Updates from February, 2013 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 18:17 on 2013/02/06 Permalink | Reply  

    The city’s firefighters say the proliferation of speed bumps in the boroughs is undesirable because it will slow down emergency vehicles as well as regular cars.

     
    • qatzelok 20:15 on 2013/02/06 Permalink

      Yes, and the great thing about car culture is that it leads to a permanent state of emergency – both perceived and real.

    • Jack 21:12 on 2013/02/06 Permalink

      Our firefighters are absolutely full of sh_t. Their concern is more about the commute from Mascouche and St Jerome where they all live. They showed amazing concern for public safety when they painted their trucks green to pressure the city so they could retire with 90% salary at 48 years old. Pose for some more calendars.

    • Matt 22:57 on 2013/02/06 Permalink

      Yeah, I don’t buy it. Streets I know of with speed bumps are very narrow as is; how fast do they want to be going down those streets with that big a truck?

    • Kate 23:04 on 2013/02/06 Permalink

      I think it’s simple: they’re annoyed they were not consulted. This got into the media initially because of the Plateau’s traffic-calming moves.

    • paul 09:21 on 2013/02/07 Permalink

      I call BS as well. The fire department wants to be the Planning department, but their vision of public space revolves around one user – them. No one is allowed to question their decisions because if you do it shows that you take the safety of citizens lightly (same as the Police). Would love a politician to call them on their BS, not to mention control their budget and increase their accountability – wishful thinking.

    • Ant6n 09:25 on 2013/02/07 Permalink

      @paul
      well said

    • Bill Binns 10:18 on 2013/02/07 Permalink

      This is the only city I have ever seen where firefighters and paramedics are allowed to plaster their vehicles with union propaganda. I saw an ambulance yesterday that was completely covered with strike notices. Some of the firetrucks still have old stickers complaining about the demerger. I can’t imagine why this is tolerated. These people do not own this equipment. The Police “protest pants” and bright red baseball caps are just as bad.

    • dwgs 10:47 on 2013/02/07 Permalink

      I keep seeing the term ‘paramedics’ thrown around here. To the best of my knowledge we don’t actually have paramedics, we have ambulance attendants. I was told by the instructor at my most recent first aid course (former ambulance attendant) that Qc. is the only major jurisdiction in North America without paramedics. Also, those ambulance guys make like $35 k per year, not poverty levels, but also not the kind of money that’s going to attract the best and brightest.

    • NDGdude 10:53 on 2013/02/07 Permalink

      You have all failed to see the firemans point about safety, it can be a fairly jarring bump going over a speedbump in a large truck and the passengers in the back cant always see it coming. Ever been in the back of a firetruck? lots of hard sharp edges etc. Also why the need for speed bumps? as an NDG resident I can attest that the only positive benefit of a speedbump is to the resident living directly in front of it. Otherwise motorists just speed up and slow down right before the speed bump.

    • Kate 10:56 on 2013/02/07 Permalink

      Come to think of it, does anyone know what’s up with Urgences-Santé? I noticed an ambulance yesterday plastered with “En grève bientôt!” stickers, but the most recent news item I can fish up is this Gazette piece from January 11 saying the union had reached a tentative agreement with government. I have to assume this agreement didn’t fly but I can’t find out any more about it.

    • SN86 11:48 on 2013/02/07 Permalink

      It has to be pointed out that speed bumps, especially the bolt on variety seen in NDG, can be very damaging to heavy vehicles like fire trucks so they do have a legitimate concern here. I as a cyclist also don’t like them, they’re now on most streets in NDG and they make it a pain to ride with the slowing down and speeding up over and over again. The street narrowing bollards, that are bolted on the normal biking side/lane of the street don’t help either.

    • Marc 12:34 on 2013/02/07 Permalink

      @ dwgs: We’ve had actual paramedics since 2005 here; the last place in North America to get them. The instructor you were dealing with is just a tad confused. At that time, the “Technicien Ambulancier” on the shoulder boards of their uniform was replced with “Paramédic”

    • DCMontreal 13:12 on 2013/02/07 Permalink

      In the City of Westmount one of the main “fire lanes” is Metcalfe Avenue. There are no speed bumps, the street was widened several years ago and it is one of the first to be cleared of snow, one assumes with the other fire routes. The old fire station may have trouble accommodating the new equipment, but once they’re out they have a bump-free ride, at least to begin with!!!

