Updates from October, 2017 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 20:27 on 2017/10/26 Permalink | Reply  

    There were some difficulties with this instance of the blog, so I’m continuing for now at mtlcityweblog.com. Will keep readers informed what happens next.

  • Kate 08:46 on 2017/10/08 Permalink | Reply  

    Radio-Canada recently did an audio piece on the life of Camillien Houde, “Monsieur Montréal”.

    The Centre d’histoire has a brief piece on what it was like to immigrate here in 1914 with a picture of an historic building torn down last year.

    Pamplemousse says Gabriel Deschambault is on vacation and is rerunning a piece I don’t think I linked to, his first history piece for that site about the angel statuary on the façade of St-Enfant-Jésus church.

  • Kate 08:28 on 2017/10/08 Permalink | Reply  

    Three mayors of island towns have been returned by acclamation when nobody filed papers to challenge them: Kirkland, Hampstead and TMR.

    Valérie Plante is promising money to repair and restore park chalets.

    The Gazette’s René Bruemmer looks at what he’s calling the two sides of Denis Coderre.

    • Faiz Imam 16:50 on 2017/10/21 Permalink

      apparently the acclimation thing is much more common than people think. I saw a report that almost half of all positions province wide are acclaimed.

      My initial response is to bemoan the lack of civic participation and local democracy, but a guy on TV argued that much of it comes from a general satisfaction with our governance. At or least a lack of strong frustration for change.

      I’m not sure how far I buy that, but there’s certainly some amount of truth to it.

  • Kate 22:12 on 2017/10/07 Permalink | Reply  

    Manger, c’est voter.

    Normand Laprise
  • Kate 08:52 on 2017/10/07 Permalink | Reply  

    Radio-Canada looks at the eight candidates on the mayoral ticket in Montreal.

    Nominations closed October 6. The Gazette has a page with a pull-down feature listing all the candidates – headed, on the page I got, by a video commercial for the Conservative Party (bleah).

    Valérie Plante is pushing for a cycling expressway made safer in various ways than existing bike paths, as cycling becomes a major thing in the campaign. CBC summarizes the various proposals re cycling.

    François Cardinal makes a plea for an end to the “autoroute” across the mountain.

    Ironically, for all that I’m perceived as anti-car, I have to say that the occasional ride over the mountain with friends who drive has always been a pleasure. Also, the tradition of driving up to the eastern lookout would have to end. But Camillien Houde himself said that they’d build a road over the mountain over his dead body (which, essentially, they did) and maybe we’re finally realizing he was right.

    • Poutine Pundit 11:14 on 2017/10/07 Permalink

      He’s not talking about eliminating roads altogether but of creating “deux boucles fermées, l’une à partir d’Outremont, l’autre de Côte-des-Neiges”–except for transit, which could go through. You could still drive to the eastern lookout from the eastern side.

    • Ephraim 12:00 on 2017/10/07 Permalink

      And of course, the mountain shouldn’t be accessible for the handicapped. The old. The infirm. It should be limited to those who are fully able bodied.

    • Daisy 14:12 on 2017/10/07 Permalink

      Maybe there could be some sort of accessible transportation system other than a slew of personal fast-moving automobiles though? (Many old people don’t drive, and some that do shouldn’t.) Some kind of tram maybe?

    • Blork 14:32 on 2017/10/07 Permalink

      I wonder if closing the road to through-traffic would create other problems that are worse. For example, the added traffic on Côte-Sainte-Catherine and Ave. de Pins. Are those streets ready to take the extra burden?

      Also, it means that people on the east side will only have easy access to the east-side lookouts and people on the west will only have easy access to the west-side lookouts. OK, that’s not the biggest problem ever, but it’s a bit sad. I imagine that if the road had ALWAYS been blocked to through traffic that there would be a lot of noise (by the same people) about opening up the mountain and making it more accessible.

    • ant6n 21:43 on 2017/10/07 Permalink

      Cars could access from both side. Plus, the bus is also accessible.

    • Ephraim 22:10 on 2017/10/07 Permalink

      Blork, Pine clearly can’t handle it. It regularly backs up all the way to Park Avenue now.

