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  1. The world's big digs http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2008/06/19/f-big-digs.html Last Updated: Monday, June 23, 2008 | 10:26 AM ET CBC News Construction on Montreal's Honoré Mercier Bridge, billed as Canada's largest bridge repair, has a price tag of $66 million for its first phase. Work is expected to last until 2011. It's a big endeavour, to be sure. But it still pales in comparison to the scope of massive projects planned or underway around the world. Consider China's $63-billion — yes, billion — water diversion project, or Canada's own ambitious plans for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Many of these projects break new ground, figuratively as well as literally, in striving to set new world standards. They want to be tallest, widest, first or most expensive works of their kind. Here are some of the world's biggest digs, either underway or planned: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- China: north-south water diversion Estimated cost: $63 billion With this massive hydro-engineering plan, China seeks to deliver water from the water-rich Yangtze River area in the south to parched regions in the country's north and west. In essence, the Chinese want to build a series of new, artificial rivers. Adopted in 2002, the ambitious plan calls for three water routes to eventually be built. Planners hope that the 1,250-km central and 1,150-km eastern routes will divert 13 billion cubic metres of water to Beijing and other northern cities by 2010. Due for completion in 2050, the western route cuts through the mountains of Tibet to reach China's arid northwestern provinces. If completed as planned, all three routes would carry a torrent of water as powerful as the flow of the Yellow River, China's second-longest waterway. The key word is "planned": Parts of the project have been delayed by technological and financial difficulties and concerns over water pollution, state media has reported. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Vancouver: 2010 Olympic infrastructure Estimated cost: $2.6 billion Two major projects are transforming transportation in British Columbia's Lower Mainland in the lead-up to the 2010 Winter Olympics. The 80-kilometre Sea to Sky highway, from Vancouver to the resort town of Whistler, is being improved at an estimated cost of $600 million. New passing lanes are being added and some sections straightened to improve safety. The new Canada Line, meanwhile, will provide a 19.5-km rail link between Vancouver and the city's international airport in Richmond. Completion of the 16-stop line is expected in 2009 in advance of the beginning of the Games. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Panama: Panama Canal expansion Estimated cost: $5.25 billion Workers use heavy machinery at the site of the Panama Canal expansion project in Panama City on April 28, 2008. (Arnulfo Franco/Associated Press) Approved in a 2006 national referendum, this project will be the largest improvement in the historic waterway's history. The canal's locks will be widened by 17 metres to 50 metres to accommodate modern ocean-faring vessels. By the time of its expected wrap-up in 2014, officials expect the canal's shipping capacity will be doubled. That will be good news for the ships who make the 14,000 annual trips through the 82-km-long canal. The smaller waterway has forced costly queues in recent years. If finished as planned in 2014, the expansion will open at the same time as the Panama Canal's 100th anniversary. It was originally built by the Americans and French and transferred to full Panamanian control in 1999. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- United Arab Emirates: Burj Dubai Estimated cost: $4 billion With their ultra-tall Burj Dubai, Emaar Properties want to do more than part the clouds with their building. The developers want to make a statement. A big statement. Even while still under construction, the Burj Dubai is already the world's tallest free-standing structure, eclipsing Toronto's 553-metre-tall CN Tower in September 2007. When completed in late 2009, the building will exceed 800 metres and house offices, a glitzy hotel and residential space. By then, the skyscraper will have consumed 330,000 metric tonnes of concrete, 39,000 metric tonnes of steel rebar and 142,000 square metres of glass, and 22 million worker hours of labour. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Algeria: east-west highway Estimated cost: $13 billion Flush with a windfall of oil and gas revenues, the Algerian government has embarked on a $144-billion project to upgrade the country's public works. Schools, hospitals and a subway for the capital, Algiers, are all being built. A cornerstone will be the east-west highway that will span more than 1,200 km across the country, connecting the Tunisian border in the east with Morocco in the west. Expected to be completed in 2010 and financed completely by the government, the roadway will also connect Algiers and other major cities in the country's north. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- China: Three Gorges Dam Estimated cost: $25 billion Spanning the Yangtze River, Three Gorges is 210 metres high and more than two kilometres long. Critics call it an environmental nightmare, but China's leaders believe it will control flooding along the Yangtze, harnessing an estimated 18,000 megawatts of power by its eventual completion in 2009. However, the dam has displaced more than one million people and it's estimated rising waters will submerge 1,200 towns and villages. Work began in 1993 on the project which, when complete, will produce three times the capacity of Canada's Churchill Falls generating station in Newfoundland and Labrador. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Moscow: Crystal Island Estimated cost: $4 billion Once completed, this sprawling residential and commercial complex near the heart of Moscow is expected to be one of the world's largest and most expensive buildings. British architect Norman Foster has drafted plans for a tent-like structure with 2.5 million square metres of ground space set around a 450-metre peak. As planned, Crystal Island would include an observatory deck near the top, as well as apartments, entertainment facilities and sports complexes. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- San Francisco: Bay Bridge Estimated cost:$6.3 billion Upon its completion in 1936, the Bay Bridge was hailed as an engineering triumph, spanning the 13 kilometres between San Francisco and Oakland, Calif. But a major 1989 earthquake, which caused extensive damage to the bridge, drove home the need for repairs to guard against future temblors. So this massive repair project was drawn up. The eastern span will be entirely rebuilt and its western portions greatly overhauled. Work on the bridge, which carries an estimated 280,000 cars per day, is expected to wrap up in 2013. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Australia: Brisbane bypass tunnel Estimated cost: $3 billion This big dig will eventually deliver Australia's largest tunnel, built under the streets of the city of Brisbane. Named the Clem Jones Tunnel after a popular former mayor, it will provide another north-south traffic artery through the city. The goal for completion is the end of 2009. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Italy: Strait of Messina Bridge Estimated cost: $9 billion Since Roman times, Italian leaders have dreamed of a fixed link between the mainland and the island of Sicily. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi tried to bring such a plan to life after his election in 2001, only to have it scuppered after a change of government in 2006. The April 2008 election restored Berlusconi to power and gave the idea a second life. The new plan calls for a 3.3-kilometre suspension bridge — it would be the world's longest, besting the current world record holder by almost 1.5 kilometres. Construction could begin in 2010 and wrap up by 2016, a government official says. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Las Vegas: CityCenter Estimated cost: $9 billion Dubbed a "city within a city" on the famous Las Vegas Strip, this monster complex will combine a resort casino called Aria, along with several other hotels and residential buildings. CityCenter will cover 76 acres after its expected completion in 2009. A little more than 46,000 square metres of space will be dedicated to The Crystals, a complex featuring restaurants, retail and other entertainment. The project will employ about 7,000 construction workers, according to the developers.
  2. Ça m'étonne que ça soit passé inaperçu? http://coolopolis.blogspot.ca/2013/12/bridge-and-wellington-demolished.html
  3. A bridge in Mumbai Halfway to paradise A half-built bridge symbolises the urgency and the frustrations of improving India’s infrastructure Dec 22nd 2012 |From the print edition N 1988, when V.S. Naipaul arrived in Bombay, now known as Mumbai, and drove south from its airport, he could tell something unusual was happening because the traffic was so bad. It turned out that a festival of Dalits, the former untouchables, had led to crowds that blocked the roads. The Nobel-prizewinning writer complained of “fumes and heat and din” in his taxi to the Taj Hotel. The chaos was novel enough to form the opening passage of his book, “A Million Mutinies Now”. Today greater Mumbai’s population has almost doubled to 18m, and transport bedlam has become as integral to its psyche as the stockmarket, films and slums. Millions endure commutes that would qualify them for post-traumatic-stress counselling in rich countries. Rush-hour trains get so crushed that a phone or pair of glasses carried in a breast pocket will smash under the pressure of bodies. Every year perhaps 500 people perish after falling off trains in the city and 6,000 die on the tracks. If, like Mr Naipaul, you can afford a taxi, it will reek of sweat and honk and buck for inches of advantage against bigger cars, which under a Darwinian highway code have bullying rights. After monsoon storms the sewers overflow and the roads flood. On nights like this endless lines of vehicles crawl in the dark and you can hear the slop lapping on your car’s underbelly, like waves on a dinghy’s hull. But if you divert from Mr Naipaul’s route, by a creek at a place called Mahim, and turn west, you can take a different trip. Time leaps forward. India becomes China, or even Singapore. The swarm of autorickshaws fades and, after pausing at a toll booth, you find yourself on an eight-lane motorway running parallel with the coast, floating high over the sea on 120 piers, and suspended on wires from two 128-metre towers. The bridge is called the Sea Link and opened in 2009. If you open the window the air is fresh; if you put your foot down you can hit racing speed. From the bridge Mumbai’s berserk skyline seems hazy; the 23 sets of traffic lights and 40 minutes of furious traffic you are bypassing are like a bad dream. The Portuguese fort and aboriginal fishing village that you zip past feel