    • DCMontreal 22:25 on 2013/02/07 Permalink

      And while we’re talking about emergency responses, I find it most annoying when fire/police/ambulances using only lights and no siren sneak up behind cars stopped at red lights. You stop at a red light, you take a little break; but some emergency vehicle drivers seem to get a great kick out of stealthily coming up behind stopped cars then blasting the horn or siren at the last minute. Highly unprofessional

  • Kate 18:16 on 2013/02/06 Permalink | Reply  

    A broken sewer pipe has meant the closure of Ste-Catherine Street between Guy and St-Mathieu.

     
    • erydan 23:10 on 2013/02/06 Permalink

      It’s funny they make it sound like it is a big surprise they discovered today. On Monday morning it looked like they had been preparing for a few days to close the street down, with the orange no parking signs thrown all up and down the street with most of them being around long enough to get knocked over.

    • DCMontreal 11:31 on 2013/02/07 Permalink

      They’ve even designed a burst water main pictogram; guess they’re expecting more…
      http://dcmontreal.wordpress.com/2013/02/07/montreal-water-main-bursts-as-reliable-as-old-faithful/

    • emdx 11:46 on 2013/02/09 Permalink

      Again? I remember some 10 years ago, precisely between St-Mathieu & Guy, the city setting up pumps to pump up the goo to street level and discharging it in another manhole (perhaps the term “shithole” is more appropriate) further downt the street…

    • Kate 12:09 on 2013/02/09 Permalink

      A lot of the older parts of town have those brick sewers dating back a hundred years. Have you never peered into a dig and seen them?

      Considering the amount of construction that has densified the population downtown, the sheer weight of new buildings and roads, the construction and then the demolition of streetcar tracks, heavy vehicles passing over them constantly, they actually still hold up amazingly well. Until they don’t.

  • Kate 18:15 on 2013/02/06 Permalink | Reply  

    Joe Borsellino said today at the Charb that he was seriously beaten up in his office by three men in 2009 but doesn’t know why. Borsellino was grilled by prosecutor Simon Tremblay over a lot of questions, but says his memory was damaged as a result of the beating, which required reconstructive surgery, but which he never reported to police.

    (Kudos to his surgeon. Borsellino’s a good-looking guy.)

     
  • Kate 11:05 on 2013/02/06 Permalink | Reply  

    STM has a photoset (on Facebook but open) showing the evolution of its bus and tram stop signs over 85 years.

     
    • Clément 11:34 on 2013/02/06 Permalink

      Ouch, I remember the yellow signs…

    • Dave M 12:26 on 2013/02/06 Permalink

      I think they should go back to those circular “Autobus/Tramway” signs (3rd one on the top.) They don’t convey much information about the route, but they look pretty cool.

    • Doobish 16:51 on 2013/02/06 Permalink

      The round yellow ones were in use when I was a kid. The best ever in terms of visibility, as advertisers generally shy away from yellow (wimpy connotations, I guess?). No matter the season you could always pick them out of the cloud of visual clutter no sweat.

    • William 16:54 on 2013/02/06 Permalink

      God, Mirabel by STM bus, that must have taken an eternity…

    • Clément 17:01 on 2013/02/06 Permalink

      @William: Furthermore, I hope it wasn’t a local bus (358 different stops between downtown and the airport).
      Prochain arrêt: Rang St-Rémi et St-Scholastique.

    • Kate 19:03 on 2013/02/06 Permalink

      Doobish, I was thinking the same.

  • Kate 10:37 on 2013/02/06 Permalink | Reply  

    CBC radio had a scathing report Wednesday morning about a family in Park Ex that knew something violent was going on next door but couldn’t get police to take them seriously. It turned out that a group of men alleged to have taken a woman prisoner allegedly held her there as a sex slave for six months, a case that’s currently before the court.

     
    • Stefan 11:41 on 2013/02/06 Permalink

      not on the same level, but ‘couldn’t get police to take them seriously’ – this seems to me a pattern in my anecdotal experience with montreal police, with regard to excessive noise in the middle of night (‘go call the police – i don’t care’ when i asked him politely to put the music down) and dangerous driving (‘there is so much of it that we cannot do anything about it’). i wonder what’s wrong, because i’ve seen that one gets taken seriously in other places and it makes people think before engaging in anti-social behaviour in the widest sense.

    • denpanosekai 07:52 on 2013/02/07 Permalink

      She’s back on the show this morning, they’re really taking this story to the next level (a good thing). I basically went through the same thing, but for 3 years in Verdun living next door to a welfare mama beating her children all night long. Even the neighbors upstairs and downstairs were calling in. Nooooooobody fucking cared.