    • ant6n 22:17 on 2017/10/07 Permalink

      The street is used for largely non-local through-traffic. The traffic may disperse across much further areas than just Cote-St-Catherine and Pine, but also Sherbrooke, Renee Levesque, Van Horne, Jean-Talon.

      If cities can tear down urban multi-lane highways with traffic dispersing, I think it should be possible to get rid of a single two lane road — which incidentally has gotten slower over the years, due to all the stop signs.

    • JaneyB 08:57 on 2017/10/08 Permalink

      @Ephraim – agreed. Transplants and the anti-car folk often forget that many Montrealers have aging parents and grandparents who like to be driven around on weekends. Taking a 85yo grandmother on the bus is just not on: it’s too crowded, too abrupt and they get tired quickly and sometimes need bulky equipment. If you have one or two little kids and an aging parent, there will be field trips that require cars. Car access is surprisingly important for places like parks.

  • Kate 08:10 on 2017/10/07 Permalink | Reply  

    Architect Dan Hanganu has died. Hanganu marked the city with buildings like the Pointe-à-Callière history museum and the HEC on Côte-Ste-Catherine. Born in Romania, Hanganu lived here for decades. He was 78.

    Illustrator Francis Back has also died. Son of a more famous father, he did a lot of historical re-creation work.

  • Kate 07:53 on 2017/10/07 Permalink | Reply  

    Following the CBC item, CTV now looks at the group with ideas for reviving the Empress Theatre. Nobody can deny it’s in a great location for an NDG arts centre but nobody can get the financial and political support needed to pull it off.

    • JaneyB 09:01 on 2017/10/08 Permalink

      They should approach some wealthier people in Toronto. Some of them are from Montreal and have forgotten about the Empress but might be open to some investing. I can’t see the bucks coming from the province or the city.

  • Kate 18:26 on 2017/10/06 Permalink | Reply  

    Panning for news I find this nugget: Business Day notes that separatism talk may make Barcelona go the way of Montreal in losing head offices and other corporate entities because of political instability.

    • Ephraim 08:25 on 2017/10/07 Permalink

      The Spanish government already passed resolutions allowing certain companies to move and keep their charters intact.

  • Kate 18:14 on 2017/10/06 Permalink | Reply  

    It’s not often this blog takes note of an alleged fratricide, but a homicide in Montreal North – following a fight between two brothers in their sixties – adds to the short list. Homicide #18 if you’re keeping count.

    • Faiz Imam 16:55 on 2017/10/21 Permalink

      23 last year was a record low, so we’re still on target!

  • Kate 18:11 on 2017/10/06 Permalink | Reply  

    Hundreds of cyclists held a memorial ride for Clément Ouimet Friday afternoon up the Camillien-Houde.

  • Kate 10:03 on 2017/10/06 Permalink | Reply  

    While we’re griping about terminology around incidents on the road, what about La congestion s’aggrave dans la banlieue nord de Montréal? We permit the construction of massive commuter suburbs and then talk about traffic congestion as a thing that just happens, a force of nature rather than an inevitable consequence of careless urban planning.

    • SteveQ 10:08 on 2017/10/06 Permalink

      We just needed to look at American cities to realize that developping far away suburbs would eventually lead to major traffic congestions. But we didn’t and we are now in the same trap. Sad !

      Now, if they allow to develop more, well, things will only get worst. It’s very simple.

    • mare 10:43 on 2017/10/06 Permalink

      The suburbs are allowing the development of these new subdivisions themselves, without any government oversight. They need the tax dollars, and have the space. For example Boisbriand advertises their new developments with big billboards “only 20 minutes from Montreal”, and then expects highway 15 to magically widen into a 10 line highway. Which will eventually happen because too many voters are involved to ignore them, and the province will build one, with money left over from their austerity measures.

      Without a body of government (the province) that sets a master plan and can make municipalities stick to it, nothing will change and the Montreal agglomeration will grow larger and larger and the traffic congestion will get worse and worse.

