Updates from March, 2017 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 16:08 on 2017/03/21 Permalink | Reply  

    The pricetag for the REM has now passed $6 billion with the purchase of 40 new train cars added to the tab.

    • ant6n 16:57 on 2017/03/21 Permalink

      Funny, my BAPE memoir pointed out that they couldn’t get the service levels they needed just to maintain existing peak capacity on the Deux-Montagnes line with the 200 train cars they were going to order. I wonder how many other things I warned about will turn out true…

    • ant6n 17:25 on 2017/03/21 Permalink

      Funny also how this “addendum” to the REM costs about as much (140M$) as getting all-day 15-minute service on the Deux-Montagnes line would cost, which would provide the same capacity at least on that line.

    • Brenda 18:25 on 2017/03/21 Permalink

      I fear that as long as the general public remains ignorant of local politics, scams like this one are possible.

    • Faiz Imam 21:03 on 2017/03/21 Permalink

      This was basically a move they planned on doing years from now in a later expansion. They’ve just moved it forward.

      It deals with some of the capacity issues, but while high frequency solves the problem it’s prone to grounding to a halt with any sort of interruption(to be fair, just like rush hour metros). But bigger stations and trains that run a bit less often would be more robust, but increases capital costs. They’ve repeatedly made clear they won’t do that .

      They’ve finalized a few other changes that have been talked about for a while now, design changes in stations, a new pedestrian overpass in TMR, smaller fixes.

      The biggest of which is a dedicated green zone around the south shore terminal. Any fears of sprawl into farmland have been dealt with. It’ll all be turned into some sort of farming and nature preserve.

      Honestly I’d rather they zone it high density and build there too, but 3000 surface parking spots means anyone living there would have a bad experience. If it’s gonna be a dedicated park and ride(admittedly with large bus terminal) this preservation is better than low density autodependent developments being built around it.

      In related news, couillard has asked for federal funds for the REM AND blue line extension in the federal budget. I hope they both move forward equally, but if im honest I’ll admit i’m less hopeful the blue line will actually see movement. That’s where I’d want to put political pressure though. We need to spend less on highways and more on transit projects all over the board.

    • ant6n 02:49 on 2017/03/22 Permalink

      They claimed they only needed this kind of capacity in 2040. Now they’re running out of capacity on day one, when a non-automated heavy rail solution would be cheaper to build, cheaper to operate (due to not charging capital costs to the operations budget), and would have more than double the capacity and allow the sharing of the tunnel.

      This project is a scam.

    • Phil C. 11:12 on 2017/03/22 Permalink

      It will be running at its absolute maximum designed headway right from day one. I guess they’re expecting zero ridership growth? An airport train along the old proposed alignment would have killed two birds with one stone by providing rapid transit to ndg as well as the airport. For the deux montagnes line, even upgrading all the stations to level boarding and double tracking would probably still only be about a billion. Hell, even throw in a station under Edouard-montpetit. There are so many other options. Shovels haven’t even hit the ground yet and people are treating this project like a done deal.

    • Brenda 11:37 on 2017/03/22 Permalink

      Some of our politicians can already taste the sweet kickbacks from this train to nowhere. There’s no other reason to be excited about it.

    • ant6n 13:39 on 2017/03/22 Permalink

      @Phil C
      I think you over-estimate the costs for the Deux-Montagnes line. Building high-level platforms costs 10-15M per station at most, so that would cost 110-160M$ for the 11 stations. The required double-tracking would cost probably 50-80M$. And maybe it would be good to purchase a couple more trains, for maybe 50-100M$.

      I guess if you throw in the underground stations (McGill, EdouardMontpetit) that’ll add 300-500M$.

    • Phil C. 21:17 on 2017/03/22 Permalink

      You’re definitely right about the numbers, I just gave a very high estimate to show that even 1/6 of the money allocated to this project can do the same work.
      In an odd twist, according to the federal budget, 0$ is allocated to this project. Maybe now is the time for more sensible alternatives to swoop in! Quebec will take a harder look at the rem when it’s coming out of their own pocket book

  • Kate 15:44 on 2017/03/21 Permalink | Reply  

    That Macleans essay has people steamed: the Journal says this is the third time the magazine has insulted Quebec – although, to be fair, its 2010 claim that Quebec was corrupt was borne out by evidence at the Charbonneau commission – and Philippe Couillard said it was an article of very poor quality.

    Essay author Andrew Potter has hedged, saying on Facebook (link is in the La Presse article) that his piece “makes a few assertions that I wish to retract. It also contains some rhetorical flourishes […] for which I wish to apologize.” TVA also reports on the apology (video).

