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  • Kate 10:40 on 2015/08/26 Permalink | Reply  

    I’m seeing the idea of non-police traffic controllers taking hold as news percolated through that police get $62/hour for doing the work. Some argue that you need police because they have the authority to ticket and to arrest under extreme circumstances, others liken the position to the para-police role played by the Green Onions. TVA link plays video.

     
    • Ian 10:56 on 2015/08/26 Permalink

      Wow… that is a pretty impressive salary! I remember when Park was under reconstruction there were traffic cops at every corner, and saw lots of motorists creating gridlock, bicyclists blowing through the light, pedestrians jaywalking, bicyclists on the sidewalk… not a single ticket given. I actually asked one of the cops about it one time and his response was, I kid you not, “I’m just here to change the lights”.

    • JaneyB 11:13 on 2015/08/26 Permalink

      I believe that on Parc. A few of them looked so leisurely that I wondered if they were on the payroll of Catania. Recently though, a few downtown traffic cops I saw gave off a clear impression they mean business. I think downtown would be a real mess without them right now.

    • Dhomas 11:37 on 2015/08/26 Permalink

      I see them every day on my way to and from work on my bike. I take the Notre-Dame East bikeway (“Route Verte 5″, though it’s decidedly less “verte” east of Viau) all the way too Old Montreal. I get to see them in action quite regularly. All they really do is watch traffic and, when there is no more oncoming traffic, they press a button attached to the traffic light box to manually change the light from green to red. They might also prevent some gridlock that would otherwise be caused, just by being seen. Otherwise, this “job” could easily be automated with a sensor that sees if there is oncoming traffic and changes the light automatically if not. Forget getting cheaper human resources; this is a failure in technology.

    • Blork 12:12 on 2015/08/26 Permalink

      But Dhomas, even at those rates the human solution is less expensive. Your proposed technological solution would end up being like this:

      (1) Pay for six people to embark on a three week European junket in which they study implementations of traffic-sensing traffic lights. $300,000

      (2) Outsource the design to Sid Lee and Moment Factory, who take 18 months to design and test a 23rd-century system that will solve all of the world’s traffic problems, with nice fonts! $12,000,000

      (3) Engage fourteen city employees to spend half their time for two years to implement the design in a weird vortex that incorporates both Sid Lee/Moment Factory whimsies and “necessary” austerity shortcuts. $600,000.

      (4) Contract a Chinese manufacturer to build 100 functioning units. $7,000,000.

      (5) Cost of various disruptions and appropriations while the 100 “traffic sensing” lights are installed: $2,000,000.

      (6) Cost of paying cops to run the lights manually after three accidents lead to them being decommissioned: $62/hour.

    • Dhomas 12:23 on 2015/08/26 Permalink

      @Blork: I have to admit, I literally loled at your comment. At first glance, it seems absurd, but, sadly, it’s not too far from reality.

    • rue david 12:42 on 2015/08/26 Permalink

      62$/hour is a lot of money for quebec. that’s what near-the-top engineers make in the city.

    • CE 15:15 on 2015/08/26 Permalink

      Shouldn’t this be a job for the cadets?

    • Ephraim 15:24 on 2015/08/26 Permalink

      You can easily train civilians to do the same thing. And frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that they do it better, too.

    • Matt G 03:43 on 2015/08/27 Permalink

      I’ll just leave this here.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VY4b01lFEso

    • Kate 10:27 on 2015/08/27 Permalink

      Blork, pertinent prediction. Excellent.

    • dwgs 10:34 on 2015/08/27 Permalink

      I ride the de Maisonneuve bike path every day. Yesterday afternoon I dismounted to walk my bike through the narrow, uneven and winding pedestrian path through the construction at Guy. The guy in front of me stayed on his bike and was waved through into the pedestrian area by the attendant cop as though this was the most normal thing in the world. I said “You’re not even going to ask him to get off his bike?” I got a dirty look and was told to move on.

  • Kate 10:32 on 2015/08/26 Permalink | Reply  

    An autumn of discontent is already showing its colours: teachers demonstrated Tuesday morning at the premier’s office in Montreal, and CEGEP teachers plan pressure tactics as they push for a new contract.