    • Peter Mcgill 18:16 on 2013/02/08 Permalink

      In my job I meet a lot of cops, and I observe two types of cops: there’s the fill the ticket quota and head home to the burbs type, and the militaristic sociopath who goes way over the line frequently. Neither is how I think how a professional law enforcement official should do their job. The RCMP in particular has a lot of work to do to stop being a national disgrace.

      That being said, cops are the ones there when no one else is, and they have all see some truly terrible things that humans do to one another.

      I listened to the cbc interviews, and the Yan Lafreniere cop PR flack was basically covering his department’s negligent a$$ both days with a hardline can’t comment (privacy/court case/shut up about us not doing our job) “change the subject” PR technique.

  • Kate 10:06 on 2013/02/06 Permalink | Reply  

    The orange line was down between 6:30 and 7 on Wednesday morning, after a train broke down at Bonaventure. Not great news after the longer outage on the green line Monday.

     
    • Bert 08:20 on 2013/02/07 Permalink

      So much for that reliable rolling-stock comment!

  • Kate 10:03 on 2013/02/06 Permalink | Reply  

    The city has opened up a budget of $42 million to spiff up parks and sports installations. Most years I’ve taken note of some provision like this, because you basically need to maintain those features over the years.

     
    • David Tighe 13:26 on 2013/02/06 Permalink

      @Kate: you have a wide range of English expressions that I think are falling into disuse, like spiff up. I think I saw it in the comics of my youth. Also its spiffing, like: its great.

    • Faiz Imam 15:16 on 2013/02/06 Permalink

      I’ve only encountered it as an adjective “its spiffy” or “a spiffy X” meaning neat, cool, high tech, innovative, etc.

      Its the boroughs that pick what parcs get the money, but I hope they spread it around.

      New swings, paths, vegetation or maintenance on many small parks is more beneficial than some big centralized project.

    • Doobish 16:56 on 2013/02/06 Permalink

      This blog is spiffy, neat-o, hep and swish.

      Just doing my part to keep the linguistic blandness down to a minimum.

    • William 16:59 on 2013/02/06 Permalink

      I don’t understand this… Is it the “Ville-Centre” or the boroughs which are choosing the projects? No wonder citizens can’t make any sense of what’s going on with our money. “Ce sont les arrondissements qui vont choisir leurs projets» and then “Du côté de la ville centre, les projets ont déjà été choisis.”

    • Faiz Imam 21:31 on 2013/02/06 Permalink

      City hall, which includes Ville marie, is allocated $10 million, It has jurisdiction over some major infrastructure elsewhere like Claude-Robillard, parc La Fontaine and such.

      The 18 other boroughs get a combined $31.5 million, they they get to spend on their own parcs and spaces as they choose.

    • Kate 23:05 on 2013/02/06 Permalink

      Re my vocab: outed as a time traveller, I wot.

    • Peter Mcgill 18:18 on 2013/02/08 Permalink

      if I could make a request, it would be how about some track grooming on Mont Royal’s cros-country ski trails more than once per winter? The excellent trails in this excellent park are a complete and utter disgrace this winter.

    • Kate 18:31 on 2013/02/08 Permalink

      Well, I’m just an independent blogger – I have no magic wand to wave. Have you emailed Les amis de la montagne or called the official number, 514-843-8240 ?

  • Kate 10:01 on 2013/02/06 Permalink | Reply  

    A cop named Lyne Trudeau, the first woman to sit on the police brotherhood’s executive committee, has been thrown off it by a judge, who said Trudeau behaved in a vindictive and egotistical manner. Trudeau had also refused to step down when the brotherhood voted to remove her. (For a second I hoped this was about Agent 728, but it isn’t – that’s Stéfanie Trudeau.)

     
  • Kate 00:55 on 2013/02/06 Permalink | Reply  

    On the one hand, the Quebec government has cancelled six small hydroelectric projects that environmentalists had feared would damage natural waterways, saying that since we have a surplus of electricity anyway it would make no sense to proceed with them. (Even so, it’s going ahead with a project in Val-Jalbert that some people are not happy about.)

    On the other hand, we may be forced to swallow the reversal of Line 9, the pipeline that could bring tar sands oil through Ontario and Quebec, although Quebec had previously rejected the idea.

    On the other other hand, the town of Gaspé is trying to stave off oil exploration from its doorstep, while Quebec leans hard on it to comply.

    Incidentally, why don’t any of our major media, French or English, have an environment section?

     
    • Kevin 10:49 on 2013/02/06 Permalink

      What’s better, a pipeline shipping oil from Alberta or what we currently have in Quebec: oil arriving by tankers from Algeria and OPEC nations.

