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  • Kate 12:53 on 2017/06/21 Permalink | Reply  

    A supervised injection site is to open soon in Centre-Sud and some people don’t like it even though it’s likely to reduce the number of syringes left around in alleys, not make that situation worse.

    Update: The CSDM may take out an injunction against the opening of this one.

    • Bill Binns 13:18 on 2017/06/21 Permalink

      I may have to change my position on these sites if they give the CAQ an issue to work in the neighborhood headed into 2018.

    • thomas 14:42 on 2017/06/21 Permalink

      I seriously doubt that addicts will modify their fix schedule to accommodate the opening hours of L’organisme Spectre.

    • Ephraim 15:22 on 2017/06/21 Permalink

      Everything is going to be subject to NIMBY. But this injection site will not just save lives. It would be even better if we could start to supply clean heroine and get people stabilized. It kills the illicit drug trade and people get back control of their lives.

    • rue david 02:59 on 2017/06/22 Permalink

      I agree. I spent a lot of years boozing pretty heavily before I kind of grew out of it. Imagine if, because of our laws, that booze had been acquired on the black market, cut with whatever and, in some cases, laced with stuff like fentanyl that makes it more potent and addicting. These seem like a good first step: get people into centers to reduce the harm they’re causing to the community, the health system, and themselves. Then gradually de-escalate them back to pill addiction. Then get them off it altogether.

  • Kate 11:38 on 2017/06/21 Permalink | Reply  

    The CNESST report on the causes of the fiery crash on the 40 last summer was released Wednesday and blames the incident chiefly on a truck in front of the tanker that eventually burst into flames, killing driver Gilbert Prince. That specific truck had had its emergency brakes activate unexpectedly before, and this is what happened here. Prince is also lightly blamed for driving too close behind the faulty vehicle, but vehicles are often bumper-to-bumper on that road at rush hour. It was nothing unusual.

    • Blork 12:00 on 2017/06/21 Permalink

      I’m not pointing fingers here, but your comment about bumper-to-bumper traffic needs some clarification. When cars are bumper-to-bumper on a crowded highway it’s because they’re going really slow. Like walking speed or slower. If vehicles are bumper-to-bumper at speeds higher than that then it’s very dangerous and in fact is a ticketable offence (tailgaiting). In fact, this article quotes the SQ as saying that a third of all vehicle-to-vehicle collisions are caused by driving too close to the vehicle in front of you. (

      I bring this up because the “two second rule” is an absolute minimum when driving at any speed. That means there is a minimum of two seconds between your vehicle and the one in front of you (i.e., when the vehicle in front of you passes an object — a post, or a spot on the road, etc. — at least two seconds should elapse before your vehicle passes it). For large vehicles like trucks it should be way more than that. You should always have enough room to stop without colliding if the vehicle in front of you slams on their brakes.

      Tailgaiting is a serious problem, and I see it all the time. The reality of rush-hour traffic makes it hard to stick to the two-second rule sometimes, but I still think it’s necessary, especially for large vehicles.

      I don’t want this to come off as “blaming the victim,” but I can’t let a dismissal of unsafe driving be passed off as “nothing unusual.”

    • Kate 12:34 on 2017/06/21 Permalink

      OK, chalk it up to my not being a driver. But I don’t live far from where that accident took place, and any observer can see how closely large vehicles are moving at speed.

      Surely no driver wants to leave that much space, because another driver might barge into it and make the whole situation even dicier and more unstable?

    • Bill Binns 13:03 on 2017/06/21 Permalink

      @Kate – For being a non-driver you hit on the issue exactly. I learned “One car length for every 10 miles an hour of speed” in driving school. I would love to do it but in practice it’s extremely difficult. If you leave a gap in front of you in heavy traffic, you will have a constant flow of cars and trucks swooping into that spot and more often than not, immediately punching the brakes when they get in. This turns mild-mannered Bill into rage fueled Hulk-driver Bill with middle fingers emerging from every window. So, you have to try to maintain slightly less than a car length to protect that spot from swoopers. Trying to maintain that too-close distance is a sweaty, exhausting white knuckle affair. I honestly don’t know how people commute across those bridges twice a day. I wouldn’t do it for double my salary.

    • DeWolf 14:05 on 2017/06/21 Permalink

      Yeah, Bill is right about this – if you leave the proper amount of space on any highway around Montreal, you’ll have somebody cutting in, which defeats the whole purpose. It’s a culture of bad highway driving. The same thing happens in many other cities too.