    The education minister issued a bland statement which nonetheless carries a veiled threat. But he’s kind of stuck: teachers aren’t covered by the Essential Services law.

    We’re going to see action from nurses also – they began by launching a phone line and encouraging people to register their complaints about the Quebec health system.

     
  • Kate 10:16 on 2015/08/26 Permalink | Reply  

    The reason for the big red terrasse is looming: a year-long roadwork site on St-Denis. Work begins September 8 between Duluth and Marie-Anne, and won’t wrap up till November 2016. There’ll be a relâche for Christmas shopping, but the street’s merchants are understandably unsettled by the prospect.

     
  • Kate 10:12 on 2015/08/26 Permalink | Reply  

    Ooo, naughty “ecologists”. They want stickered parking everywhere and drivers paying for their parking all over town. Don’t they realize it’s a human right to leave two tons of metal wherever you like?

     
    • Doug 14:42 on 2015/08/26 Permalink

      How dare they? It would be really interesting to see a study on how much we dole out to maintain all that real estate for vehicle owers to store their heaps of metal.

    • Bert 09:53 on 2015/08/27 Permalink

      Maybe all car drivers / owners should just get rid of everything. It would be interesting to see what the government things about loosing taxes on things like: new car sales, used car sales (double dinging, gotta love that one), gas sales, license, registration, insurance.

      Whatever we pay, we have already paid it and we continue to pay it.

  • Kate 10:07 on 2015/08/26 Permalink | Reply  

    I’ve added to to my list of cyclic news stories the one about public pools closing while the weather’s still nice. They always do, and it’s always a news story.

     
    • Joey 10:25 on 2015/08/26 Permalink

      Indeed it does come up every year, though there’s no reason why the pools can’t operate on a flex or extended schedule until mid- or late September. The rationale from politicians/bureaucrats (cf. Marie Plourde on twitter the other day) is that most lifeguards are now back in school, so they are unavailable to work. The fact that CEGEP students are in class for a minority of a pool’s opening hours and that most students have part-time jobs doesn’t seem to make an iota of difference. The forecast is for sunshine and high 20s from Friday on (30 next Tuesday, though take that with a shaker of salt). Surely there are a couple of dozen back-to-schoolers who would be happy to make some extra cash so that citizens could enjoy a few last pool days in August. The JdeM is right that most pools are closing this coming weekend; some (wading pools, especially) were shuttered this past Sunday.

    • JaneyB 10:45 on 2015/08/26 Permalink

      I so agree. Was at the Natatorium in Verdun last weekend, along with seemingly everyone else. What a perfect day. They should leave those pools open. Those bureaucrats are so unaware of the world around them. The students all have part-time jobs and could use the bucks. I will send an email to Coderre. Numbers count, people…

    • Chris 18:33 on 2015/08/26 Permalink

      It’s useful for the media to bring it up every year, that’ll hopefully help bring change.

  • Kate 22:23 on 2015/08/25 Permalink | Reply  

    Police caught up with Raynald Létourneau and charged him with first-degree murder in the death of his ex-girlfriend in May. TVA notes that Létourneau has already done time for sexual assault. Link plays video.

     
  • Kate 17:49 on 2015/08/25 Permalink | Reply  

    Some months ago Denis Coderre promised to fix up the gazebo – the Mordecai Richler memorial gazebo – but it’s apparently still a mess.

    Update: CTV sais work on the gazebo is supposed to be finished next month and cost half a million, while TVA simply says the work is late and throws in the subhead Écrivain controversé.

     
  • Kate 11:40 on 2015/08/25 Permalink | Reply  

    This is a link to a tweet, but there’s bound to be stories later: the STM is testing two Azur trains on the orange line starting Tuesday.

    Spotted on social media: “Can I take a ride if I disguise myself as a sandbag?” The trains are being run with hundreds of pounds of sandbags on board to simulate passenger load.