    • Kate 10:55 on 2013/02/06 Permalink

      I am not an environmental specialist but my understanding is that the extraction of tar sands oil is more damaging, and generates more greenhouse gases, than conventional oil drilling.

    • Raymond Lutz 10:56 on 2013/02/06 Permalink

      @Kevin, Not all oil is the same, in fact, your oil from Alberta isn’t even oil, its dilbit. Votre comparaison est tendancieuse et malhonnête. @Kate: exactly… 8-)

    • Raymond Lutz 11:00 on 2013/02/06 Permalink

      @Kate “Incidentally, why don’t any of our major media, French or English, have an environment section?”

      Mais parce que c’est la tendance aux USA, pardi!

      DAVID SIROTA from http://www.salon.com/2013/02/04/will_anyone_tell_the_truth_about_climate_change/:

      I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — in a country where the filibuster gives 11 percent of the population effective veto power over national legislation, addressing climate change requires true national consensus that the situation is an emergency. Getting to that consensus requires a media that at least covers the issue in a serious way. Unfortunately, that’s not happening now, and worse, the prospective trends are clearly not encouraging.

    • Ant6n 11:04 on 2013/02/06 Permalink

      Oil or Oil aren’t the only two options.

    • Bill Binns 11:10 on 2013/02/06 Permalink

      Personally, I’ll take the slightly increased environmental risks of pumping dilbit thorugh a 30 year old pipeline over pumping any more money into the middle east. I think the opposition to the line 9 thing is more about Quebec poking Alberta in the eye than anything else. Ironic since Alberta shares their oil sands largess with Quebec in the form of those big fat welfare checks.

    • Stefan 11:35 on 2013/02/06 Permalink

      not sure if this is widely known, but the price of oil usually quoted in north america is not the same as the north sea ‘brent crude’ oil index, which quebec is billed for importing, as these represent two separated markets. its price is about $15-20 higher. but it’s still a choice between bad and worse.

    • Kevin 11:50 on 2013/02/06 Permalink

      @Ant6n
      Pretending to live in a fantasy land is not an option.

      @Raymond Lutz
      Get frigging real. Bitumen extraction is not going to stop now that the price of crude oil has made it financially viable. Whether the go-juice comes from a pump or needs an extra refining step makes no difference to how everything you own was trucked to a store.

      Dislike oil all you want, until someone comes up with a cheaper way of moving things around, it is here to stay. There’s lots of room to maneuver, since currently the only strategy seems to be let the price of oil rise until electric vehicles become the cheaper option :/

      For my money Hydro SHOULD be bigger more plants to produce a surplus so it can give all-electric cars a discount. And anyone concerned about greenhouse gases should convince the USA to dump its coal-fired plants and go nuclear.

    • Bill Binns 12:28 on 2013/02/06 Permalink

      @Kevin – Well said.

      It’s really amazing when you look at it. Oil is as important to humanity as dung is to a dung beetle. Nothing close to our present way of life is possible without it. You could make Al Gore and Ed Begely Jr co-emperors of N America with absolute power and not be able to put a dent in our oil consumption. Unless of course you were willing to forcibly relocate millions of people and starve millions more.

      This is far from an ideal situtation but I have never heard a single workable alternative. In most parts of the world an electric car is simply a coal powered car. Wind and Solar will never generate more than 10% of our energy needs. Hundreds of new nuclear plants and an upgraded grid would likely do the trick if it could be made politcally feasable but we are currently closing them down faster than we are building them.

    • walkerp 13:20 on 2013/02/06 Permalink

      Let’s just keep driving straight for the cliff as fast as we can because we fear change.

    • David Tighe 13:34 on 2013/02/06 Permalink

      The problem is less whether Alberta oil is less polluting than Algerian (after of course subtracting transport effects) but the fact that no effort is made by our government to minimize the environmental impacts of its extraction or to compensate them by a carbon tax. If this were done one could at least compare. At the moment I should think that Algerian oil has far less environmental impact

    • Ant6n 13:45 on 2013/02/06 Permalink

      @Kevin
      You’re living world that’s becoming more and more of a fantasy world, one powered mainly by oil-driven individual vehicles.

      Quebec/Montreal are in an ideal situation to go all electric, and not relying chiefly on individual transportation. But it’s people like you (and Bill) with their car-normative attitudes who don’t see that, and dismiss the possibilities as too expensive, meanwhile you ignore the current, past and future cost of your shared illusion of the infinite oil-driven economy.

