Updates from April, 2017 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 14:04 on 2017/04/07 Permalink | Reply  

    A new fire chief has finally been named after the job was vacant for months.

  • Kate 14:00 on 2017/04/07 Permalink | Reply  

    Pedestrians have been one of the topics this week. Allison Hanes wrote about them in the Gazette and Peter Wheeland for CultMTL.

    Hanes writes a bland piece, opening by describing drivers/nondrivers as a new “two solitudes” – not exactly a fruitful insight – and ending with “It’s time for pedestrians to stand up for themselves and demand the respect they deserve.” What would this even mean? There’s Piétons Québec, which gets quoted occasionally in relevant news stories, but they can only do so much when everyone knows there’s cold comfort in being legally in the right when you’re lying on the road, injured or dead.

    And there’s Denis Coderre speaking up against right-on-red, good as far as it goes. Wheeland thinks Coderre brought this up to deflect attention from that $25,000 cheque people were asking questions about.

    Both do agree that infrastructure changes have to be made to calm traffic and make crossings safer for pedestrians. Villeray is trying something out, even if it’s only extra stop signs.

    • ant6n 15:52 on 2017/04/07 Permalink

      Announcing a big decision to not change anything does look like it’s just politics.

    • ant6n 16:50 on 2017/04/07 Permalink

      “Big announcement! I have decided to not scuttle the Metro system and even continue to subsidize it. Now vote for me poor people who can’t afford cars!”

    • rue david 18:51 on 2017/04/07 Permalink

      the way that this would work ideally is the dual measure of both empowering personal injury attorneys via increased exposure to civil liabilities for injury/death caused by non-reckless driving, and introducing real criminal liability for the same. the first would drive up insurance and force the cities/insurers into making sure that people really were road-safe. the second would hammer the point home by making examples of people at the odd interval.

      the idea that i can accidentally kill/cripple someone and pay almost no consequence because i did it by automobile is so offensive that future generations will look on it the way that we look at the lack of culpability/liability in old times in the coal or asbestos mines, or the fur trade.

    • jeather 20:10 on 2017/04/07 Permalink

      It’s a little weird to separate out drivers and non-drivers, as if people who drive do not also walk.

    • Fab Pine 12:39 on 2017/04/09 Permalink

      Maybe it’s time to acknowledge the extremely negative side effects of some of the machines that have taken over our public and private spaces?

    • Kate 12:43 on 2017/04/09 Permalink

      A lot of people already do, Fab Pine, but talk is cheap, and people love their cars.

    • Faiz Imam 15:24 on 2017/04/09 Permalink

      High fines for cellphone use behind the wheel have been shown to have limited effects, legal liability and lower speed limit signs are also useful, but tend to not lead to significant changes in behavior.

      The only real way to change behavior in street design. That means narrowing lanes, wider sidewalks, more curb bumps, more bike lanes, more street furniture.

      All those things are unpopular because they directly and materially affect drivers. But they *work* because they directly and materially affect drivers. Only the most idiotic driver would drive down St-Jacque at 70kmh while looking at a text message.

      I’m a big fan of reducing speed limits, because traffic engineers have a “bible” they use to justify street design. The look of a 50kmh street is different from a 30kmh street because the engineers said so. So once the posted limit goes down, it means the next time the street gets redone, they can add more slowdown measures.

      Problem is this takes years, decades. So our role should be that everytime a street work project opens up, we push hard to get as much “vision zero” elements into it as possible.

    • mare 19:04 on 2017/04/09 Permalink

      @faz imam It’s not that hard, a concrete 1x1x1m planter every 30 metre intermittent on the left and right side of a street , and the speed goes down considerably. Unfortunately the brotherhood of firemen is going to oppose that kind of traffic calming measures, just as they oppose speed bumps on too many streets, or speed bumps that actually work, at random intervals between 5 and 150 metre. Snow removal is also harder so it won’t happen.

  • Kate 12:14 on 2017/04/07 Permalink | Reply  

    Patrick Lejtenyi looks at two recent kidnappings of men with brunch restaurants in the Montreal area. As he says, no apparent link between the two incidents, but a strange coincidence nonetheless.

    Lejtenyi has started covering historic crime stories for Vice, and also has a detailed account of the career of Valery Fabrikant.

  • Kate 11:20 on 2017/04/07 Permalink | Reply  

    The STM plans to do some demolition and construction at the complex on Crémazie – commonly called the Ateliers Youville – where bus and metro maintenance is done, and they’ve been exempted from planting as many trees as the law mandates. With a drawing of the proposed new building.

  • Kate 11:00 on 2017/04/07 Permalink | Reply  

    Road closure notes here for the weekend and for longer terms. The Jacques-Cartier is going to be closed all weekend. CTV has a map of the closures affecting NDG and Global looks at the planned closure of Monkland.