about as real as the scenery of a Disneyland ride. For that matter, can it truly be possible that after just 4.7km, or about five minutes, all eight lanes of this glorious bridge stop in mid-air—as if King Kong had bitten them off? But alas, it is. If you keep going you will plunge into the Arabian Sea. Instead a narrow slip road delivers you back to the city. The shift is disorienting. As your car battles for space again and you pass a Dalit slum, perhaps housing the children of the folk Mr Naipaul saw, it is tempting to look back. What just happened? Viewed from the Sea Link, Mumbai seems like a mirage. But seen from the chaos of the city, it is the Sea Link that is improbable, like a giant hologram. Decent infrastructure and this megacity, maybe this country, do not belong together. Do they? Dream on If any country needs better infrastructure, it is fast-urbanising India. The government hopes a trillion dollars will be spent between 2012 and 2017, although with a creaking banking sector and jumpy investors that is optimistic. If any megacity needs better transport, it is Mumbai. Formed from seven islands, the city was given by Portugal to Charles II of England in 1661 as dowry for his marriage to Catherine of Braganza. It is a long spit whose hub is at its southern tip. Manhattan has 16 bridges, four underwater tunnels and a ferry system linking it to the mainland. Mumbai has just six bridges, all but one at its northern extremity. Two main roads, three railway lines and an airport besieged by shanty towns are its fragile links to the outside world. The city centre is like a head on a long, strangled neck. The difficulty of commuting is partly why Mumbai is so densely populated, with property prices driven high and migrants forced into slums, which now house over half the population. There are only a handful of successful state-sponsored developments: a satellite city on the mainland called Navi (New) Mumbai, some flyovers and a new office park built on marshland near the airport. What Mumbai has been unable to do in practice, it has done in theory. The first master plan to relieve the city’s woes emerged in 1948, the most recent in 2011. In the six decades in between some fine minds, from J.R.D. Tata, a revered industrialist, in 1981, to McKinsey, a consulting firm, in 2003, have had their say. There is widespread agreement on what is required. First, a road round the city’s perimeter—probably a series of Sea Link-style bridges along its entire west coast, and on its east coast a highway partly to be built on land occupied by the city’s dying old port. Second, to link this ring to the mainland, a 22km road over the sea, an idea known as the “trans-harbour link”. Third, near the end of this putative bridge, on the mainland, a new airport. And fourth, at least nine metro lines in the city itself. You can get a flavour of this Utopia in the offices of one of the many government agencies responsible for projects in Maharashtra, the state Mumbai belongs to. A huge, Lego-for-adults model built by a Singaporean firm shows the city centre bisected by an elevated bridge that sweeps in from the ocean. Vast new skyscrapers tower over the Art Deco and colonial buildings. Today’s shabby military cantonment is a nature park. Metro stations are everywhere. Jetties for ferries are abundant. A slum has become a “heritage village” with yachts moored beside it. The sea is blue, the grass is green and the buildings are spotless white. All of it is made up. Indeed of all the transport mega-projects planned for Mumbai, after decades of reports and committees, only one is in use: that surreal 4.7km stretch of the Sea Link. Kafka in Bombay What has gone wrong? One view can be heard on the wasteland at the north abutment of the Sea Link. A ragged family are smashing reinforced concrete rubble. They say they get about a dollar for every two kilos of steel inside—roughly the cost of a one-way Sea Link ticket. Nearby, dogs and feral pigs sniff around abandoned machinery as Girish, aged 52, hits the bottle with his colleagues. The pals work nights in a call centre selling Americans an erectile-dysfunction drug. “You get a quick recharge,” is the sales pitch; the most common response, they all agree, is “Fuck you”. They also agree that this derelict land is a fine spot to unwind. Yet the rumour, which seems to have originated in the nearby slum, is that it has been grabbed secretly by a tycoon to build a mall, or luxury flats; the details vary. A local priest (a church was built nearby in 1575) talks suspiciously of the “fantasy” that any such project could ever benefit the common man. In fact, the land is still owned by the government. But the conspiracy theory that Mumbai is essentially a stitch-up by the rich is not propounded only by drunk cold-callers and men of the cloth. It may be the most widely held belief in the city. Its grandest iteration is that the city’s elite has deliberately sabotaged its transport infrastructure to enrich themselves. The argument goes like this: better transport would lower the scarcity premium on land and property in downtown Mumbai, hurting builders’ profits, and in turn curbing the flow of bribes to India’s political parties. The idea that the rich control the city’s fate was fuelled by a battle in 2005-08 between Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest man, and his estranged brother, Anil, over a tender to build the trans-harbour link. After a legal tussle Anil undercut his brother by bidding for a concession of nine years and 11 months. The tender process was eventually abandoned. Mumbai