Updates from February, 2013 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 18:53 on 2013/02/04 Permalink | Reply  

    SPVM police are abandoning the lighter blue shirts that have been part of their uniform since time immemorial, and are going for the more NYPD look of blue-black throughout. The force has an introductory video and some explanations for the change.

    • denpanosekai 19:33 on 2013/02/04 Permalink

      I could swear that’s how I’ve seen them dressed in the metro for at least the past year.

      I did spot a glaring error: we don’t actually have foot patrol in this city, so many of these scenes don’t make sense.

    • Ephraim 19:46 on 2013/02/04 Permalink

      Can we get them sponsored by Tim Hortons, Cafe Depot or Second Cup?

    • Kate 20:06 on 2013/02/04 Permalink

      denpanosekai: the metro fare inspectors wear all dark blue, I believe.

    • Dave M 23:01 on 2013/02/04 Permalink

      When I saw someone post a link to this on Facebook: https://twitter.com/SPVM/status/298500262081986560/photo/1

      I just kind of assumed it was a parody.. it took me a minute or so to realize that that was the actual SPVM’s twitter feed.

    • Kate 10:15 on 2013/02/05 Permalink

      I know. Terrible font there. For a second I thought it was made out of guns.

    • Tux 10:17 on 2013/02/05 Permalink

      Usually it’s the lame-o security guards that copy the cop uniforms, not the other way around.

    • Kate 10:26 on 2013/02/05 Permalink

      Yep. But here you go – metro security, all dark blue.

      One of their arguments is that cops in most places wear the dark blue, so companies that make uniforms offer a wider range of options in that colour. Now don’t tell me you couldn’t get someone in the shmatte trade here to run you up a bunch of light blue shirts at a good price – the cops think the dark colour looks tougher, I think. Too many NYPD cop shows and we have to change to match.

    • TC 10:31 on 2013/02/05 Permalink

      There is also the practical aspect, dark blue does not show the dirt the way light blue does.

    • Kate 10:35 on 2013/02/05 Permalink

      Or the blood!

  • Kate 18:49 on 2013/02/04 Permalink | Reply  

    Frank Zampino meddled in the city’s real estate deals, it was alleged at the Charbonneau commission Monday by Joseph Farinacci, who also said he had to leave his job managing real estate deals for the city because he lost confidence in the administration.

    Joe Borsellino of Garnier Construction also took the stand Monday but was sent off to rethink his testimony and reappear on Tuesday.

  • Kate 15:23 on 2013/02/04 Permalink | Reply  

    The city came and rubbed out two home-made skating rinks people had made in alleys in Villeray a few weeks ago, saying they were responding to a resident’s complaint. Vision Montreal is stepping up to defend them.

    I’m of two minds about this. I have no problem with kids playing out back where I live, but the back alley is how the internet and phone companies bring in their vans to make installations and repairs. People also use the alleys to walk dogs. Besides this, an alley isn’t an optimal shape for a rink, is it?

    • Daisy 15:55 on 2013/02/04 Permalink

      It seems to me that if you’re going to do something with a space that doesn’t belong to you, you either get permission or accept the possibility of it being removed. Another example would be guerilla gardening. Or yarn bombing. Or graffiti. The “ruelles vertes” on the other hand have permission and actual official standing.

    • Stefan 16:17 on 2013/02/04 Permalink

      i could never figure out why in montreal van access is required for internet/phone, unless it is for convenience of the repairpeople to drive just up to the box – i’ve lived elsewhere in houses with internet/phone but no van access.

    • France 16:26 on 2013/02/04 Permalink

      Someone has made a little rink in the alley behind my house in Villeray and I hope they haven’t removed it. The kids play hockey on it in the evening and on weekends. There is always a dad on the ice with them, and it’s nice to hear the sound of kids playing outside. The local rinks in Jarry Park are always taken over by teens and adults so there really isn’t anywhere a couple of 8-year olds can fool around on their skates. I don’t have much sympathy for the dog walkers, who tend not to pick up the poo in the alley in winter, not to mention the bright yellow blotches Rover leaves everywhere. Many alleys are not cleared and vans can’t get down them anyway. Maybe Villeray should spend more tme putting grit on the sidewalks where it’s not supposed to be slippery and less time harassing residents who show a little initiative.