  • Kate 10:12 on 2017/04/07 Permalink | Reply  

    Denis Coderre says he’s open to considering a congestion charge like the one London has had since 2003. Wikipedia on how this works.

    • rue david 12:38 on 2017/04/07 Permalink

      ie. the bridge toll he railed against.

    • Ephraim 22:35 on 2017/04/07 Permalink

      There is a short list of things that he can do before that, that will help. Though I think that a toll into the city is needed.

      A parking tax – A few dollars (start with $2 on our way to $10) to any car parked in the same paid parking space for over 2 hours. Applies to not only parking lots but even Stationnement Montreal. (Which should be handed back to the city anyway.) This applies to all paid parking, including monthly with the exception of residential spots. If a residential spot is rented to someone else who does not live in the same building complex, not only does the tax apply, but the parking spot is taxed as commercial. And if I remember correctly, metered parking is legally supposed to be limited to 2 hours… the new app shouldn’t let you just extend it all day long. It’s not about being paid, it’s supposed to be a convenience for cars that need short term parking… not a get rich scheme for Stationnement Montreal.

      As I have said a long time ago, the STM, the Police and the city should pay for it’s parking spaces. If you want an example of why, just go visit St-Christophe at deMaisonneuve or Price Arthur at St-Laurent. The parking belongs to the citizens of the city. When it is taken for other uses, the city coffers should be compensated. The first year you add this into the budget and tax it back. It’s an accounting thing. But it will finally make departments of the city take notice of what they are using and consider that use. Until you pay for it, it doesn’t matter. Incidentally, this also applies to the parking lots of the Police. Legally the police who part their personal vehicles need to either pay for the spot or be taxed on it’s value. That’s part of Quebec tax law, it’s a benefit and taxable.

      As far as the congestion charge. I honestly think this is something that we need to implement, but just in the morning and on the way in, not out. You drive in to Montreal from 7AM to 9:30AM, you pay. If you wait until before or after rush hour… free. It’s a way to get people to car share, commute or at least think of coming into Montreal differently. And I don’t think that taxis should be exempt… they can just add it into the fare. You want to travel at that time, you pay it.

    • ant6n 09:58 on 2017/04/08 Permalink

      Stockholm uses a congestion charge that depends on the time, where the peak cost approximately matches the transit fare, and is charged on entry/exit of the inner city:

    • Ephraim 11:41 on 2017/04/08 Permalink

      In Singapore it depends on the traffic. The more traffic, the higher the price. The only vehicles exempted are emergency vehicles. They can vary the price based on time, traffic or even the type of vehicle. It’s called Electronic Road Pricing.

    • Uatu 23:12 on 2017/04/08 Permalink

      I remember seeing a report on the London congestion zone (I think it was on 60min.? ) and all it did was push traffic out of the congestion zone and into the surrounding streets and roads. Similarly, if we had congestion pricing between 7-9am then it would move traffic jams between 5-7am or something like that. That would make Singapores electronic solution the most effective, but also ripe for abuse by a cash hungry govt… which is getting road money from the gas tax in the 1st place.

      I would prefer better, reliable transit and the tax break on my bus pass back. As it is, I’m tempted to now use my car since gas+parking comes out to a few dollars more than my pass and I don’t have to wait and ride alongside (I’m not kidding): unruly teens, homeless dudes scratching their asses, yelling schizophrenics, aggressive panhandlers etc.

    • ant6n 17:16 on 2017/04/09 Permalink

      Most people want to go to downtown, and it’s impossible to push that traffic outside of downtown. So if there’s increase of traffic outside of downtown, it means that the people don’t use downtown anymore to make car trips that don’t start or end in downtown — that’s a good thing.

      Similarly for time. If the congestion charge encourages people to travel outside of peak hours, it means traffic is more spread out over the day. That’s also a good thing.

  • Kate 10:01 on 2017/04/07 Permalink | Reply  

    CBC is looking back at Vimy Ridge and the casualties to Montreal regiments.

    I can’t claim any close relatives in World War I, though a man in my wider family tree was with the 42nd Battalion. Although Walter Matthews died in 1936 his death certificate says war injuries: his health may have been permanently blighted by injuries or a chemical attack. He was 50 when he died, and he was buried under a military gravestone.

    Poison chemicals used in war are still topical. We never learn.

    • Michael Black 11:04 on 2017/04/07 Permalink

      They’ve put a lot of WWI records online, including letters home. I found a new name to look up, and a google search found a letter in the WWI archives. So you may not have to run searches right at the archive. But running searches on names from the right period may turn up something.


    • Kate 11:13 on 2017/04/07 Permalink

      Michael Black, it’s not that I don’t know about my closer relatives. I do. None of them were in either world war. Some were working in industrial jobs necessary to the war effort, some were outside the target age groups at the time, or were disqualified for other reasons, like a heart murmur in one case. My great-uncle John tried to sign up for the Irish Guards in WWI, but after two weeks was sent home as “unlikely to become an efficient soldier.”