is certainly corrupt in other ways. The chief minister of Maharashtra, Prithviraj Chavan, who wants to clean things up, speaks of a nexus of builders and politicians. One official reckons illegal gains of $5 billion a year have been made by builders bribing their way around planning rules. “Those bastards have ruined everything” by scaring off legitimate firms, says one boss. But the grand conspiracy theory is silly. Mukesh Ambani owns a chunk of land near the proposed new airport, the value of which would soar if the trans-harbour link were built. Builders are buying space near proposed metro stations. And without good transport links the population of south Mumbai has begun to decline, which should be bad for property prices. Most businesspeople say the city’s decay is an embarrassment. The truth is fiddlier—as the half-built Sea Link demonstrates. The bridge was commissioned in 1999 but took ten years to finish, instead of the planned two and a half. Ajit Gulabchand, the boss of HCC, the construction firm that won the contract to build it, says the project was “a Kafkaesque struggle”. He describes himself as a “south Bombay boy” and drives a Bentley through the city to his office in the north-east (he does not use the Sea Link because there are no good connections between the west and the east). He is also subject, like all tycoons, to a secondary conspiracy theory, which is that he gained by being close to Sharad Pawar, who heads a Maharashtrian political clan. Mr Gulabchand says this is rubbish. “I’m not going to deny my friendship,” he says. But, “If I’m so powerful, how come I lost money?” One recent fiasco involved a military convoy doing a U-turn, a naval ambulance, a man in flip-flops with a red flag, and thousands of angry drivers The bridge’s original budget was $74m at current exchange rates, which rose to double that (officials verify these figures). Mr Gulabchand says he is still owed around $100m. The rising cost reflects a deep problem: delays. After construction began the cash-starved road agency in charge, MSRDC, changed the plan from eight lanes to four and back to eight again. The council took an age to release the land needed to house machinery (near where the call-centre employees relax). Maritime rules banned work during the monsoon. Customs held up the import of a 5,400-tonne floating crane. Subsea telecoms cables were found in the wrong place. Old folk living nearby griped about noise pollution. Those are the kind of problems big projects face everywhere. But other hurdles were peculiarly Indian. In a 107-year-old house in the fishing village the bridge passes over at its southern end sits Vijay Worlikar, one of the “nine Patils”, or clan chiefs, who in effect run the area. He is a Koli, an aboriginal people who have been there for centuries; he has childhood memories of Iranian boats sailing to the village to trade pistachios for dried fish. “This land is our land,” he says. Mr Worlikar successfully campaigned to shift the bridge farther from the village, and for a second suspended section to be built to create a channel for the fishing fleet to sail underneath. His legal objections, along with other environmental complaints, caused years of delays. Yet he is a modern man: his daughter is a doctor and his son an executive at the airport. He blames sloppy planning. He says he is now helping the state build relations with other fishing villages in the city to try to avoid further fiascos. Cutting red tape and winning public support would be easier with political leadership. The Sea Link was opened, with a firework display, by Sonia Gandhi, the dynast of India’s ruling Congress Party, and was officially named after her assassinated husband, Rajiv. However, consistent with the rule that the more politicians celebrate a finished project, the less they did to make it happen, the Sea Link had earlier been left out to dry. Mr Gulabchand says that after the state government changed in 1999 and an energetic minister left, the plan had no sponsor to bulldoze through bureaucracy. Maharashtra’s ruling coalition since 1999, of the Congress Party and the NCP, often squabbles over who runs big projects. The politicians have rural vote banks and are afraid, as one official puts it, “to be seen to neglect the rural man”. Mr Gulabchand thinks Mumbai needs more political accountability: “The Sea Link would not have been delayed if there was a mayor responsible for doing it. His re-election would have depended on it.” For the time being, such a change in the city’s governance seems unlikely. Mumbai’s biggest secret To grow fast India needs lots more infrastructure. But lately spending has been falling. The central bank thinks that the value of envisioned projects dropped by 52% in 2011-12. The slump reflects worries about red tape, corruption and doubts about the profitability of public-private partnerships (PPPs). In Mumbai it is easy to despair. “The whole spirit of doing things has gone,” says Mr Gulabchand. Five kilometres south of Mr Worlikar’s village is a fenced plot by the sea where men sit on plastic seats, apparently anticipating, like actors in a production of “Waiting for Godot”, the next section of the Sea Link to arrive. It could be a while. The winner of a PPP project to build and run it, Anil Ambani, has got cold feet. A political tussle has erupted, with the NCP keen to build a bridge using public funds and Congress preferring a road on reclaimed land. Nothing may happen for years. Yet, just as the Sea Link manages those 4.7km of elevated bliss, some projects are moving. Beneath a hill