Montreal Unveils New Public Transit Plan

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Catchfire Catchfire's picture
Montreal Unveils New Public Transit Plan

 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

quote:


The city of Montreal has released its ambitious $8 billion public transit plan to overhaul the island’s metro train and bus network over the next two decades which includes streetcar routes and possible bridge and highway tolls.

Montreal Mayor Gйrald Tremblay said the plan – the first of its kind for the city – focuses on encouraging sustainable development and public transit use to limit the number of cars on city roads and highways and contain greenhouse gas emissions


[url=http://www.cbc.ca/canada/montreal/story/2007/05/17/qc-transitplan0517.ht... sounds nice, Gerry, but will it happen?[/url]

Michelle

Thank-you for this! I blogged it and gave you credit, Catchfire. This looks amazing, although being completely unfamiliar with Montreal, I leave it to Montrealers to have the final word on how this plan rates when it comes to value for money, etc.

The thing I really like about it? The fact that they're incorporating bike lanes as part of their transit plan. Most of the time we think of transit as transit vehicles and infrastructure for them, but I think it's a really great thing to start thinking about bike lanes as another aspect of green transit planning. I suppose technically bikes are private transportation, but still it should be accommodated and encouraged, considering how environmentally-friendly it is.

500_Apples

It's a pretty good plan in theory. All in all I think Gerald Tremblay has been a good mayor thus far (e.g. world aquatic championships) and I'm willing to trust him. It's things that need to be done as well, such as upgrading the metro and bus lanes... they have not received a general refurbishing in a few decades as far as I know, and Montreal has changed significantly.

There's a few factors though that might get in the way. None of the leading provincial politicians seem to care about Montreal. It's popular in the rest of Quebec to bash montreal, and they all have their reasons to pander to that since the island is underrepresented in the legislature and doesn't have many swing ridings. I could see someone like Jean Charest preventing the tolls in order to pander to voters in the south shore and laval.

The other factor are the unions. This city does not have a harmonious relationships with its unions. I could see strikes sporadically taking place throughout the projects and drastically raising the cost, as oit did with the Laval metro extension.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Gee, thanks Michelle, you shouldn't have!

[url=http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/editorial/story.html?id=3fbd7... is finally moving on transit[/url]

quote:

Mayor Gerald Tremblay yesterday presented the city's $8.1-billion, 20-year transportation plan as an historic document. The fact the claim was, strictly speaking, accurate - it is the city's first plan - should be a matter of embarrassment, not pride. What has taken so long?

Why hasn't the city just gone ahead with bicycle paths, pedestrian-friendly traffic lights, rapid-transit bus routes, refurbished metro cars and the urgently needed shuttle service, a monorail, between downtown Montreal and Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport?

What are these ordinary, uncontroversial improvements and additions even doing in a "historic" transportation plan? They are, or should be, a normal part of running a transportation system in a big urban centre in the 21st century. There is no need to hold public consultations, slated for this fall, over this type of item.


I'm inclined to agree with the sentiment of this [i]Gazette[/i] editorial. I've supported for years groups trying to put tramways along Avenue du Parc and Ave Mont-Royal for years, and so I'm very excited about that part of the plan. But the price tag for the four new streetcar lines is allegedly $985-million (oh, and nice drive-by labour smear, 500 Apples, I'm glad to see you had it in you!). For a twenty-year plan, there's lots that can go wrong, or not get started at all. As a point of reference, the so-called doubling of bike paths has been promised for at least five years, and is still not been realized, not even the fairly simple task of connecting routes east and west of downtown together through the city-centre. It's possible the new plan intends even more routes, so I'll have to see.

ETA: And this Gazette journalist proves I'm not the only one slightly reticent about Tremblay's plan:

[url=http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/story.html?id=75d4d711-4663-4... Plan Destined for Dilution[/url]

quote:

While the city can argue it has a right to slap tolls on motorists entering its limits from the suburbs, those same suburbs are located in the 450 area code, a piece of geography only slightly less essential to the maintenance of a career in provincial politics than, say, oxygen.