      Toll bridges to the island won’t help, nobody is going to give up their suburban lifestyle and move to the city. It might just offset the maintenance of Montreal’s crumbling infrastructure.

      Anecdotal evidence: we had a young couple with two kids move from the burbs into the 7 1/2 apartment in our building. Despite being urban planners they used their car for everything and complained loudly about the noise that other tenants and neighbours made, like walking on creaking floors in a 1928 building. Theiy had high shouting matches themselves with their kids but that was ‘normal’. Their kids never played with other kids in the alleyway, and they never socialized with neighbours either. They lasted a year before they moved back to the burbs, and only that long because they didn’t want to break their lease.

    • MargaretG 11:11 on 2017/10/06 Permalink

      Re: the couple from the burbs, it sound like they made an honest effort to try to make the city work for their family, but it couldn’t meet their needs in the end. I applaud the effort. If the city isn’t prepared to make changes that will attract families, that’s ok, but it only makes sense that families will eventually seek out something more suitable.

    • ant6n 12:37 on 2017/10/06 Permalink

      You can have a single family house + car lifestyle all over Montreal, even in the Plateau and Ville-Marie.

      The sad thing about sprawl is that we’ve known the issues, we’ve known the causes, we’ve known the solutions, all for a long time. We even have a plan to try to stop it (PMAD). But then it all gets ignored and we just build more sprawl and infrastructure that encourages sprawl.

    • Ali Bear 18:48 on 2017/10/07 Permalink

      Couple from burbs sounds like they weren’t patient enough. It can take up to six years to get used to living in a community again. Suburban isolation causes serious social damage, but it can usually be reversed if treated in time, and for a long enough duration.

  • Kate 08:00 on 2017/10/06 Permalink | Reply  

    Promises are coming thick and fast in the mayoral campaign:

    Both Coderre and Plante have promised more money for culture with Coderre putting the spin on prolonging features from the 375th celebrations.

    Plante is talking about converting the Blue Bonnets site into a new neighbourhood for families by ordaining that a majority of the construction should include three bedrooms or more.

    Coderre attended this week’s all-night support-for-the-homeless event, for an hour, and talked about supporting them.

    Coderre is also promising to do something about the Black Rock, even though Hydro-Quebec bought the land recently with plans that don’t include a memorial to the Irish ship fever victims.

    • Douglas 13:07 on 2017/10/06 Permalink

      I like the Blue Bonnets idea.

    • Kate 18:23 on 2017/10/06 Permalink

      Yes, and it sounds great, but where are the legal mechanisms? The same issues come into play here that created the sprawl and congestion mentioned in the next post: there are limits to what cities can order developers to do. We worship the free market, and if there’s more profit in building towers of 700-sq-ft condos with one bedroom on the island of Montreal, that’s what will get built, even while we know this kind of construction means more families will flee off-island. Talk alone will not fix this.

    • ant6n 01:02 on 2017/10/07 Permalink

      Zoning and developer rights? I mean, isn’t the reason we don’t have enough multi-family stuff because the city doesn’t really care, as long as something gets built?

      I thought the city owns the Bonnets now, this means they can mandate whatever they want.

  • Kate 07:06 on 2017/10/06 Permalink | Reply  

    Weekend traffic notes: avoid the Mercier bridge; the Deux-Montagnes train line will not be operating; more undoubtedly to come.

  • Kate 06:59 on 2017/10/06 Permalink | Reply  

    TVA says the orange line is down Friday morning till 7:30 but doesn’t mention it also went down Thursday evening, long enough for buses to be put on instead. Orange line’s Twitter feed. TVA link plays video.

    CBC radio says it’s still down at 7:30 between Henri-Bourassa and Berri-UQÀM. Emergency buses are running.

    8:00, service is back.

    • Yves 12:41 on 2017/10/06 Permalink

      The problem with saying “the orange line is down” is that we always blame the STM for lack of maintenance or whatever. But the interruption this morning was actually caused by someone jumping in front of the train at the Laurier station. My co worker was waiting at this station when it happened… ouch. A few years ago, I remember reading that, in the fall, there was 1 suicide attempt per day. I don’t know if it is still the case.