owned by an atomic research agency in north Mumbai, roaring diggers have almost finished excavating two half-kilometre-long tunnels. Outside, in both directions, the ghastly task of clearing slums has been accomplished and their residents moved to blocks of flats nearby. This is part of Mumbai’s best-kept secret—the Eastern Freeway, a new road stretching all the way down the city’s east coast, on the opposite side from the Sea Link, using tunnels and stilts. It should open in 2013, about five years after work began. J.R. Dhane, an engineer on the project, says it has been like painstakingly weaving a thread through the city’s dense fabric. Elsewhere the first metro line is almost finished, its platforms inches away from living-room windows, an experimental monorail is coming up, and a new round of bids is set to begin on a contract to build and operate a $2 billion trans-harbour link. These projects are all being run by the MMRDA, a state development body that has stepped into the vacuum. It owns land worth $12 billion, which it sells to help finance projects, and is viewed as clean and technocratic. Its boss, Rahul Asthana, says that progress is being made, but seems cautious about the city making a Shanghai-style great leap forward. In all probability Mumbai will do enough to prevent a crisis, but not enough to fulfil its vast potential or quickly transform the quality of most of its people’s lives. The same is true of infrastructure across India. And what of that 4.7km stretch of the Sea Link, stranded out there, all alone? The bridge is in good nick but seems to be run poorly by the road agency, MSRDC (its chief declined interview requests). Vehicle numbers are thought to be half those expected. The financial impact is hard to assess: the most recent annual report on the agency’s website is from 2008. Waiting for Utopia Meanwhile the toll-booth system has become a slapstick affair, with a maze of concrete chicanes prone to collapse, complex cash fares and overstaffed booths. Usually receipts are printed, but occasionally they are hand-stamped on the kind of paper used for bingo tickets. Accusations of graft swirl. An electronic swipe system has apparently been introduced but seems to be available only to VIPs. After a suicide jump in August it emerged that the CCTV system to help stop terrorist attacks was not working properly. One recent fiasco involved a military convoy doing a U-turn on the bridge, a naval ambulance, a man in flip-flops with a red flag like a Formula One race official, and thousands of angry drivers. This created a traffic jam along most of the Sea Link, which seemed at last to have become part of the city. Often couples on motorbikes park by the bridge. They are not there to ride on it—two-wheelers are prohibited. They are not seeking intimacy, for the choice spot for that is the rocks around the headland at low tide. Nor are they there for the ambience, for the ground nearby features broken promenades, weeds and rats. They are there for the view. When you see its sweeping cords silhouetted against a dusky sky, the Sea Link is as close to a wonder as Mumbai can offer. And whether this ritual demonstrates low expectations or hope is in the minds of the beholders alone. http://www.economist.com/news/christmas-specials/21568582-half-built-bridge-symbolises-urgency-and-frustrations-improving-indias
  4. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/9133399/Paris-to-trump-Londons-Shard-with-Europes-tallest-buildings.html Paris to trump London's Shard with Europe's tallest buildings The two skyscrapers will 40ft taller than the Shard, which is currently under construction in the British capital. Planning permission for the French project called Hermitage Plaza - designed by British artchitects Foster and Partners - was granted by Paris officials this week. The two buildings - which will house offices, luxury apartments, a shopping complex and a hotel - will dominate the skyline in the western business district of La Defense. Work began on the Shard at London Bridge in February 2009 and it is already Europe's highest construction project at a cost so far of around £450 million. The 87-storey building is due for completion in May this year, when it will stand at 1,017 feet tall and offer uninterrupted 360-degree views of London for 40 miles in every direction.
  5. By Eric Moskowitz | GLOBE STAFF MAY 19, 2013 The city’s on-street bike lanes are marvels to US visitors. We had pedaled half a block from the vibrant Jeanne-Mance Park, past tennis matches, a youth league football game, and the filming of a music video, when it dawned on me: We were biking in one direction, and the cars were pointed in another. But this was no rogue move by our tour guide, leading us the wrong way down a one-way street. Pavement markings invited it. Stopping ahead, guide Martin Coutu pointed out a defining feature of the city’s residential neighborhoods: the cast-iron outdoor staircases leading to the upper floors of thousands of two- and three-story walkups, allowing the homes to achieve a gracious sidewalk setback without ceding interior space for shared entries and stairwells. Still, I couldn’t help marveling over that bike lane, beckoning two-way cycling down an otherwise one-way street. I could picture just a single block like it in Cambridge and none in Boston. But as we followed Coutu along Fitz & Follwell Co.’s ’Hoods and Hidden Gems tour, it became clear that, in Montreal, it was one of many. Coursing through the city, we followed all manner of on-street bike lanes — plain old painted lanes, two-way lanes, lanes