It's hard to imagine that anyone who sits in the National Assembly will sit still for the creation of a tax-collection apparatus that a) doesn't fill coffers in Quebec City and b) takes money away from a motorist whose vote might mean the difference between a majority or minority government.

Which is why, come December, you'll probably see a vastly watered-down version of the transit plan presented yesterday.


[ 18 May 2007: Message edited by: Catchfire ]

500_Apples

Catchfire, are you saying that the city has a wonderful relationship with its unions? I'm not an expert. I just know what happened with the Laval Metro extension, and with the olympics. It'll possibly be a big problem. But typical of you to zero in one part of my post that you feel uncomfortable with, make it much different than it was, and accuse me.

I wasn't smearing unions, I was mentioning the relationship between the unions and the city. It seems very possible to me a lot of these strikes could be avoided with open discourse at the beginning of projects.

[ 18 May 2007: Message edited by: 500_Apples ]

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

I suppose it's how you point to the "strikes" as the problem, rather than the inequalities that led to the pressure tactics. Considering your history of anti-worker sentiment, it's not so far a stretch to point out your off-hand smear.

500_Apples

quote:


Originally posted by Catchfire:
[b]I suppose it's how you point to the "strikes" as the problem, rather than the inequalities that led to the pressure tactics. Considering your history of anti-worker sentiment, it's not so far a stretch to point out your off-hand smear.[/b]

Anti-worker sentiment?

I don't recall making that many posts on labour issues, please refresh my memory. I recall at one point writing that a big problem with the quebec labour code is that a lot of small companies just circumvent it,and many workers don't know their rights. That's about all. That's not anti-worker. I don't even remember if I wrote it on this board or another one.

I'm inclined to suspect you've just paintbrushed me as a hyperfascist on all issues without exception. It's a clever heuristic, but not very accurate and is essentially a smear.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Edited to remove provocative thread drift.

[ 18 May 2007: Message edited by: Catchfire ]

Michelle

Okay, let's not drag old fights into this thread. Since 500_Apples' remark was really kind of peripheral to this thread anyhow, let's just drop it.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Fair enough. Anyway, Apples is right about the lack of Provincial interest in Montreal. There are no swing ridings anywhere close to the city, and Charest could easily run for re-election campaigning against bridge tolls, just like he did in 2002 for demerging. The 450 ridings on the South Shore are PLQ bread and butter.

500_Apples

It also looks like we might have another provincial election, because Charest really wants to pass that 700 million dollar tax cut, and nobody else does.

mayakovsky

And a metro strike on the 22nd of May. It is among the metro technical staff, the same group that struck in 2003. Montreal's metro system seems to be quite well used and it services places most people want to go. But Montreal is still very much a car city. St Catherine street downtown is bumper to bumper throughout most of any 9-5 workday. I personally would be for tolls if it generated dollars for public transit and bike path construction and reduced pollution in the city. Bike lane construction is a must. I know many who use bikes as transportation and Montreal is a bit scary when it comes to cycling. I imagine it would be a major selling job to encourage those off island who come onto the island to work not to come by car. Things like convenience and comfort. I know it sounds a little bourgoise but I live in the city and I wonder why I am crammed in at 6am.

mayakovsky

mayakovsky went 'au pied' today. My work times don't coincide rush hour strike times. Better for the old ticker anyway and the waistline.

I didn't see any pickets anywhere in the city, did anyone else? I can't imagine doing the PR for the union. The workers are part of an essential service that many working people depend upon. Many working people who have far less guarantees. Not to pit worker against worker but it would be a hard sell.

kingblake

So how has Charest reacted to the Plan? It's got some nice ideas (and I was terribly jealous to be reminded of the hundreds of kilometers of bike paths in Montreal) but they're essentially meaningless if Tremblay can't get the other players to the table.

Any chance the Feds could pony up? I would assume they're not too interested in paying for bike paths or the like, but I could see them coming to the table with cash for metro extensions to the suburbs, or for anything to do with Laval or the South Shore...

[Hey mayakovsky: how you been, man?]