     
    • Kevin 12:47 on 2015/08/25 Permalink

    • Kate 12:55 on 2015/08/25 Permalink

      Spiffing.

      The STM Facebook page says the Azur will circulate outside rush hours, that is, from 9:30 to 14:30 and 19:30 to closing, on the orange line Monday, Thursday and Friday, and on the blue line Tuesday and Wednesday.

    • EmilyG 14:03 on 2015/08/25 Permalink

      It looks to me like they have fewer seats than the old cars. If this is so, I can’t say I like that fact.

    • Dhomas 17:22 on 2015/08/25 Permalink

      Fewer seats is fine by me, if they can accept more passengers. Seats should be for the old, the infirm, and the pregnant. Able-bodied people can stand. The bigger problem we have in Montreal is the fact that people crowd the doors because they’re getting out in “only 4 stops”. It’s very frustrating to see a metro with plenty of free space, but you simply can’t get in the door.

    • ant6n 17:40 on 2015/08/25 Permalink

      I think they have less door length per unit length of train, and more distance between doors, so that probably won’t help with the blocking

    • Kate 17:42 on 2015/08/25 Permalink

      Dhomas: people do that with buses too. On routes with massive bendy buses you’ll see 2-3 people clustered up front, blocking the door, while there are lots of empty seats available.

      But the population is aging, so I’m not sure offering fewer seats in the metro is a great plan.

    • EmilyG 19:50 on 2015/08/25 Permalink

      I’m able-bodied, but I often carry bulky bags and heavy items with me, and it’s easier for me to sit down and put my bag(s) on my lap, rather than stand up and annoy people with my bags, or put the bags on the (not always clean) floor.

    • EmilyG 19:51 on 2015/08/25 Permalink

      And people who think that it’s easy to hold onto a metro pole while carrying a heavy thing in your other hand, haven’t tried it.

    • HC 20:31 on 2015/08/25 Permalink

      The new Azur metro’s should go a long way towards making embarking and disembarking more fluid. The doors are much wider and the standing space and configuration in front of the doors makes it much easier to make your way out and move around people. People cluster around the doors on the metro or buses is also because it’s the preferred area of the bus to stand in, you don’t have someone’s face within centimeters of your crotch.

    • Kate 22:07 on 2015/08/25 Permalink

      HC, my impression was that many of the people clustering up front are folks who don’t usually take that bus or know the stops well, so are nervously hanging on in front to keep lookout. I was on a bus the other day where the driver was calling out the stops, which would help avoid that, but it’s certainly not been part of standard operating procedure for decades. Most drivers will tell you a specific stop if you ask them, though.

    • Chris 22:12 on 2015/08/25 Permalink

      Dhomas, some of us able-bodied people stand all day at work, and would like to sit on the ride home.

    • Ian 08:27 on 2015/08/26 Permalink

      @Dhomas your vision of a cattle car bus ride won’t do much to attract ridership. ‘Sayin. The metro is enough of a sardine can experience, thanks – I take the bus specifically to avoid that. Not a huge fan of some random stranger’s smelly pits in my nose.

    • carswell 14:21 on 2015/08/26 Permalink

      For me, one of public transit’s big selling points is that you can read when travelling. It’s not just the entertainment/enlightenment value but also because the time flies by. The reading experience is much better when seated, I find.

      It remains to be seen whether this will still be the case once everybody is able to yak on their phones in the tunnels.

    • Ian 16:12 on 2015/08/26 Permalink

      They can yak on their phones on the bus, but most people don’t. I’m able to get my reading done.

    • Blork 16:23 on 2015/08/26 Permalink

      It’s also way too loud on the Metro for comfortable phone yakking. (I can’t even listen to podcasts unless I’m wearing noise-cancelling headphones.)

      Besides, these days hardly anybody talks; everybody texts. :-)

  • Kate 11:33 on 2015/08/25 Permalink | Reply  

    La Presse identifies the man who died in a bicycle crash on the bridge as Christian Ragueneau, who worked in the Casino restaurant and was on his way home after his shift. Further adumbrations are made here about dangerous cyclist speeds on the bridge.