protected from traffic by plastic rods or concrete curbs — and off-street bike paths. We even saw some bicycle-specific traffic lights. Painted markings guided us through intersections, and signs told drivers to give us the right of way. More remarkably, they obeyed. Related If you go biking in Montreal... On that four-hour tour, and again riding around the city on the bike-sharing network known as Bixi, no one honked at us, not even once. It was liberating, allowing us to follow Coutu — a cheerful character with the whippet build of a bike messenger, unafraid to give a playful squeeze to the bulbous retro horn affixed to his handlebars — without any white-knuckled worry about staying alive. “The majority of our customers are American,” Shea Mayer, Fitz & Follwell’s founder, told me later, “and they all say, ‘It’s unbelievable. I live in Boston, I live in New York’ — or California, or wherever it is — ‘and not only can I not believe the amount of lanes you have, but I can’t believe we haven’t been run off the road yet.’ ” And there was plenty to see following those bike lanes, on a tour inspired by Mayer’s idea of a perfect day off in Montreal, often ranked as the most bike-friendly city in North America. Riding a stylish set of Dutch-inspired upright bikes, we weaved through the colorful neighborhoods that fan out to the east and northeast of the verdant peak known as Mont Royal, including Mile-End, Outremont, and Petite Italie. We stopped to sample wood-fired, sesame seed-covered bagels on Rue Saint-Viateur; sip exquisitely prepared cappuccino at Café Olimpico; and explore the open-air stalls of the Jean-Talon Market, the larger, locally minded cousin to the tourist-choked Atwater Market on the waterfront. Mayer started Fitz & Follwell as a one-man outfit in 2009, soon growing it into an eight-guide business and a boutique in the hip neighborhood known as The Plateau, where he rents and sells bikes and offers locally made, bike-friendly products such as a leather crossbar holster for wine bottles. The outings now include a food tour by foot and winter toboggan and snowshoe expeditions in the city’s famed parks, but the bread and butter is still the April through October bike tour. It is designed not as a stop-and-go sightseeing tour that happens to be by bicycle, but a two-wheeled immersion in, and celebration of, a place with a deeply ingrained bike culture. Having written about Boston’s push under Mayor Thomas M. Menino to end its status as the scourge of the biking world, starting from zero to add 60 miles of bike lanes, and launching the Hubway bike-share network, I was aware of the basic facts about Montreal. It boasts hundreds of miles of bike lanes, and its Bixi system, with more than 400 stations and 5,100 bikes, is four times as extensive as Hubway. But the numbers tell only part of it. This is a rare city beyond Europe where bicycling is not just a form of daring recreation or reluctant transportation but an essential, accepted part of everyday life. It is the way urbanites get to the pub, the park, the office, the grocery store. I saw bikes as fashion statements and bikes outnumbering cars, three or four fastened to every parking-meter post on the bar-, cafe-, and boutique-laden Saint-Laurent and Saint-Denis avenues. Not that I had come to Montreal intent on geeking out on the bike infrastructure and scene. My girlfriend, Hannah, and I had been drawn by the city’s traditional allures: food, culture, architectural charm, and proximity to Boston. Before we went, Hannah made a Facebook appeal for suggestions, and a friend in New York quickly responded, declaring Fitz & Follwell “the best thing I’ve ever done as a tourist” — anywhere. A Google search yielded similar superlatives on TripAdvisor, where the company holds the top ranking among all manner of Montreal tour providers, so we booked. What distinguishes Fitz & Follwell was never clearer than at the end of the tour, after we had admired more outdoor staircases and followed Coutu through a world tourists rarely see: the intricate network of back alleys that were once the unremarkable setting for so many anonymous coal deliveries and trash collections, but that have been enlivened recently with lush gardens, ivy-draped terraces, and candy-colored murals. Winding down, we ducked into a boulangerie and pedaled behind Coutu to Parc La Fontaine, where he laid a blanket on a rare stretch of unoccupied grass and we sat down to a spread of ripe strawberries and cherry tomatoes from Jean-Talon Market, made-to-order sandwiches from the boulangerie, and ice-cold craft beers. As we sipped, ate, and laughed, another group biked into view on the far side of the lawn, gathering around a leader. Not only were they not enjoying a picnic, but they were clad in matching fluorescent vests, like members of a prison road crew. “That’s the other bike tour,” Coutu said, grinning impishly. “They’re people who get lost easily.” Watching them, it was easy to forget we weren’t locals ourselves — or, at least, visitors being shown around by a savvy friend. When we got back to the shop, we lingered, reluctant to let go of the leather grips on those Dutch-inspired bikes. So we did the next best thing, renting Bixis to explore places suggested by Coutu as we had buzzed by — only so many eating stops can be squeezed into one tour. Undaunted by intermittent rain, we rode in the evening along part of the Canal-de-Lachine, a 35-year-old bike path that traces a canal abandoned after the 1959 opening of a shipping channel in the mighty St. Lawrence River, and followed another bike