    • Bill Binns 12:22 on 2017/04/07 Permalink

      I read a lot about WW2 when I was younger but have been reading about WW1 for the last few years. I find WW1 much more interesting. WW1 started with guys on horses waving swords and wearing plate armor looking only a little different from soldiers of Napoleon’s time and ended with machine guns and bombers and chemical warfare. There is a podcast called Hardcore History put out by a guy named Dan Carlin that did an amazing multi-part presentation on WW1. It’s something like12-15 hours but riveting from beginning to end.

    • Kate 12:28 on 2017/04/07 Permalink

      The rights and wrongs of WWII felt clear to me, growing up, but the motives and relative claims in the earlier war have always been more complicated and vague. So maybe I should give it a listen, although it might be interesting to read up on the specifically Canadian angles too. Most of what I know is that Canadian men were first encouraged to join the army, then forced to do so, and conscription was always a sore point in Quebec, in both world wars.

    • dwgs 14:51 on 2017/04/07 Permalink

      The personnel records that are available online are an incredible thing. I found the enlistment papers for both of my grandfathers, written in their own hand more than 100 years ago. I then ordered their complete records and was astonished to find that my maternal grandfather who was from southwestern Ontario had lived in Montreal at some point and was married to a woman who predated my grandmother (my family otherwise has no connection to this city before I moved here in 89). Apparently his first wife died of the Spanish flu. I was also surprised (and pleased) to find that my mother’s middle name is the name of his first wife.

    • John B 15:14 on 2017/04/07 Permalink

      You can often download the entire service file – I don’t think they’re all online yet, but they will be eventually. The ones from my ancestors that I downloaded are pretty boring, (they figured out some way to work desk jobs in London), so it’s mostly a bunch of pay records, but it’s still impressive that we can download them.

      The Hardcore History series on WWI is impressive. The book “The Sleepwalkers” by Christopher Clark dives deep into the forces that caused the war to even happen and is worth a read if you’re interested in the backstory.

    • Ian 15:59 on 2017/04/07 Permalink

      I’ve been reading a lot of original source news from WWI for the last few years, it’s very interesting to see the contemporary analysis without the benefit of hindsight, especially comparing German and French sources. There’s still a surprising amount of original news magazines and suchlike from the time that you can find in flea markets and used bookstores that go for next to nothing as it’s an area of interest that isn’t especially popular. FWIW my maternal family were farmers so were exempted except for my bachelor great-uncle who died in the French trenches. I haven’t been able to find his records, unfortunately.

      My somewhat younger paternal grandfather fought in WW2, mostly in Sicily and Italy, and was part of the liberation of the Netherlands. My paternal grandmother’s family were actually Sicilian immigrants, from the same region my grandfather fought in. My Sicilian relatives in Canada were all steel factory workers, so were exempted from conscription.

    • rue david 19:13 on 2017/04/07 Permalink

      wow! dwgs! even has addresses and everything, what a resource. wow. now the question is of if “clarke” street is the same as “clark” street, or whether “clarke” has been lost to demolition/renaming.

    • Kate 21:20 on 2017/04/07 Permalink

      There’s a “Clarke” in Westmount, rue david. But also, some street addresses were renumbered in the 1920s.

    • rue david 01:13 on 2017/04/08 Permalink

      yeah, kate, it’s not that clarke, unless the addresses were re-numbered. i’m betting it was some flophouse type situation on the actual clark street that was mistranscribed as “clarke,” because the address corresponds with the opus hotel, or whatever it’s called now, at the corner of sherbrooke and main. pretty amazing to think that a great grandfather of mine might have been a plateau character like me 100 years ago.

    • Kate 01:30 on 2017/04/08 Permalink

      rue david, an interesting source is the Lovell directories on the BAnQ site. You pick the “Montréal et sa banlieue” tab at left and then “Série principale (1842-1977)”. Choose your year tab, and you’ll see the sections inside the directory. The two interesting tabs are “Annuaire montréalais des rues”, which lists every street and address and who lives there (head of house only, alas – it’s not a census – but at least you often get their occupation and sometimes even their employer), and “Annuaire alphabétique montréalais”, which lists individuals and businesses alphabetically.

      I used the Lovell listings non-genealogically to find out who had lived in the apartment I’m now living in, and was able to talk to some folks who came by last year to look at the one next door (in the same building) because they were with an older relative who lived there long ago. And he remembered one of the tenants who’d lived in my flat, Louis Lachapelle, who was a security guard at the transit commission’s Youville yards, not far away from here. What made an impression on him as a young man was that Lachapelle was allowed to own a gun.

  • Kate 09:49 on 2017/04/07 Permalink | Reply  

    As presaged in weather warnings, some flooding has followed the rain, mostly off-island, and some rivers and streams have risen.

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