    • Kate 14:08 on 2017/10/06 Permalink

      Apparently last night’s outage was a technical breakdown of some kind, so that happens too. It’s a complex system that involves human and mechanical factors all of which are prone to faults of various kinds, and there’s a limit to which these can be reduced.

  • Kate 21:57 on 2017/10/05 Permalink | Reply  

    It’s linked below by Alex L, but I think it’s worth emphasizing this item on how cyclist deaths are reported. Example: the Gazette account of the death of Clément Ouimet on Wednesday: Ouimet was “struck by a car that made a sudden U-turn near the Camillien-Houde Belvedere.”

    The car did not suddenly make a U-turn. The driver did.

    The Gazette story goes on about political promises to make the road safer but nothing is said about dealing with drivers whose delinquency causes injury and death.

    • Kevin 23:30 on 2017/10/05 Permalink

      My preferred terminology is to say that drivers strike and kill, not the vehicle.
      I get quite a few complaints about that.

    • Chris 09:48 on 2017/10/06 Permalink

      And the use of the word “accident” is a pet peeve of mine too. One does not “accidentally” make an illegal u turn, and the result is not an “accident”.

    • Blork 11:27 on 2017/10/06 Permalink

      As someone who writes technical information for a living, I’m going to call bullshit on much (but not all) of this.

      Regarding “The car did not suddenly make a U-turn. The driver did.” The car most definitely made the U-turn, even though it was the driver who made the decision and controlled the car.

      When the Costa Concordia cruise ship bottomed-out and capsized off the coast of Italy a few years ago, we didn’t say “the captain of a ship capsized off the coast of Italy,” we said “a cruise ship capsized off the coast of Italy.” Yes, it was the captain’s fault, but it’s the vehicle that capsized, just as it was the vehicle that made the U-turn. (Ditto when a plane crashes; we don’t say “a pilot crashed into the lake” we say “a plane crashed into the lake.”)

      I understand that this point-of-view comes out of frustration with issues around motor vehicles, but the press is supposed to be neutral. They’re not supposed to write nonsensical headlines just to assuage the outrage of people who don’t like cars. (That said, there are cases where the headlines do go too easy on the vehicles, but I’m just talking about the examples discussed here.)

      The same applies to “accident.” It is true that one does not “accidentally” pull a U-turn. But the “accident” wasn’t the U-turn, the accident was the collision that resulted from the U-turn. The driver did not intentionally cause the collision, so it was an accident, even if it was caused by carelessness or negligence.

      By way of example, imagine if you were carrying ten glasses of water from the kitchen to the dining room and you dropped three of them. You would say that was an accident, even though it is irresponsible to try to carry that many glasses of water. So if you said “whoops, I accidentally dropped some glasses” and I came at you and said “THAT WAS NO ACCIDENT!” you’d think I was nuts.

      So forgive me for wanting the media to be precise when they describe things, instead of being emotional or political. Muddling the language and being imprecise does not advance the discussion or bring about changes. It just muddles things. But hey, that’s just me.

    • Kevin 11:49 on 2017/10/06 Permalink

      I don’t use the word accident because it implies that whatever happened was the fault of mystical fairy god creatures instead of being the direct and foreseeable result of someone’s incompetence.

      When it comes to driving, too many people forget they’re piloting a huge, heavy vehicle because they’re wrapped in cotton batting. It’s past time for it to stop.

    • Yves 12:49 on 2017/10/06 Permalink

      Definition of ACCIDENT: an unfortunate incident that happens unexpectedly and unintentionally, typically resulting in damage or injury.

      The driver unexpectedly made an illegal U-Turn in front of the cyclist, he did not have the intention of hitting or being hit by the cyclist, so it is an accident… an extremely deplorable accident that could and should have been prevented, but it is an accident. What do you want to call this ? A murder ?

    • Blork 12:56 on 2017/10/06 Permalink

      Kevin, I suggest you spend some time with a dictionary. “Accident” has nothing to do with mystical fairy god creatures and everything to do with whether or not the act was intentional.