    • rue david 16:05 on 2017/03/21 Permalink

      it’s a real shame how often mcgill makes the news with these object lessons in how quality of their people is declining. that a philosophy professor heading the MISC would write this sort of thing (what was that bit about the cash machines dispensing $50 bills?) is not great for mcgill’s reputation. but worse is that they’re forced to hire the sort of guy who’d right this sort of thing.

    • Patrick 18:51 on 2017/03/21 Permalink

      I notice the Maclean’s piece now acknowledges two errors, including the restaurant bill and the ATM thing. Whatever happened to pre-publication fact-checking?
      This is also a blow to the MISC, which under Jack Jedwab and Will Straw did some good work promoting “Canadian” studies in a province where that designation can raise hackles.

    • JaneyB 21:37 on 2017/03/21 Permalink

      I didn’t realize he was a real professor… Guy’s got a PhD in philosophy and somehow got the post of editor of the Ottawa Citizen – only to produce crap like that piece. He must have some very powerful friends.

    • Lucas 22:27 on 2017/03/21 Permalink

      The reaction to his piece is not that of a healthy or open democracy. Quebec’s pattern of bizarre and reflexive attacks of unflattering articles is clearly indicative of something more deeply problematic. Do people really believe that everyone who views Quebec in a way different than them is a sinister Mordecai Richler fifth column who should be silenced? Why don’t people discuss the relevant survey data he mentions?

    • DeWolf 00:47 on 2017/03/22 Permalink

      I think the reaction was fair. This wasn’t an insightful, thought-provoking essay that conveyed a nuanced critique of Quebec society. It was a hit piece loaded with ludicrous claims and sweeping conclusions that weren’t supported by any sound arguments.

      The data he mentions would be useful with more context, but the way Potter presented them falls into the “one study” trap since it failed to consider their methodology, potential shortcoming or any inherent biases.

      Reacting strongly to a shoddy, deliberately sensationalist piece of work is not censorship.

  • Kate 15:36 on 2017/03/21 Permalink | Reply  

    The roads of this town are being pounded by 200,000 more vehicles today than they were five years ago. Inevitably, this means more and longer traffic jams (link plays video).

    • rue david 15:45 on 2017/03/21 Permalink

      how is that possible? it must be measured by vehicle miles, and related to the change in the cost in gasoline, along with the improved economy? seems like so much housing has gone up since then, and so much of it without any parking at all, that if anything one might be forgiven for assuming that the number of vehicles on the road might not have changed at all. one also wonders about just how much winter factors into it. there was a string of mild ones that could have kept driving down somewhat artificially, as people were content to walk or wait for the bus. hm.

      will be interesting to see where it stands in 5 years when another 10k people live downtown and the REM is (supposedly) up and running.

    • Kate 16:16 on 2017/03/21 Permalink

      It’s the norm to hand out infinite numbers of licence plates. I’ve said it before and been shouted down: that has to end.

    • CE 16:46 on 2017/03/21 Permalink

      I definitely would not shout that down. Anything that makes driving more difficult and unpleasant is fine in my books.

    • mare 17:54 on 2017/03/21 Permalink

      Nice idea, but unenforceable. People will register cars elsewhere, like with an aunt in Laval, or a cousin in Mascouche.

    • ant6n 18:20 on 2017/03/21 Permalink

      So increase the affected area.
      I’d be careful, we shouldn’t create a medallion system like exists for cabs, where the supply is limited and whoever holds one can use it as some sort of investment vehicle.
      It may be better to just increase the annual cost for owning an individual vehicle.

    • jeather 20:21 on 2017/03/21 Permalink

      Maximum numbers of license plates will not succeed (how would you even enact it?), but yearly registration costs and gas tax increases could.

    • Kevin 21:03 on 2017/03/21 Permalink

      We have more cars because we have more people living in areas where they need cars, i.e. the suburbs, specifically south of the river.

      (and forget the percentages, look at the actual numbers. 40,000 more cars in Laval, 66,000 more on the island, but 125,000 more on the South Shore since 2007. That’s the big shift)

      To stop it you need either better public transit to-from the regions and within the regions themselves, or to enact a London-style congestion tax.
      But since the only places with voter volatility are in the 450, provincial politicians will do everything they can to stop the second option.

    • ant6n 03:35 on 2017/03/22 Permalink

      So first we need to fix the electoral system.

      The fact that people accept that politicians pander to certain areas because there’s only “voter volatility” in those areas is accepting the corruption of democracy at its most basic level. I would go even further and say that people who bring up this as an “unfortunate reality” are essentially concern trolls who are effectively apologists for corruption.

    • Jonathan 07:08 on 2017/03/22 Permalink

      Wait – so you mean if we build new highways (the 30 extension, the 25, the 50 extension, etc) it means it will encourage housing development and more car use? That’s news to me.