    • Tux 14:07 on 2013/02/06 Permalink

      @Ant6n Well said. Breaking our fossil fuel addiction would not be painless or easy but it’s necessary work. You’re wasting your time with Bill, he thinks bits of government issued paper are gonna save us when we can’t breathe the air and the coastal cities are underwater.

    • thomas 15:22 on 2013/02/06 Permalink

      @Tux well “would not be painless” is an understatement. Even though the objective may be laudable, the disastrous experience of Germany shows the many challenges of going down this path. The cost of reconfiguring and upgrading the electrical grid was seriously underestimated as was technical problems with the generation of the renewable energy sources themselves. Projects over budget and already years behind schedule. Thus in Germany, people who already pay $.32 per kilowatt hour now have an additional surcharge of $.06 (more than what we pay here in Montreal) surcharge to fund the shift to green energy. Furthermore, incentives to upgrade residences with solar panels and improved insulation means that renters are often seeing rental increases by 40% or more.

    • Ant6n 15:59 on 2013/02/06 Permalink

      @thomas
      Can you elaborate on Germany a bit more? As I understand it, the issue of high energy prices in Germany is largely a result of privatization of utility companies, creating monopolies that dictate prices. And now the public is scrambling to buy the utilities back. The prices for energy will always be higher there, because there are (almost) no natural resources or hydroelectricity like there is in Canada.

    • thomas 16:30 on 2013/02/06 Permalink

      @Ant6n German utilities companies, while private, are heavily regulated so prices are set in convert with government agencies. Of course, having little natural resources means that the base price of electricity in Germany is higher, but as I pointed out the cost increases per kilowatt hour just to fund the green initiative is greater than what we pay in Montreal. When this project was initiated in 2010, it was estimated that cost to shift to renewable energy would be about $7B per annum total or about €0.01/(kW·h). Now that has been revised upward to $35B per annum or $0.06/(kW·h). I think there is further apprehension that the costs might just continue upwards, because due to unforeseen technological challenges and costs to upgrade the electrical grid.

    • Bill Binns 16:46 on 2013/02/06 Permalink

      @Tux – I am all for a breaking our addicition to fossil fuels and I completely agree that doing so is necessary work. There is nothing I would like more than to tell Saudi Arabia that they can leave the rest of their black goo under the sand because we don’t need any more of it. However, arbitrarily objecting to bits and pieces of the exisiting system brings us no further to that goal.

      Want to get rid of oil? Great. How are we going to get the food from the middle of the continent where it is grown to the population centers on the coasts? What fuel are we going to use for airplanes? Want to get rid of gas powered cars? Great. Is your solution electric cars? Can the exisitng electrical grid handle recharging millions of electric cars every night? No? How many more power plants will we need and what fuel will they use? Are you against coal and nuclear too? Against natural gas as well because of all that nasty fracking? There is no wonderful soulution waiting in the wings that people are just too stubborn to use.

    • Ant6n 17:15 on 2013/02/06 Permalink

      @thomas
      Well in any case the comparison is moot, because Quebec already runs on mostly Hydro-electricity. The issue is that we need to import too much oil – mostly to fuel individualized transportation by cars.

      @Bill
      To answer your questions:
      yes.
      Diesel powered rail, and trucking as necessary.
      kerosene.
      Yes.
      Modal shift towards public transportation, away from individual transportation.
      Electric grids can handle charging electric cars.
      Yes.
      None.
      Yes.
      Yes.

      There is no “wonderful solution”, but there are solutions, that are realistic, practical and that we can pay for. What kind of no-argument is “there exists no perfect solution, so the real crappy status quo must be the best solution, and I will fight any better solution”.

    • thomas 17:49 on 2013/02/06 Permalink

      @Ant6n How is the comparison moot? Think about it. How much electricity would we actually need? How will the extra electricity get generated? How much will it cost to upgrade the electrical grid? How will people react to high power voltage power lines through out the province (i.e. in their backyard — another huge problem in Germany)? How will people feel if the cost of electricity doubles or maybe triples?

      As an aside, if you believe that climate change is real how will that affect Quebec’s hydroelectric capacity? This is something that I would definitely worry about.

    • Ant6n 18:20 on 2013/02/06 Permalink

      1 “How’s the comparison moot?” The comparison is moot because electricity generation capacity is not a big problem in Quebec. The problem, as said before, is oil consumption — but also waste of electricity.

      2 “How will extra electricty get generated?” We wouldn’t need much more electricity if we, for example, tripled the urban electrified transit network (i.e. 300km vs 100km). Certainly it could easily be offset if people wasted less heat in badly insulated homes – in fact, bringing up the costs of electricity could result less heating electricity being wasted. This is an order of magnitude issue – for example, if 5 million Quebecers suddenly got Nissan Leafs, and all of them drove 20km on 240 work days, that would require about 500MW of more capacity. Compare that to 36500MW of installed power generating capacity for Hydro Quebec.