      (As an aside, while driver behaviour on expressways and suburban roads seems as bad as ever, in-town driving seems to have definitely improved in Montreal. I say that as a pedestrian, cyclist and occasional driver – people are generally going more slowly than they were more. I guess all the urban design improvements, cycling infrastructure and lower speed limits have helped.)

    • Kate 14:16 on 2017/06/21 Permalink

      DeWolf, it’s interesting to have your thoughts on what’s changed since you’ve been away. Some things are hard to perceive when you’re soaking in them day to day. Any other observations?

    • Blork 14:23 on 2017/06/21 Permalink

      I respectfully somewhat disagree. I’ll not say I never leave less than the recommended space, but I’m a bit of an anti-tailgating nazi, so I really do try to leave that space. And people do sometimes cut in, but not that often in my experience (unless you’re leaving a huge space).

      It also depends on the circumstances. When merging onto a bridge or autoroute and cars are crawling, then yes, but in that case the “two second rule” is usually less than a car length. But when chugging along, even if it’s somewhat slowly (30/40kph or so) it doesn’t happen so much in my experience. As in, every couple of minutes someone might cut in, but it’s not like a continuous stream.

    • carswell 15:39 on 2017/06/21 Permalink

      I don’t drive that often but when I do and find myself on a multi-lane divided highway (the Décarie for example) during rush hour, I still try to leave a couple of car’s lengths between me and the preceding vehicle. Inevitably someone — almost inevitably a swerving luxury car/SUV driver — zooms into the space. If I then slow down to create another safe zone, it happens again. It’s like a twisted version of Zeno’s Achilles and the Hare paradox. After a few times, I inevitably adopt the more dangerous if standard Montreal behaviour. Sad.

  • Kate 11:30 on 2017/06/21 Permalink | Reply  

    The mayor’s son, Alexandre Coderre, facing five criminal charges involving fraud and obstructing justice, has had his trial postponed because he’s entered some unstated form of therapy.

  • Kate 10:21 on 2017/06/21 Permalink | Reply  

    People who worked for a towing company that operated mostly around the city’s north end were arrested Tuesday and charged with a range of offenses connected with strong-arming drivers out of money to get their cars back.

  • Kate 10:19 on 2017/06/21 Permalink | Reply  

    In 2013 the power vacuum after the year of three mayors inspired some new people to try for the mayoralty, and while this ultimately didn’t produce anything radically new for the city, voters were at least offered some choice. I don’t think we’ll have that this year. Justine McIntyre, who leads what remains of Mélanie Joly’s party, will be making an attempt at the mayoralty of Pierrefonds-Roxboro, not for city hall.

    • NDG07 10:45 on 2017/06/21 Permalink

      Another way to look at this might be that we have a real choice this time without a spoiler thrown in to split the opposition and get the mayor re-elected. Did nobody notice that Mélanie Joly is now a cabinet minister in the federal government for the same party that mayor Coderre used to represent? What better way to improve Coderre’s chances of reelection than to offer a fresher-looking alternative to attract people away from Projet Montreal?

    • Kate 10:56 on 2017/06/21 Permalink

      NDG07, who? Mélanie Joly launched her party in June 2013. Marcel Côté showed up at the beginning of July. If anyone’s cooking up a new municipal party with plans to challenge Coderre they’d better make their move before the construction holiday, but I wouldn’t bet on this happening.

    • NDG07 11:25 on 2017/06/21 Permalink

      I mean that Joly seemed to have support from many people associated with the federal Liberals, and it seems that support helped Coderre keep his job. Maybe she didn’t decide to run as a spoiler to stop Projet Montreal, but it seems she might have had that effect, and some of her financial and organizational support might have been with that as a goal rather than to try to unseat Coderre. I’m no fan of the mayor, but I regret voting for Joly’s party last time around, even though I think she could have been a better mayor than Coderre, because I realize that splitting the opposition vote made his re-election possible.

    • Mathieu 12:45 on 2017/06/21 Permalink

      To this day, I still believe that Joly’s candidature was all planned to help Coderre win. She comes out of nowhere with a program similar to Projet’s and grabs all the votes from people who agreed with Projet’s main ideas but despised Bergeron/Ferrandez. It was obvious that there was a clientele for this kind of candidate, but it was also obvious that she couldn’t win with that platform. She sacrificed herself to divide the opposition to Coderre and was given a ministry to compensate her.