    • Kate 16:44 on 2013/02/04 Permalink

      Since living in Villeray (2005) twice I’ve lost internet and the Videotron guy fixes it up a pole out in the alley. Apparently squirrels nibble through the cables sometimes. I don’t know how it works where there’s no alley access out back.

    • jeather 17:12 on 2013/02/04 Permalink

      I’m of the feeling that if you make a rink in a shared alley, you’re good unless someone complains. I imagine there exist people who want to walk in the alley and who cannot if it is a skating rink, and possibly it makes your dwelling uninhabitable because it lacks a secondary exit.

      That said, I’d love for there to be a way for parts of alleyways to be used for rinks — if there was only one per alleyway, so everyone had an exit? If you were forced to leave a sidewalk and have an even narrower rink? I don’t know. I think it is a real shame that they got taken away, but I can understand getting fed up if there are multiple skating rinks on public property with no way to get past them.

    • dwgs 09:20 on 2013/02/05 Permalink

      Are the alleys actually plowed in your neighbourhood? Because they sure aren’t in mine so there’s no way V-tron or a fire truck or anyone else could get up there except on foot. There are a couple near my house that make dog walking treacherous for short lengths but if that’s the price to pay for kids having fun I”m okay with that.

    • steph 09:21 on 2013/02/05 Permalink

      Does the city even plow the alleys in Villeray? They sure don’t in many other parts of town. I know many folk who have access to their parking lots in the back will chip in to get a private contractor to plow it for them.

    • Kate 10:22 on 2013/02/05 Permalink

      My alley in Villeray is not plowed, but it’s one of the narrowest ones. A minivan can just about make its way through at any time of year. In past winters, somebody plowed up quite a pile at the southern end, effectively blocking it to traffic, but although they haven’t done that this year it’s still a very uneven surface of uncleared snow with a trampled footpath down the middle where people walk dogs, pull kids on sleds and so on. I haven’t seen a vehicle go past since the storm on December 27. People don’t park in back along here, there’s no room.

      Nearby streets with wider alleys, where some houses have parking spaces and garages out back, are getting plowed, but I think maybe neighbours chip in to get it done. Not sure.

    • Clément 10:27 on 2013/02/05 Permalink

      I used to live in Côte-St-Paul, where we had a wide alley (as wide as two cars) and lots of people had parking spaces in the back, but the city never cleared the snow. Neighbours just chipped in with snow-blowers and shovels.

  • Kate 10:27 on 2013/02/04 Permalink | Reply  

    CBC has an obituary for the Canadian penny.

  • Kate 07:33 on 2013/02/04 Permalink | Reply  

    The green line is down between Atwater and Viau.

    • Michel 09:20 on 2013/02/04 Permalink

      I can always tell when a line is down because the lineups for the bus are insane. It’s a good barometer.

    • Kate 09:48 on 2013/02/04 Permalink

    • Bill Binns 09:49 on 2013/02/04 Permalink

      It would be interesting to track how many hours per year the metro system is not fully operational. Last year was either particularly bad or I was especially unlucky.

    • Kate 10:37 on 2013/02/04 Permalink

      2012 was a fairly bad year for the metro, as noted in this blog last month. But it’s equally possible to have used the metro fairly often, as I do, and hardly have seen a problem. Matter of luck and timing.

      Michel, I know what you mean – when I saw a long line of people waiting for the 30 bus around 18:00 a few weeks ago I knew instantly the orange line had to be down.

    • DCMontreal 10:56 on 2013/02/04 Permalink

      At least they Tweeted an apology “Our apologies for any inconvenience caused”. I like the “any”- as if a major Metro shut down at rush hour on a Monday morning would be anything bit inconvenient!!

    • Matt 12:27 on 2013/02/04 Permalink

      What’s more worrisome is the fact that the “système d’alimentation” seems to be at fault a little more than I remember. Problems?

    • Tux 12:58 on 2013/02/04 Permalink

      They started advertising themselves much more aggressively a few years ago. I wonder how big a bite the ongoing publicity campaigns take out of the budget? It has always seemed pointless to me for the STM to advertise itself when it enjoys a monopoly. Even more pointless to spend money on advertising when it seems that electrical and mechanical failures bad enough to cause system-wide delays are regular occurrences.