      3 “cost to upgrade electrical grid” irrelevant – order of magnitude compared to other costs costs involved.

      4 “How will people feel if cost of electricy doubles or maybe triples?” Let me ask you a counter question — under what scenario would that happen? It seems very unlikely. Even if consumption went up a bit, the costs wouldn’t double. Going by the electricity wasted in this province, electricity is too cheap, anyway.

      Overall, it costs money to replace oil (as a cost to society, not necessarily energy costs), but so does importing oil. Arguably the cost to society when weaning off oil may largey be offset by the increased economic activity that would appear in the province, compared to exporting money to either Alberta or the Middle East.

    • Raymond Lutz 20:13 on 2013/02/06 Permalink

      @Kevin “Raymond Lutz, Get frigging real. Bitumen extraction is not going to stop now that the price of crude oil has made it financially viable.” Huh? Je n’ai jamais dit ça…

      Et ne me faites pas de leçon sur la “réalité”. Encore moins celle de la consommation énergétique. J’ai fait mes devoirs… J’ai lu tout les posts de http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/post-index/ et peux vous entretenir d’EROEI etc…

      Eh, tant qu’à souffler dans mon propre clairon, je me cite moi-même: http://w5.montreal.com/mtlweblog/?p=23972&cpage=1#comment-78169 pour répondre @Bill Binns qui croît que le dilbit Albertain sera consommé ici…

    • qatzelok 20:20 on 2013/02/06 Permalink

      @ Kate: “why don’t any of our major media, French or English, have an environment section? ”
      Where would they put it? Before or after the 20 pages of car ads?

    • Kate 21:23 on 2013/02/06 Permalink

      I kind of want to start a second blog, maybe calling it The Environment Section, but for 2 things: lack of time, and the simple fact that the more environment news I read, the more gloomy I get.

    • Kevin 10:39 on 2013/02/07 Permalink

      @Ant6n

      You greatly misunderstand me.

      I drive a car once a week. Currently commuting via BusMetroWalk. When it’s warm I’m on 2 wheels – moto or bicycle

      I’m gradually retrofitting my house to be more energy efficient.

      But I also understand that if there’s one thing North America has in abundance, it’s space. Area. Vast distances.

      This is not Europe, where train lines criss-cross a continent, where all roads lead to a village less than 10 km away,
      This is Canada, where the population density is less than 4 people per km2. Even if Canada suddenly grew to 100 million people and we only count the narrow strip of land with our cities, we still wouldn’t crack the top 200 when it comes to sovereign states and population density.

      We don’t have the population, the jobs, the cash required to put trains everywhere people live. We could take the entire population of the province of Quebec, dump them all into Montreal, and we still wouldn’t come close to the population density of that fabulous public transportation mecca NYC. (A city where, by the way, 45% of households own a car. Let me repeat that. EVERY OTHER HOUSEHOLD IN NEW! YORK! CITY! OWNS A CAR. And they have free on-street parking.)

      So stop telling me I’m car-normative like it’s some sort of insult and I don’t get it.

      This whole CONTINENT is car-normative. Pretending it won’t be that way for the rest of our lives is delusional.

      We all want to eliminate a dependency on oil. We all want to ensure that climate change won’t destroy the world — or at least our little patch of it.
      But it’s not going to happen by turning Montreal into urban Europe. We just don’t have the people, the cash, or the serious shortage of space needed to do that.

    • Kevin 10:54 on 2013/02/07 Permalink

      @Raymond_Lutz

      So instead of oil coming to Montreal and going into a pipeline and heading west, oil products coming east and go into ships heading elsewhere.
      Désolé, mais je ne voix pas des grands changements.

    • Kevin 10:59 on 2013/02/07 Permalink

      @Kate
      I think every media outlet in Montreal had an environmental section at one point. It was very ’90s.

      Personally, I prefer to read about the environment in a magazine. It’s not exactly a ‘daily news’ issue.

    • Ant6n 11:43 on 2013/02/07 Permalink

      @Kevin
      The issue of population density of the continent as a whole is irrelevant to the feasibility of _Urban Public Transportation_. Most people live in dense urban areas, most people travel few Km a day. Half the people in Quebec are _already_ dumped into the metropolitan area of Montreal.