    • Bill Binns 12:49 on 2017/06/21 Permalink

      Is it generally accepted that Richard Bergeron would have won if Joly had not been in the race? I supported Joly but at the time Coderre definitely would have been my second choice. Knowing what I know now it would not be that easy of a decision but I had major issues with Bergeron and would probably still hold my nose and vote for Coderre.

      Also, I seem to remember that Coderre came to the race pretty late and did little campaigning or advertising but still managed to win. We think we are out of time for something like that to happen again?

    • ant6n 13:59 on 2017/06/21 Permalink

      I think this is good news. Justine McIntyre has a good chance on Roxboro, but would have had very little chance on Montreal overall. This also means she won’t split the opposition.

  • Kate 10:06 on 2017/06/21 Permalink | Reply  

    The Gazette sent Jason Magder to try out the STM’s Azur driving simulator, used for training drivers to use a system of controls radically updated from the older trains. I wonder if the STM realizes that people would pay to play on that simulator, just for kicks.

    • CE 17:54 on 2017/06/21 Permalink

      A friend and I once got to go in the front (cab?) of a Metro train and hang out with the driver. He showed us how all the controls worked and even stopped the train manually at a station to show how the mechanism worked. My friend just knocked on the window right after the train stoped and asked, I think he was happy to have the company.

    • Kate 01:39 on 2017/06/22 Permalink

      CE, that is cool. A little bit Hardy Boys, but cool.

  • Kate 09:46 on 2017/06/21 Permalink | Reply  

    Construction continues around the pedestrian part of Prince Arthur, and people are staying away in droves. I haven’t been by, but the CBC provides a series of photos that make it clear the borough’s “improvements” are not good.

    The principle of blocking a pedestrian street with a lot of street furniture so people have to walk in narrow spaces beside the buildings is so unattractive I can see why nobody goes there any more. The appeal of a pedestrian street is that people on foot can take their place, and saunter at will down the middle of the road. We walk on sidewalks normally because otherwise WE WILL DIE, but the spacious pleasure of a pedestrian street has been obliterated here.

    The borough will simply have to think again, and if it means removing all that cruft, they will have to remove it. They need to let the owners of the restaurants and bars – if there are any left after this disaster – decide what will sell and what works, and back off and let them do it. Don’t order them to arrange their terrasses a specific way – that’s insanity. Let restaurant owners do their thing, try things out, and adapt things if it’s not working based on their own observations. They will be highly motivated to figure out something that works. Unless people are being endangered, government should not intervene.

    There’s a time and a place for government to act in economic matters but this is not one of them. The borough has to admit it doesn’t understand the psychology or sociology of open-air dining and stop trying to force the invisible hand to eat in ways it deems appropriate. The borough, in short, has to be more humble.

    • Ephraim 10:09 on 2017/06/21 Permalink

      And I hate walking it because the bikes seem to think it’s still okay to drive on the narrow parts between the pedestrians… and they have put the bike walking sign up at the start of each section and it still doesn’t stop people. (Sorry, but with my bad back, I’m afraid of getting hit by a bike… I’ll end up in traction in a hospital.)

    • Poutine Pundit 10:16 on 2017/06/21 Permalink

      The biggest thing stopping me from dining on Prince Arthur is that none of the restaurants on that street are very good.

    • SteveQ 12:22 on 2017/06/21 Permalink

      Wow Kate ! I couldn’t have said it better. You summerized the situation very well. It leaves me wondering how come nobody at the borough was/is able to understand the problematic of the area. Putting terrasses in the middle of the way may work in Europe, especially where the sun shines everyday and the weather is great all year long, but here in Montréal, while we love sitting in terrasses, we definitively prefer being closer to the business and have at least some kind of semi intimacy while eating or having a beer.

    • Fab Pine 14:15 on 2017/06/21 Permalink

      The only nice thing to say about the new re-design is that it looks more terrorism-resistant than most pedestrian plazas are.

    • Chris 18:52 on 2017/06/21 Permalink

      hmmm, time will tell. For sure the construction itself keeps people away. More will return when it’s done. The weather has been rainy too, surely keeping some away.

      I suspect those long benches are in the middle specifically because of the ‘bike problem’ and are an attempt at mitigating it. A major existing vein of the bike network is Maisonneuve-University-Prince Arthur; it ends at St. Laurent, exactly where it becomes pedestrian-only. To a cyclist *on the bike network* arriving at an intersection of crazy traffic on St. Laurent vs calm no-traffic Prince Arthur, which is the rational choice for her? Just look at the map:

      notice how the pedestrian-only segment is exactly a missing interconnection in the bike network?