path along part of the city’s active industrial port and over the low-slung Pont de la Concorde bridge, reaching Île Sainte-Hélène, the leafy epicenter of Expo ’67, still anchored by the Biosphere and an amusement park. Darkness settling in, we followed a path to the other side of the island and found a trail leading to the Jacques Cartier Bridge, an 11,000-foot steel truss span that rises 162 feet above the St. Lawrence, similar in size and design to Boston’s Tobin Bridge. However crazy the idea of biking the Tobin might sound, here we found an inviting bike lane — and an exhilarating one, high above the jet-black water — running along one side of the Cartier, protected from traffic. Pedaling back to downtown, I thought about something Coutu had said: Montreal wasn’t always so bike-friendly, it just had an earlier start. I considered Boston, where bicycle counts are rising, and new lanes, albeit unprotected ones, are striped every year. As the city lights came closer, I realized I wasn’t just pedaling toward the most bikeable city on the continent. I was seeing a vision of Boston’s future. http://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/travel/2013/05/18/bike-tour-montreal/Q7r2F3g6TIuwiiITu0ypGL/story.html
  6. Would it not be great is Santiago Calatrava did a design for a new Champlain Bridge in Montreal? It would stand as an Iconic symbol as an entrance into Montreal, What do you guys think? I am gonna try to do up some sketches JC
  7. (Courtesy of The Montreal Gazette) I'll post my comment soon, stuck doing some paper work right now
  8. Bon, je vais m'amuser un peu ici et y placer des vidéos d'archive sur Montréal. Merci surtout à l'ONF et youtube Victoria Bridge, 8th wonder of the world. http://www.nfb.ca/film/victoria_bridge_the_8th_wonder
  9. 3 people dead so far. Happened 3 hours and 15 minutes ago . Second day in a row something like this happens in the US. Happened yesterday in California, not sure how bad that was. I just wonder if they hired people from Quebec. Story
  10. Oooooh, Canada A French entry opened the Montreal international fireworks competition this year. Article Tools Sponsored By By HENRY FOUNTAIN Published: June 27, 2008 LATE last Saturday evening, La Ronde, an amusement park that’s just a stone’s throw from downtown Montreal on an island in the St. Lawrence River, seemed an unlikely venue for a world-class competition. Teenagers with the giggles and other signs of roller-coaster overexposure contemplated yet another ride on the Super Manège or Le Monstre. Younger children, slowed by too much barbe à papa (cotton candy) and poutine (that Québécois concoction of French fries, cheese curds and gravy), were willed along by weary parents. The occasional large Fred Flintstone or Scooby-Doo plush doll appeared among the midway crowd, bounty from booths like Frappez la Taupe (Whack the Mole) and Roulé-Boulé (a form of skeeball). GENERATIONS Some families haven’t missed any of the shows for years. But just a few feet away at La Ronde’s small lake, before a grandstand filled with about 5,000 people, with thousands more waiting in anticipation elsewhere in the park, along the riverbanks and on a nearby highway bridge that had been closed to traffic for the occasion, a tuxedoed master of ceremonies introduced Fabrice Chouillier, a French pyrotechnician, and his team. The 24th International des Feux Loto-Québec, the international fireworks competition that runs for two months every summer in Montreal and draws millions of viewers, was about to begin. Mr. Chouillier, whose company, Prestatech-Artifices, is the first of nine competitors this year, walked through the crowd to a control booth at the top of the grandstand, ready to start his computer-controlled extravaganza, built around the theme of space exploration and synchronized with orchestral passages from “2001: A Space Odyssey” and other works. He’d designed the 30-minute show at his office near Paris, had shipped thousands of shells and other fireworks across the Atlantic, and had been preparing them the last five days at a series of bunkers and platforms in an off-limits section of the park. Across the lake, the lights on the park’s Ferris wheel flickered off. Among the crowd, the hawkers selling beer and blinking devil’s horns grew silent. As the opening strains of “The Blue Danube” waltz filled the air, a series of pyrotechnic strobes went off on the far side of the lake. The Strauss faded out, replaced by the “10...9...8” of an Apollo-era countdown, each number embellished by a comet, a shell that leaves a glittering trail in its wake. At zero, a line of fountains started spewing fire, and a loud rumbling began. It was as if the whole lake was about to lift off. For the public, the competition is a chance to see 10 grand pyromusical displays — including a noncompeting show that closes the festivities — throughout the summer. In a city known for its festivals, the fireworks are exclamation marks that punctuate many Saturday nights, and a few Wednesday nights as well. Officials at La Ronde, which was built for the 1967 World’s Fair and is now owned by Six Flags, estimate that last year more than three million people watched the displays. A jury of 19, chosen from the public, evaluates each performance and at the end awards golden, silver and bronze trophies to the top three. There’s no prize money, but that doesn’t really matter: for Mr. Chouillier and the other pyrotechnicians, just being invited to participate in the competition, generally regarded as the industry’s most prestigious, is an honor. “It’s a sort of consecration