    Some enterprising Montrealers have designed a cycle GPS called SmartHalo and have launched a Kickstarter for the device.

    Despite resistance from some merchants, Laurier West will get a bike path in 2017.

     
    • Blork 11:40 on 2015/08/25 Permalink

      Oh great. So drivers will be looking at their parking apps instead of the road and cyclists will be looking at their navigation apps instead of the road.

      I give up. Ya’ll just get on out there and kill each other.

    • jeather 11:44 on 2015/08/25 Permalink

      Actually, the cycling thing looks really smart — you link it up to an app and all it does is tell you when to turn left or right or when you have arrived.

    • Blork 11:58 on 2015/08/25 Permalink

      How does it tell you to turn? Visually? Via audio? There are problems with both.

    • carswell 12:41 on 2015/08/25 Permalink

      They have a website: http://www.smarthalo.bike/

      Looks interesting and, pace Blork, relatively safe, the kind of thing — along with the STM’s mythical bus-tracking app — that might convince me to get a smartphone.

      Some questions/issues I’m left with:

      • What map app does it use to plot routes? The likely candidate, Google Maps, is basically sound but tends to plot routes based on bike paths and without much consideration of issues like directness, aesthetics (no scenic route option) or safety (sometimes it’s better to take side streets than a bike path).
      • The video shows the front light as being always on, yet studies have repeatedly shown that drivers see cyclists with flashing lights better. Flashing lights also save on battery life.
      • As someone who’s bothered regularly — often several times a day and night — by car alarms needlessly going off, I dread the idea of bikes adding to the cacophony.
    • carswell 12:42 on 2015/08/25 Permalink

      Grrrr. That list was supposed to be bulleted…

    • Blork 12:51 on 2015/08/25 Permalink

      Somewhat related: I tried out that parking app that we discussed a few days ago (“prkng”). It’s kind of magical and worked really well. And I can confirm that it’s probably more hazardous than pounding seven beers before hitting the road.

      In my case I had a navigator handle the duties, but even then it we were like “What? Is that a spot? Where? How do you zoom? What? Where’d it go? Huh?” Imagine doing that while driving solo.

      On the plus side, it found us a free spot on Sherbrooke near St-Laurent. I can understand how it knows when a metered spot is free, but how the Hell does it know when an UNMETERED spot is available? But it worked for that unmetered spot on Sherbrooke, south side, between St-Laurent and St-Dom.

      Later it found us a spot on Clark, between Bernard and St-V. The spot it wanted me to take was in the vignette zone, but there was a free spot (un-indicated) on the other side of the street.

      Ultimately, it seems like a piece of magic with consequences that are tragic. It serves a purpose, but I shudder at the idea of all those drivers using the app WHILE DRIVING.

    • Blork 12:55 on 2015/08/25 Permalink

      Carswell, I checked out the Smarthalo’s site and Kickstarter pitch, and I have to admit it is pretty slick. It looks like it will be much less of a distraction to riders than I had feared.

      The grumpy old man in me, however, still sort of rails against these “smart” devices and apps that transfer the “smart” out of the user and into the device. I’m a fan of smart people, and I worry all this transference of smartness is turning us into a world of idiots.

    • Kate 13:03 on 2015/08/25 Permalink

      Blork, it takes away all that tedious orienteering stuff and lets us think about what we’ll put in our novel.

      carswell, I bulleted for you, is it OK?

    • jeather 14:56 on 2015/08/25 Permalink

      I really can’t see the bike device thing being more distracting than reading signs as you navigate. It looks slick and effective. How do you get directions for places you don’t know well? I don’t think it’s perfect, but a lot of the concerns (can you edit the route yourself? can you set the slight to flash?) would be solvable.

    • carswell 14:59 on 2015/08/25 Permalink

      Thanks, Kate. It’s better than OK.