  • Kate 09:28 on 2017/06/21 Permalink | Reply  

    Two men were shot, not fatally, in two separate incidents overnight. Police are short of clues.

  • Kate 20:11 on 2017/06/20 Permalink | Reply  

    CTV Montreal has closed its sports desk, sacking several longtime sports reporters and cancelling Sports Night. Lots of chatter on Twitter and Facebook. Fagstein covers the story.

    • Tim S. 11:25 on 2017/06/21 Permalink

      That’s too bad. These days I go to bed before the sports wrap-up comes on, but Wilde and Tieman had a certain charm and wit that was a nice way to end the night, after the usually depressing news.

  • Kate 19:25 on 2017/06/20 Permalink | Reply  

    Catholic priests in Montreal are to be fingerprinted and follow a strict set of rules forbidding them to be alone with a child, for example.

    I wonder how this is meant to work with confession.

    • EmilyG 20:11 on 2017/06/20 Permalink

      I heard on CBC radio that with confession, the child will be visible to another adult, though the confession won’t be audible to the watcher.
      The link is returning an error message, by the way.

    • EmilyG 20:14 on 2017/06/20 Permalink

    • Kate 23:30 on 2017/06/20 Permalink

      Thanks, Emily. Blogging from the phone is still hit or miss, largely because the app doesn’t let me see the raw html. I forgot Radio-Canada pushes the headline in when you copy the link from their app, which breaks the link – and TVA doesn’t let you copy a link at all, but forces you to send it directly to social media or email.

      (Link is fixed above.)

    • Jack 09:57 on 2017/06/21 Permalink

      in Ireland a Roman Catholic priest is forbidden to be alone with anyone under the age of 18. As a former Roman Catholic I’d say that is a reason I’m a former Roman Catholic.

  • Kate 18:52 on 2017/06/20 Permalink | Reply  

    Luka Rocco Magnotta is to marry a fellow detainee this month.

    • rue david 19:50 on 2017/06/20 Permalink

      I wonder if they’d be allowed to house together or even on the same tier. Seems like a security risk, like siblings or whatever. Also, there’s always that worry about this guy’s safety if they’re ever along together and Luka Rocco snaps.

    • Kate 00:33 on 2017/06/21 Permalink

      It hadn’t occurred to me till now that one outcome of same-sex marriage would be jailhouse weddings.

  • Kate 11:18 on 2017/06/20 Permalink | Reply  

    The federal government has been soliciting ideas how to improve the Lachine Canal. There’s a government site where one can add comments to the draft plan under discussion.

    • SMD 12:06 on 2017/06/20 Permalink

      Similar consultation process underway for the Old Port:

    • Kate 12:30 on 2017/06/20 Permalink

      Excellent, SMD.

    • Taylor C. Noakes 14:12 on 2017/06/20 Permalink


      It’s not broken, it doesn’t need to be fixed.

      Honest to god, I enjoy the Canal specifically because it’s the exact opposite of the Old Port.

      If it needs anything, it’s a few benches and garbage cans.

      And somehow I doubt market reseach will tell them to install more garbage cans.

      How I wish for a gigantic earth-shattering recession to tank all these improvement projects.

    • Blork 15:16 on 2017/06/20 Permalink

      I’m with Taylor Noakes re: the canal. It ain’t broke so it don’t need fixing.

      …but it could use some maintenance on the bike paths and more trash cans.

    • GC 15:34 on 2017/06/20 Permalink

      I had the same thought. What needs to be improved?

    • Bill Binns 16:40 on 2017/06/20 Permalink

      I would love to see ice skating on the canal. The portion next to the Atwater market would be ideal since it’s way below street level and would be sheltered from the wind but being able to skate the whole thing like they do in Ottawa would really be cool.

      I’m surprised they didn’t consider simply filling the thing in and recovering the land when it was first closed.

    • Ian 17:43 on 2017/06/20 Permalink

      Perhaps of interest –
      “The lower section of the canal, overlooking the Old Port of Montréal, had been entirely filled in between 1965 and 1967. When it came under the authority of the Old Port of Montréal Corporation, this section was cleared and developed as a city park between 1990 and 1992. This time its maritime purposes were retained. A series of locks (locks 1 and 2 north) were restored to working condition, and the first boat in 30 years passed through.”