      You’re car-normative not primarily because of your transportation choices, but fighting/arguing for an oil-based status quo. And you just hide behind some sort of defeatism of ‘to expensive’, without actually considering the costs and the numbers. You try to insult me as living in a Fantasy world, but I crunch more numbers than you do.

      (I am aware that most people on the continent think that way, I never pretended otherwise.)

    • thomas 12:46 on 2013/02/07 Permalink

      @Ant6n Your calculations on capacity are wrong. Averages over the year as you present are meaningless (unless you are advocating some sort of rolling brownouts I guess). Actually, the comparison with Germany is especially apt because three years ago similar predictions and arguments such as yours were common, especially by the Greens. Unfortunately, the reality has turned out very different.

    • Ant6n 13:38 on 2013/02/07 Permalink

      @thomas
      I’m not going to argue about Germany.

      Averages are not meaningless when it comes to electric cars, since they charge over a long period of time, there won’t be many spikes. And since Quebec relies on _hydro-electricity_ (a fact you just don’t seem to get), we are well-equipped to deal with peaking in either case.

      I gave you quite a crazy upper bound for required electric car capacity, and showed that it’s almost two orders of magnitude less than the current generating capacities. It’s also somewhat irrelevant, since I argued for public transportation, and reduction of individual vehicle usage, so I don’t know what you want. Anyway, here’s the calculation:

      https://www.google.ca/search?q=0.2+KWh%2Fkm+*+20km%2Fday+*+5000000+*+240+days%2F%281+year%29+in+MW&oq=0.2+KWh%2Fkm+*+20km%2Fday+*+5000000+*+240+days%2F%281+year%29+in+MW
      Also see nissan leaf for the .2kwh/km figure, and the 36.5 GW number from hydro Quebec.

      I would like to see the sources for your dubious claims.

    • Ant6n 13:43 on 2013/02/07 Permalink

      @thomas
      I’m not going to argue about Germany.

      Averages are not meaningless when it comes to electric cars, since they charge over a long period of time, there won’t be many spikes. And since Quebec relies on _hydro-electricity_ (a fact you just don’t seem to get), we are well-equipped to deal with peaking in either case.

      I gave you quite a crazy upper bound for required electric car capacity, and showed that it’s almost two orders of magnitude less than the current generating capacities. It’s also somewhat irrelevant, since I argued for public transportation, and reduction of individual vehicle usage, so I don’t know what you want. Anyway, here’s the calculation:

      0.2 KWh/km * 20km/day * 5000000 (people) * 240 days/(1 year) in MW

      Also see nissan leaf for the .2kwh/km figure, and the 36.5 GW number from hydro Quebec.

      I would like to see the sources for your dubious claims.

    • Kevin 14:50 on 2013/02/07 Permalink

      @Ant6n
      Au contraire mon ami, the population density of the region is of utmost importance, because it sets the price for how expensive it is to live ‘just a bit further away’ from an urban core.
      In heavily populated Europe there is a much higher cost to live further away from where you work. In Montreal that fiscal cost is not there.

      There will always be people, like you and me, who don’t want to deal with the hassle of driving and want a neighbourhood we can walk around. But don’t pretend that we’re the majority, and don’t pretend that public transit is faster than taking a car.

      http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/110824/dq110824b-eng.htm
      Stats Can: In both Toronto and Montréal, more than one-quarter of commuters had travel times of 45 minutes or more, which was much greater than in any other metropolitan area. Another one-quarter had travel times of 30 to 44 minutes.
      In the six largest metropolitan areas, the average commuting time was 44 minutes for public transit users and 27 minutes by car.

    • Ant6n 16:11 on 2013/02/07 Permalink

      @Kevin
      You were not talking about the population density of the ‘region’, but the population density of the continent. That is irrelevant. Now if we start talking about regional density, then we’re getting somewhere. It is true that European cities are less sprawly – but that’s not a result of lack of space, but of the history of development, transportation, but also energy costs. Sprawl is more affordable in North America because of crazy highway expansions and low fuel costs. The development patterns are not inherent and can be changed – and that’s what the CMM is trying to do. And the fuel costs are going up – that’s what the original post was about.

      But then we start looking at the region we will notice one thing, which goes contrary to the crux of your argument: We don’t have under-utilized public transit as a result of low population density, we have lack of public transit.

      It is not true that the Montreal region is sprawled so far that public transit doesn’t work. Our buses and metros are full, people are asking for more trains, for trams, everything. We have bus lines in the city that have ridership comparable to segregated rail lines in Europe. If we build rail, it will be full. And then more people will shift away from cars, because it is more comfortable and not much slower (if not faster).