      @Blork – I agree it’s gimmicky and am having second doubts about its utility for someone like me who knows the city well, doesn’t stray too far from tried-and-true routes and couldn’t care less about how many calories I’ve burned. Still, a few times every summer I do find myself in a new neighbourhood and I like the idea of having an aid to direct me on unfamiliar and sometimes circuitous routes, especially in this city where bike routes are often unintuitive and poorly marked, where street signs are often hard or impossible to read and where one really ought to keep one’s attention focused on traffic and the road (as opposed to, say, craning one’s head in search of a street sign).

      Who it would definitely be useful for is tourists, who are generally clueless about our bike infrastructure. Being able to hop on a Bixi, enter your destination and follow easy directions to get there would be amazing. Unfortunately, the price and battery replacement/recharging requirement (every two or three weeks, according to SmartHalo’s literature) probably rule out that application. Bike rental places on the other hand…

    • ant6n 17:45 on 2015/08/25 Permalink

      Well bixi has hub dynamos, so theoretically that could recharge the thing.
      Btw hub dynamos, I have one, and it provides power for an actual light in front. This runs circles around those silly LED clips everybody uses, flashing or not.

    • Chris 08:58 on 2015/08/26 Permalink

      Once again an article that repeats “they weren’t wearing helmets” but says nothing about whether they were equipped with lights. At 04:00, that’s much more relevant. Also, the law requires lights, not helmets.

    • Kevin 08:59 on 2015/08/26 Permalink

      @Blork
      The amount of surveillance in our society is stunning, so I’m not surprised some app-maker has managed to tie into a camera showing empty parking spaces.

    • Blork 10:09 on 2015/08/26 Permalink

      “A camera?” How many cameras would you need to scan every street in Montreal for parking spaces, plus the software infrastructure to interpret the data an push it to apps in real time? I don’t think the NSA is behind this app!

    • Kevin 13:58 on 2015/08/26 Permalink

      @Blork
      Doc Zone had a piece last week wherein a PI in Winnipeg (IIRC) could take any given licence plate and show you where it was parked, and trace out its route through the city in the past week, complete with photos.

      You don’t need the NSA. You just need a lack of regulation, the ability to tap into cameras that are feeding information online, and the knowledge that information isn’t free, it’s for sale.

      http://www.cbc.ca/doczone/episodes/the-age-of-the-drone

    • Kevin 14:03 on 2015/08/26 Permalink

      @Blork
      One more thing.
      You know those traffic maps you see on TV and the web, with green if traffic is light, and red if it’s a standstill?
      Google generates that automatically based on the phones everyone carries, and the GPS/OnStar/Connected in vehicles.

      So if a programmer knows where cars are, it is theoretically feasible to determine where where cars are not.

    • Blork 16:21 on 2015/08/26 Permalink

      Kevin, what you say makes sense in a fictional world, but in the real world it doesn’t apply here.

      Regarding the DocZone thing, just because a PI can do a proof-of-concept that likely involves a LOT of interpolation doesn’t mean a small app startup can reliably and in real-time monitor every unpaid parking space in the city through these various cams. Especially if their app is free. It’s like saying “the Large Hadron Collider has shown that faster-than-light travel is theoretically possible, therefore my teenage kid can make a Warp drive for his high school science project.

      Regarding the Google traffic maps, there’s not a lot of magic there, but there is a lot of extrapolation. If you know that six out of ten cars is carrying a cell phone with location services enabled and you can see 60 phones/cars lined up at a corner, you can extrapolate that to say there are probably 100 cars at that corner. That doesn’t mean you are seeing into every single car and it makes no assumptions about the four out of ten cars that are NOT carrying location-enabled phones.

      This is particularly true for parking because (a) when you’re pinpointing available spots you need to be exact, not generalized based on extrapolations and interpolations, and (b) when people park their cars they usually LEAVE the car and take their phones with them.

      The computational power it would take to monitor every car and phone in Montreal and to constantly — in real time — map when they are together, when they are apart, the location at which they separated, and to filter out all the variables (e.g., phone is separated from car, but another person drove the car away instead of parking it) is way beyond anything a couple of free app creators could do. It’s even beyond what Google could do with any degree of accuracy.

    • Kevin 11:39 on 2015/08/27 Permalink

      10 years ago I’d have agreed with you.
      Today? These are tried and tested tools being used.