  • Kate 15:35 on 2017/03/21 Permalink | Reply  

    A dead man was found beside autoroute 13 in Laval late Tuesday morning. Cops seem to know he had been kidnapped earlier in the day, and from where. The northbound 13 may be closed for some time.

  • Kate 13:14 on 2017/03/21 Permalink | Reply  

    As presaged, 36 stays of proceedings have been handed down in the Operation Clemenza case.

  • Kate 10:18 on 2017/03/21 Permalink | Reply  

    The Journal alleges that blue collar workers demand bribes from contractors, without which their worksites could languish expensively. This was first reported last October.

    • Ephraim 10:37 on 2017/03/21 Permalink

      The four ways to end corruption…. end impunity (we don’t prosecute enough and we need to show people that not only do we prosecute, we prosecute 100% of the time,) audit the projects and the employees, transparency, and finally empower citizens/companies (a way to complain that is opaque).

      Hand the amount over to RQ and let them go through the employees taxes to see if he declared the ill gotten gains (Incidentally, there are countries where you can declare ill gotten gains to avoid having the tax department go after you, but I digress.) Nothing is scarier than a RQ audit, especially when they know you actually were given money that you didn’t declare.

    • Kate 10:57 on 2017/03/21 Permalink

      How can they audit a bribe that was handed over in cash and that was spent directly and not banked?

      This is a news story, so I blogged it, but it doesn’t worry me. It’s not great, but a bribe of fifty or a hundred bucks is nothing compared to what goes on behind closed doors at the management level.

    • Ephraim 19:59 on 2017/03/21 Permalink

      Hard to make cash appear at a corporation. It has to come from some account. Start to look and a lot of rotten things show up.

      That is why some companies have systems in place to prevent it. For example, some corporations don’t allow buyers to be alone when being presented goods and need to make a decision on the spot, with cameras recording.

  • Kate 10:02 on 2017/03/21 Permalink | Reply  

    The remaining members of Vrai changement pour Montréal, the party originally headed by Mélanie Joly, have refused to join up with Projet to confront Denis Coderre this November.

    Vrai changement has only three reps in council. Its leader Justine MacIntyre says Projet gets too distracted by matters like pink taxes and the minimum wage that have nothing to do with municipal affairs.

    • Ephraim 10:43 on 2017/03/21 Permalink

      They are correct and they have also gotten involved in International Relations as well. It’s a municipal party… once things go outside of dealing with the provincial or federal governments and matters of the city the answer should always be “Sorry, but that’s outside of our realm.”

      Stay on topic. It’s the only way to ensure you are doing the right job for the right people.

    • ant6n 13:34 on 2017/03/21 Permalink


  • Kate 09:38 on 2017/03/21 Permalink | Reply  

    A bit of road near the Bell Centre has been closed after it partly collapsed. That this spot is between two huge new buildings doesn’t give me confidence: how careful are architects and engineers when faced with a complex infrastructure near their project? I haven’t forgotten how an older building in Griffintown had to be evacuated when it began to collapse because a big new condo project was going up nearby.

  • Kate 03:26 on 2017/03/21 Permalink | Reply  

    A study done in London shows that transit users are healthier than drivers and don’t even catch colds or flu at the same rate.

    • CE 08:13 on 2017/03/21 Permalink

      I saw a study once that showed that the exercise from the walk to the bus stop or metro station and then the walk to work twice a day was more exercise than a large number of car drivers would get daily. Surprised about the cold and flu rates though, I always assumed every sickness I picked up came from the metro.

    • Kate 10:27 on 2017/03/21 Permalink

      To be honest, I’ve thought so too – people sneezing and coughing on the bus, sometimes it feels like a plague ship.

    • Michael Black 10:40 on 2017/03/21 Permalink

      But maybe the regular contact builds up immunity. Someone driving is more isolated, so when they do meet someone who is sick, they catch it. Public transit riders are in contact all along.


    • Uatu 11:25 on 2017/03/21 Permalink

      Or the regular activity and excercise builds up the immune system. I read once that there has to be a balance of exercise to keep the immune system effective. Too much can weaken the system as much as inactivity….

    • CE 16:49 on 2017/03/21 Permalink

      Maybe both work together to keep transit users healthier.

  • Kate 00:37 on 2017/03/21 Permalink | Reply  

    Montreal is supposed to be looking into becoming a resilient city, although I fear this risks becoming just another catchphrase like smart city. And yet the snarl on A-13 last week is still making headlines and may trail through the courts for months or years, showing us that we weren’t exactly prepared for a spring snowstorm, a phenomenon we’ve seen before that shouldn’t have left us with our pants down.

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