      There are also so many development opportunities on the island. All these opportunities could be realized with a shift of culture and a shift of investment and development towards, yes, a more European, more urban way of doing development.

      (Stop claiming I pretend to say things I don’t – “ut don’t pretend that we’re the majority, and don’t pretend that public transit is faster than taking a car” – talk about strawman).

    • Kate 11:59 on 2013/02/08 Permalink

      Kevin, actually between all the media outlets in Montreal, English and French, there is some environmental news every day. Besides, an environmental blog would also look at provincial, federal and international stories as they parallel or affect the local situation. There would be more than enough material to support an Environment Section blog here, I’m just not sure there’s enough Kate.

    • Kevin 14:15 on 2013/02/08 Permalink

      “Not sure there’s enough Kate” hits the nail on the head. There have been, what, about 500 journalism jobs eliminated in Montreal in the past 6 years? Maybe 100 created?
      I don’t think that’s enough for any single company/group/band of outlaws to dedicate someone day-in-day-out to a beat that nobody else is doing. Or rather, they could, as long as they don’t expect that person to produce a report every day.

    • Kevin 14:31 on 2013/02/08 Permalink

      @Ant6n
      How far out does a region go? When people commute to cities from more than 100 km away, overall density matters. I argue that sprawl exists not because of highway expansion, but because we have space, and that cannot be ignored.

      Public transit: I never said public transit doesn’t work or was under-utilzed. (I will say that in many places it is MIS-utilized or poorly thought out). I did say we cannot afford to put it everywhere it would be needed under your proposal.

      “If we build rail, it will be full” How much do we charge for it to be full. Full-price? Offer a subsidy? At which point does an individual decide the price is not worth the convenience and they’d rather take their car instead?

      Yesterday the metro was out of service, so I walked 1.5 km to catch a bus, and added a good 45 minutes to my commute home. Is that acceptable?
      These are questions that cannot just be waved away when discussing this issue. Systems don’t exist in a vacuum.

    • ant6n 16:00 on 2013/02/08 Permalink

      “How far out does a region go?”
      about 30-35km out from the center, everything beyond that is negligible.

      “When people commute to cities from more than 100 km away, overall density matters.”
      The number of people who commute from that far is negligible.

      “I argue that sprawl exists not because of highway expansion, but because we have space, and that cannot be ignored.”
      Wrong. Also, irrelevant.

      “Public transit: I never said public transit doesn’t work or was under-utilzed. (I will say that in many places it is MIS-utilized or poorly thought out).”
      You wrote “We could take the entire population of the province of Quebec, dump them all into Montreal, and we still wouldn’t come close to the population density of that fabulous public transportation mecca NYC.”
      So yeah, that’s the claim that the region doesn’t have enough population density, and you used the country’s population density (a couple sentences beofore) to set up your “proof”.

      “I did say we cannot afford to put it everywhere it would be needed under your proposal.”
      I didn’t submit a detailed proposal to you, therefore you cannot have an informed opinion about its costs or merits. Given your aversion to numbers and facts, I’d say even if I gave a detailed proposal you wouldn’t be able to have an informed opinion.

      ““If we build rail, it will be full” How much do we charge for it to be full. Full-price? Offer a subsidy? At which point does an individual decide the price is not worth the convenience and they’d rather take their car instead?”
      Transportation costs money, rail and highways. That said, transit costs of fixed rail go down as passenger load increases.

      “Yesterday the metro was out of service, so I walked 1.5 km to catch a bus, and added a good 45 minutes to my commute home. Is that acceptable?’
      Metros break down, so do Highways.

      “These are questions that cannot just be waved away when discussing this issue. Systems don’t exist in a vacuum.”
      I never made such claim. I always said there are costs, just that the costs of the oil-driven economy are higher. You were the one saying I live in a fantasy world because I said there exist alternatives to oil — that’s the most hand-wavy thing in this whole thread.

    • Ant6n 20:56 on 2013/02/08 Permalink

      The greater Montreal area is considered to have 3.8 Million people in it. Let’s look how many people live within a certain distance from Downtown Montreal (from census 2011):

      5km: 475493
      10km: 1444576
      15km: 2141690
      20km: 2581138
      25km: 3053445
      30km: 3417921
      35km: 3678813
      40km: 3809836
      45km: 3892147
      50km: 4057097
      55km: 4200665
      60km: 4287868
      65km: 4396122
      70km: 4525690

      Although the rings are getting larger and larger, the population is getting smaller and smaller it’s just those far-away towns. For example St Jerome, where most people actually commute to … St Jerome.

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