  • Kate 10:38 on 2015/08/25 Permalink | Reply  

    Taxi drivers are holding a day of protest to encourage government to take a stance against Uber.

    Walrus has a good piece on taxis vs. Uber that traces the history of taxi regulation and how the arrival of Uber both echoes and breaks the old patterns.

    Update: Protests were held and hints dropped that cabbies could make things more uncomfortable if they wanted to.

     
    • Dhomas 10:56 on 2015/08/25 Permalink

      Had they spent all the energy they did on fighting Uber to instead make a better taxi service, maybe they wouldn’t be in this situation (and maybe there would be no need for Uber).

    • Matt 12:00 on 2015/08/25 Permalink

      These protests are a weird tactic. They only benefit Uber, don’t they? A passenger who doesn’t usually use Uber can’t seem to get a taxi because there are fewer on the road, so he/she tries Uber for the first time (for free, using the promo code Uber puts out to the media.) And now Uber has a new customer.

    • No\Deli 12:20 on 2015/08/25 Permalink

      I wonder if it isn’t the taxi companies truly behind such protests, not the drivers?

      Drivers must be aware that they can switch sides and drive for Uber instead, as they’ve been doing in New York for the last couple years. (In fact, the streets of my old neighborhood there have become a ‘taxi graveyard’ with the build-up of unused cabs parked idle all day – so many drivers have dumped the taxi co. and drive Uber now. Article.)

    • Josh 18:36 on 2015/08/25 Permalink

      I think the idea behind these kinds of protests is the same as when teachers strike, or take some other job action like work to rule. The hope is that they can annoy the public into submission, making people contact their elected representatives to say, “dear god, please just make these taxi protests stop!”

      The further hope is that the elected representatives will legislate Uber out of existence or at least impose regulations on them that will make them less convenient, more expensive, etc.

    • Raymond 22:10 on 2015/08/25 Permalink

      “The debate over technology and disruption is a red herring, writes Glenn Fleishman. The trouble with Uber is that it’s a middleman that can control both ends of the market.”

      “Uber and the appropriation of public space” http://boingboing.net/2014/06/30/ubervalued-the-appropriation.html

      Je n’en reviens pas à quel point les gens sont à courte vue and miss the big picture.

    • Uatu 08:04 on 2015/08/26 Permalink

      Thnx for the link Raymond. Very interesting take on “disruptive” businesses… As for the drivers protest, wait until driverless cars show up… Cab drivers should prepare for the next 5-10 yrs. … It’s not going to be pretty….

  • Kate 10:26 on 2015/08/25 Permalink | Reply  

    Wednesday is cat adoption day at the SPCA, with a special rate of $50 for adopting cats 5 months and older.

    The group I foster for, Pussy Patrol, also has a lot of kittens this summer, photos on their Facebook page. They can always use additional foster homes and, of course, donations, and people interested in adopting either kittens or adult cats.

     
  • Kate 10:21 on 2015/08/25 Permalink | Reply  

    A second census of the homeless is taking place, but this one is to be done in a more leisurely fashion, over three weeks, and by experts. TVA link plays video.

     
  • Kate 10:09 on 2015/08/25 Permalink | Reply  

    Are weather patterns changing so that August is now the hottest month rather than July? Or is it that summer is getting longer in general? We may not know till we look at some numbers in retrospect.

     
  • Kate 10:04 on 2015/08/25 Permalink | Reply  

    L’actualité previews World Press Photo 2015. The photo show opens Wednesday at Marché Bonsecours.

    More on WPP from La Presse, the Gazette, Radio-Canada.

     
  • Kate 09:54 on 2015/08/25 Permalink | Reply  

    This is turning out to be a bad week for cyclists. After a crash downtown Monday night a cyclist is in a coma. CBC tells us the cyclist was not wearing a helmet and had burned a red. CTV even puts the latter allegation in their headline.