    • Philip 13:23 on 2013/02/04 Permalink

      Those things have been rolling since the 60s. Am I the only once who is surprised (if not impressed) that they don’t break down more often? If the alternative is a car, which will cost you $20,000 plus gas and won’t survive the rust-inducing conditions of the city for more than 8-9 years, the extremely occasional hour-or-so wait for golden-age’d metro car is hardly an inconvenience.

      Plus, if you’re late for work, I think a broken metro is more of a valid excuse than a broken car. Not that it’ll always help, but at least you can’t be expected to maintain your own metro.

    • Bill Binns 14:00 on 2013/02/04 Permalink

      I’m confused by the advertising as well. Not just because of the monopoly thing but because the STM seems to have as many passengers as they can handlle (at least during peak periods).

    • C_Erb 14:13 on 2013/02/04 Permalink

      I agree that it’s impressive how little it breaks down considering the age of the trains. I’m also impressed by how well the STM generally manages major break-downs.

      Compare it to what happened in DC a little while ago as described here: http://www.theatlanticcities.com/commute/2013/02/one-worst-mass-transit-commute-horror-stories-you-will-ever-read/4576/

      The compare THAT to what NYC commuters say in the comments about their (much worse) horror stories on their Subway.

    • Bert 14:54 on 2013/02/04 Permalink

      The rolling stock itself is actually quite reliable, much more than what it is getting credit for in some of the comments. A “panne d’alimentation”, “panne d’ordinateur” and “panne du système de communication” are all independent of the rolling stock.

    • Stefan 15:04 on 2013/02/04 Permalink

      @tux: they get their advertising money by putting up large billboards with cars in the metro. makes me wonder if only the advertising companies profit from that.

    • Kate 15:12 on 2013/02/04 Permalink

      Tux, actually you can see from this set of transit ads from the 1930s and 40s (Facebook, but openly accessible) that the transit commission has always advertised a fair bit. After the STM posted these in 2011 I was curious and looked up the English equivalents in the Google news archive of the Gazette – and found a few others too.

      That said, I think the STM is in the grip of some agency that’s a little too marketing-minded. The STM definitely needs to do some advertising – to tell us about new services or new offerings, alert us to hazards or changes in routes, all kinds of things, but not to “build the brand” as the article of faith goes in modern marketing because, as you say, it’s a monopoly and there’s a limit to the usefulness of doing this. (On the other hand, it’s an unusual monopoly, and arguably it’s in permanent competition with the blandishment of private vehicles.)

      The Sid Lee spokeswoman in that piece talked about making Berri-UQAM the “flagship of the STM brand.” That’s rank and utter nonsense.

    • qatzelok 15:35 on 2013/02/04 Permalink

      This is one of the major advantages of a street-level tramway over subway: less likely to have the entire system shut down because of a local event. For me, this has meant that I don’t take the metro anymore because… I teach at 8 am. This morning, my first class was student-free.

    • SN86 16:37 on 2013/02/04 Permalink

      I think it’s time for the STM start a loyalty program where they stamp your OPUS card every time there is a major metro shutdown. So if you’re involved in 5 of them you get a month free.

    • Matt 16:48 on 2013/02/04 Permalink

      The advertising thing has its benefits. I don’t have anything concrete to link to, but compare public opinion of the STM from 15 years ago to what it is today. I’d rather see some of the STM’s messages than another podiatry clinic piece of trash.

    • Blork 17:15 on 2013/02/04 Permalink

      While I agree that the Sid Lee stuff is a bit much, it’s not entirely true that the STM has no need to advertise. While it might have a monopoly on subway and bus lines, it definitely has “competition” for ridership from taxis, private cars, and even bicycles. So the pitch isn’t “take our Metro instead of the other guy’s Metro” it’s “take the Metro instead of driving/biking/taxiing, etc.”

      I haven’t read the profile piece on the ad campaign, but I suspect they found there was some amount of negative feelings towards public transit among some people (as Matt says, above), so the mission is to make using the STM seem like a natural and happy part of being a Montrealer. (It is for many — myself included — but it’s not so for everyone.)

    • TC 17:24 on 2013/02/04 Permalink

      Overall I am very impressed with how well the STM subway cars keep rolling along. Fifty-plus years is impressive. Not so sure an advertising campaign really helps compared to word of mouth from riders. Here in Boston when they added countdown clocks rider satisfaction jumped by 15% literally overnight, measured from the day before they were installed to the day after.

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