    • Kate 15:33 on 2017/10/06 Permalink

      Lots of things are accidents. A driver has a heart attack and loses control of a vehicle. Some debris flies off a dump truck and goes through a windshield, knocking out the driver, whose vehicle goes out of control. A driver loses traction on black ice and plows into another vehicle.

      But someone deliberately making an illegal maneuver on a road everyone knows is narrow, twisty and tricky, and killing someone, that’s not an accident. It’s a selfish and dangerous choice. Like many Montrealers I’ve done that descent on a bike. It’s exhilarating but you’re relying on motorists not to do anything unexpected, like suddenly reversing into your path.

    • dwgs 16:41 on 2017/10/06 Permalink

      And the story on the radio this morning mentioned that it wasn’t known if he was wearing a helmet. Because that makes a difference. Because if he wasn’t then I guess he must have deserved what happened. Arseholes.

    • Kevin 17:01 on 2017/10/06 Permalink

      @Yves and Blork

      Again, the driver intended to make a U-turn. The collision was the direct result of this choice. It was completely foreseeable.

      There’s nothing accidental about driving and controlling a car. The driver is in charge and is presumed to be responsible for all of their actions.

      If any driver contemplating such an action such as a U-turn cannot imagine that this could in injury, death, or damage, then that driver is incompetent and should not have a licence.

      In this particular case it’s not murder, because the legal definition of that requires an intent to harm, but I’d be fine calling it criminal negligence.

      From the Criminal Code:
      219 (1) Every one is criminally negligent who
      (a) in doing anything, or
      (b) in omitting to do anything that it is his duty to do,
      shows wanton or reckless disregard for the lives or safety of other persons.

      The driver killed someone. Calling it an accident absolves them of responsibility. That just ain’t right.

    • Ephraim 17:29 on 2017/10/06 Permalink

      The U-Turn was intentional, doesn’t make hitting the cyclist intentional. That part was still accidental.

      As I said before, we live in a province that can’t manage to find anyone responsible for anything.

    • Chris 18:08 on 2017/10/06 Permalink

      @Yves: I would call it a “collision”. “Accidents” are a subset of collisions. To know if a collision is an accident requires some investigation. In the extreme case, a collision could be deliberate (like recent terrorist attacks).

      @Blork: I see your point of view, though I mostly disagree. Anyway, it seems to me articles are always saying that “cars” did things to “cyclists”, not to “bikes”. In articles that rant against cyclists, they rant against “cyclists”, not against “bikes”. Always seems lopsided.

    • ant6n 01:06 on 2017/10/07 Permalink

      “There are two broad categories of manslaughter: unlawful act and criminal negligence.

      Unlawful act is when a person commits a crime that unintentionally results in the death of another person.

      Criminal negligence is when the homicide was the result of an act that showed wanton or reckless disregard for the lives of others.”


    • Blork 14:42 on 2017/10/07 Permalink

      I think our only disagreement here is on the definition and use of the word “accident.” In my case, I don’t think that word is mutually exclusive with the concept of criminal negligence (as described by ant6n, above).

      The way I see it, the word “accident” is neutral in terms of whether or not the person who caused it was acting carefully or acting recklessly; it only describes whether or not the thing was intentional.

      That said, Chris does make a good point, that “collision” is a better word, because it covers both possibilities (intentional or not) and it is also more descriptive — at least in the case of an actual collision. (Question: is there a kind of “accident” that does not involve a “collision,” at least in the context of moving vehicles?)

    • Blork 14:45 on 2017/10/07 Permalink

      …answering my own question, I can think of an example of an “accident” that was not a “collision.” I know someone who lost control of their car on a country road, and the car rolled over several times onto a field (no serious injuries, but the car was wrecked). That was “an accident” but there was no “collision” per-se. (You could say the car collided with the field, but that’s a bit silly.)

    • mare 16:39 on 2017/10/07 Permalink

      @Blork: according to the SAAQ, if there is no car involved it’s no accident. Two bikes that collide with each other? No accident. Bike vs pedestrian? No accident, even if all parties have a driver’s license.
      No idea if this is also the rule with accident statistics in Quebec.

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