      So yeah, filling it in was actually already done to some extent. Before the development in the early 90s the old port section of the Lachine Canal was truly a postindustrial wasteland. Developing it was a very large part in the effort to make old Montreal and especially the old port a tourist attraction, which was extremely successful. I remember that part of town in the late 80s basically being very grim, populated only by bums and art students looking for cheap lofts. The Nelson Hotel used to be a punk showbar, and the cobblestones were grouted with broken beer bottles.

      Essentially the Lachine Canal is considered historically significant for obvious reasons, and under Parks Canada the focus is on recreation and tourism. Skating seems like an easy win. More boating would also make sense. Part of the problem with the canal being used for skating is that the ice tends to be thin as the water is still fairly dirty even after all the dredging so doesn’t freeze as quickly. At least it doesn’t smell like rotten eggs in the summer anymore.

      Anyhow I imagine further improvements to the canal will help with turning the former abandoned-warehouse-district-now-condo-wasteland into something a little more interesting and hospitable. I used to live along the canal on the Saint-Henri side in the early 90s (my apartment windows blew out from a fire in one of those abandoned warehouses across the street one night) and am amazed by what it’s become, even if I do miss taking photos in the old abandoned warehouses & factories.

    • jeather 11:56 on 2017/06/21 Permalink

      The plans seem fairly reasonable? Do something with the path over the winter, either for biking or for cross-country skiing; make it possible to skate on the canal in the winter — pretty normal stuff that people would want. I don’t want it to be focussed on visitors, though.

    • 15:43 on 2017/06/21 Permalink

      I’d like the bike patch to be uninterrupted on the north and south side. from Monk to Wellington.

    • Bradley M 06:36 on 2017/06/22 Permalink

      Steal Providence’s idea of Waterfire. (Partly sarcastic).

  • Kate 10:47 on 2017/06/20 Permalink | Reply  

    With a swipe at Donald Trump, Denis Coderre said Tuesday that cities would lead the way in holding to the Paris agreement. The Metropolis World Congress is holding its shindig here this week.

  • Kate 10:26 on 2017/06/20 Permalink | Reply  

    Beach projects meant for the 375th won’t be completed this year and a plan to create a swimming facility in the Old Port hasn’t come together either. I suspect the latter never will happen, considering the variable quantity and quality of water in the river.

    • Mathieu 10:31 on 2017/06/20 Permalink

      From what I remember, the Old Port project wasn’t necessarily supposed to involve swimming in the river directly. It would have been some kind of pool, but in the river.

    • Kate 10:49 on 2017/06/20 Permalink

      I know, Mathieu, but even a facility designed to float in the river would be affected by water levels and, I imagine, to a certain extent, water quality.

    • mare 14:16 on 2017/06/20 Permalink

      The water levels won’t be a problem, all those marinas on the south shore have the same issue and it’s easily solved with a movable ramp.

      The water quality is supposedly not that bad and is measured constantly at the intake for our drinking water plant and that data can be used to temporarily close the pool when spills come from upstream. Raw sewage dumped from the cruise ships might be bigger problem. Thousand(s) of passengers on a ship produce a lot of it. It’s supposed to be treated and only dumped at sea, but accidents happen…

    • Kate 00:37 on 2017/06/21 Permalink

      mare, since you’re the guy who’s been known to swim in the Back River…

  • Kate 09:35 on 2017/06/20 Permalink | Reply  

    Metro downtimes were on the upswing in 2016 with 26 instances of more than an hour compared to only 17 in the previous year. Philippe Schnobb points out that some of the downtime is due to aging trains breaking down, a situation that should improve as more Azurs come into service. Le Devoir has some graphs on this, and talks to Projet’s transit critic Craig Sauvé, who deplores Denis Coderre’s cuts to the city’s contribution to public transit budgets, while the STM spokesperson points out that human actions account for a significant amount of the downtime.

    • Phil C. 15:18 on 2017/06/20 Permalink

      “Les arrêts de service du métro de Montréal à la hausse”. Proceeds to explain that metro downtime decreased from 2015. Lol. I can pick any year (2012 was a bad year for example) and say “wow! Look how much metro downtime has decreased since then!!!!”. These things fluctuate.

      I’m by no means implying the Coderre is doing a good job, but these alarmist headlines are honestly just ridiculous. The metro is definitely one of the best (probably the best in north America) for reliability. It can improve for sure, but it’s definitely not our weak spot. If you want write an article roasting Coderre on public transit, do it about our buses. That’s where the real issues are in terms of reliability.

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