     
    • Blork 10:08 on 2015/08/25 Permalink

      It’s not uncommon for cyclists and pedestrians to see a red light and assume the light is red in both directions. I see this all the time at some intersections, such as Pine and St-Laurent. You see pedestrians waiting to cross St-Laurent while Pine has a green light. Then the light for west-bound Pine turns red (while east-bound Pine switches to flashing green so those people can turn left without worrying about on-coming traffic). In the meantime, the pedestrians see the light turn red and start to cross, assuming it’s red in both directions.

      I’m guessing that’s what happened here. The cyclist saw that east-bound Sherbrooke had a red light, saw no on-coming traffic on Stanley, and assumed west-bound Sherbrooke also had red so it seemed safe to burn the light.

      It brings up some interesting questions. The red-in-one-direction, flashing-green-in-the-other system makes sense logically, but it is car-centric and it assumes all participants naturally stop at a red light. (In “real life” we know that pedestrians and cyclists will often cross on a red if there is no apparent car hazard; like it or not, that’s how the world actually works.)

      In that configuration, is there some way to indicate to the people with a red that the on-coming traffic still has a green?

    • jeather 14:57 on 2015/08/25 Permalink

      Blork, I believe that in cases where you have a left turn priority light, there’s always a pedestrian light which actually shows “do not walk”. (Which, granted, people ignore anyhow.)

    • jeather 14:57 on 2015/08/25 Permalink

      And you can tell that it isn’t a green in the other direction very easily as a pedestrian.

    • Blork 15:10 on 2015/08/25 Permalink

      Jeather, a “Don’t Walk” sign doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s green in the other direction, and both cyclists and pedestrians are accustomed to ignoring “Don’t Walk” signs because they often don’t seem to correspond to any sort of reality. As in, it takes an extra bit of mental computation to make it line up, so if someone is chugging along on a bike and there’s a red light and no cross traffic in sight, they’re not going to even think to check what the crosswalk indication is.

      And yes, in theory it’s easy to tell from the pedestrian’s POV, but I’m talking about what really happens not what theoretically happens. If you ever have a need to quicken your pulse just watch that corner of Pine/St-Laurent for a while (on the east side). Not only do you get people stepping onto the street as soon as they see west-bound traffic get a red light, but you often see east-bound cars zipping around the ones that are turning up St-Laurent, and that zipping around takes them even closer to the sidewalk that the unaware pedestrians are stepping off of.

      Standard situation at almost every changing of the lights is at least one pedestrian steps onto the street and then steps (or jumps) back when they realize cars are still coming at them from the left.

      I see the same phenomenon downtown too, but I forget which corners are worse.

    • jeather 15:43 on 2015/08/25 Permalink

      Yeah, I’m not totally sure what the best solution is for pedestrians. (It’s much harder to tell for cyclists.) I’ve seen it at Chabanel/St-Laurent and Atwater/St-Antoine too. This is one of the few cases where cars have the right of way over pedestrians.

    • ant6n 09:02 on 2015/08/26 Permalink

      A countdown to when the pedestrian light turns green. But it has to be different then the countdown to red; maybe use a bunch of disappearing dots rather than numbers.

    • Joey 10:19 on 2015/08/26 Permalink

      @Blork, presumably this could be fixed by having the priority light (allowing eastbound traffic to turn up St.-Laurent) occur at the start of the green sequence and not the end.

    • Doug 13:59 on 2015/08/26 Permalink

      Blork, you are bang-on in your ananysis of what happened at the corner of Stanley and Sherbrooke and Joey you hit the nail on the head with your solution.

      A friend of mine was killed at that very intersection a few years ago (as a pedestria) and I think he too was duped by the advanced flashing green and thought it was safe to go.

      Can anyone explain why the advanced flashing green lights in Montreal are at the END of the cycle when the rest of the world puts them at the beginning?

    • Amanda 16:25 on 2015/08/26 Permalink

      “Burned” a red? Since you usually point out strange turns of phrase in the media (usually as a result of bilingualism) your use of this direct translation of French in this case stands out to me. In English I’ve only ever heard the phrase as “running” a red light.

    • Kate 16:31 on 2015/08/26 Permalink

      Haha. Wait till I start talking about grilling a cigarette.

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