beeper 21:31 on 2011/11/29 Permalink

      Parler blanc!

    • Jack 22:24 on 2011/11/29 Permalink

      I was raised in NDG and one of the things I found unusual growing up was seeing, Henri Masse ( F.T.Q.), Jean Dorion (S.S.J.B.and Bloc Deputy), Nathalie Petrowski (La Presse) and believe it or not, Jacques Lanctot (FLQ) either living or being from NDG. If your not really big on the Blokes, why would you live in NDG? I mean even I fled.

    • Kevin 10:08 on 2011/11/30 Permalink

      I can only be glad that many of the commenters on La Presse have told Camil Bouchard that he’s out to lunch.

    • Philippe 11:18 on 2011/11/30 Permalink

      @Robert H: Je ne suis pas certain qu’il est exact de dire que Montréal n’a jamais été unilingue francophone. Ne l’aurait-elle pas été avant 1760?

      @Singlestar: Montréal wouldn’t have had an English-speaking majority so quickly after 1760. From the page “History of Montreal” on Wikipedia: “The town’s population was majority Francophones until around the 1830s. From the 1830s, to about 1865, it was inhabited by a majority of Anglophones, most of recent immigration from the British Isles or other parts of British North America.”

    • Steve Quilliam 12:26 on 2011/11/30 Permalink

      Why does it seem so hard for people to accept and promote one of the biggest assets of Montreal which is a multi-cultural bilingual and predominantly french city ? For some it seems contradictory and for others it appears unacceptable but it is simply the reality and i dont see where is the problem as long as the main language (the french one) stays predominant. And it doesn’t even have to be predominant all over town because other cultures are living in certain parts of town and it is ok that the streets reflects these communities.

      M. Bouchard doesn’t have an ounce of xenophobia so let’s not get into that. I fully understand his desire to protect the french language and to make sure it stays well and alive in Montreal but we have to find other ways then to eradicate other languages from our street. Promoting a language and teaching it is always the best solution.

    • Robert H 07:28 on 2011/12/01 Permalink

      Phillipe, j’avoue que j’ai du rafraîchir ma mémoire, mais je ne veut pas être technique en insistant que Ville Marie n’est pas devenue officiellement Montréal avant que La Conquête et l’arrivée des anglais, irlandais et écossais. Donc, je ne vais pas disputer un fait: l’un ou l’autre, c’est le même endroit. Cependent, nous parlons de la plus grande partie de l’histoire de Montréal. Au fil des ans, la ville a connu des vagues démographique ce qui rend une affirmation comme celle de M. Bouchard un peu suspect. Je n’ai aucun problem que le français soit la langue principale de la ville parce que ça laisse entendre qu’il y en a des autres. Et c’est bon pour une métropole qui se prétend d’être de la gamme international.

    • Robert J 18:55 on 2011/12/01 Permalink

      Its important to remember that between 1760 and 1830 there were very very few urban inhabitants in Canada. The concentration of the English in Montreal and Quebec represented their administrative role in the colony. For the longest time soldiers in the British army were one of the main population groups in both cities. Around 1830 is about the time that Quebeckers and Canadians started living in cities in any numbers. So in one sense, we can say that there has been a francophone majority since Montreal has been a full-fledged city.

      But to connect the migratory francophone working class of the 19th century with the handful of clergy and seigneurs that populated the “town” of Ville-Marie before the conquest in some kind of logical continuum is straight up anachronistic. If there are still francophones in modern Quebec, it is not because the colony was particularly strong or resistant in the 18th century, but because of the demographic boom in catholic French Quebec in the 19th and early 20th century.

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