in the life of a fireworks artist,” Mr. Chouillier said last Friday as his team, aided by La Ronde’s own crew, loaded aerial shells up to a foot in diameter into firing tubes. Or as Stephen Vitale, president of Pyrotecnico, the American entrant in the event this year, put it, “It’s like the Olympics for us.” It’s also a chance for these companies to design a show just for themselves, rather than carrying out some client’s vision. “What’s great about this competition is you have total freedom,” Mr. Chouillier said. OF the hundreds of thousands of people who see each show, only a fraction are paying customers in the park. Many are like Marcel Gareau, a construction worker who with his family had driven from the suburbs and was installed in a lawn chair on the Montreal side of the St. Lawrence a full five hours before the fireworks began. The Gareaus have hardly missed a show in a dozen years, watching over the trees and listening to the soundtrack on their car radio. They’ve seen the work of some of the best fireworks companies worldwide — from China, Australia, Italy, Portugal and elsewhere — but Mr. Gareau has a clear favorite. “The Americans,” he said. “They make the most noise.” The competitors and the jury like a good racket as much as anyone, but for them the shows are more about conveying emotion through kamuro shells, go-getters, tourbillons, Chinese cakes and other pyrotechnic effects, all intricately synchronized with the music. “You have to have a lot of emotion to think about the soundtrack and the colors and everything,” said Martyne Gagnon, who has directed the competition since 1998 and is herself a licensed pyrotechnician. “It comes from the heart.” VANTAGE POINT Fireworks displays are generally best viewed straight ahead from ground level. The recent French show, above, used a lot of surface effects. Enlarge This Image Yannick Grandmont for The New York Times WAIT UNTIL DARK Part of the pre-fireworks entertainment at La Ronde. Enlarge This Image Yannick Grandmont for The New York Times FAIR PLAY La Ronde, on Île Ste-Hélène, initially part of Expo 67. Ms. Gagnon is in charge of choosing the competitors, and she keeps tabs on possible candidates within the small community of professional fireworks companies. She almost always invites teams from Canada, the United States and Australia, a couple from among Europe’s big three — France, Italy and Spain — and usually another European team or two. She tries for one from Asia, and this year she got two, from South Korea and China. Competitors are given a fixed amount of money for materials, but some pay for extra shells and effects out of their own pockets — which may be one reason the Americans make the most noise. The jurors get a day of training in the science and art of pyrotechnics. Magalie Pilon, a doctoral student in physiology who was among those chosen for the jury from 550 applicants this year, was taking the job seriously. “This is a big party here,” she said as dance music thumped in the grandstands a few hours before the show. “But we have to concentrate because it’s important.” “But if they wanted a professional jury they would have asked for it,” she said. “As a member of the public, I know I’m good.” That confidence comes from having seen almost every display for the last six years. But she used to watch from the bridge, where her family had a special spot each week. As a jury member, she now has a prime seat for every show for herself — and for one guest. “Let’s just say that now I am very popular,” she said. “I could ask for anything. Maybe I’ll ask for somebody to wash my car.” THE grandstands offer certain advantages over the view from the bridge or the riverbanks. Many of the low effects can’t be seen from far off. And the shows are designed to look best from straight on. Mr. Chouillier used plenty of low effects, starting with the fountains that, accompanied by the rumble of a rocket engine, seemed to simulate the launching of a Saturn V. Then it was on to “Also Sprach Zarathustra,” with exploding mines and other effects piercing the sky, choreographed to the piece’s famous kettledrum passages. The “Star Trek” theme followed, with glittering showers of tiny stars looking for all the world like what Captain Kirk disintegrates into when Scotty beams him up. There were brilliant flashes, head-throbbing bangs, huge groups of flares in red and green, chrysanthemums in red, white and yellow and, during passages from “Mars, the Bringer of War” by Gustav Holst, dozens of small green flares that seemed to dance on the water like little green men. More comets crisscrossed the sky in perfect time with the music. And at 30 minutes the whole thing ended in a barrage of pale gold-and-white shells, accompanied by more music from “Star Trek.” As the smoke drifted, the final sounds were heard: the five-tone alien signal from “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” Afterward the verdict among some of the veterans was that the show was probably not a trophy winner — that the choice of theme and music was a bit clichéd, that the effects weren’t startling enough, that the all-white finale, though elegant, lacked a certain drama. But back at a makeshift beer hall where team members and others relaxed and discussed the show, Mr. Chouillier looked happy and relieved. “My big fear was that something would go wrong, and it didn’t,” he said. And judging from the hoots and hollers in the grandstand, the show was a crowd pleaser. “It’s the best we’ve ever seen,” said Mark Jeffries, a Floridian who with his family had come to Montreal to visit his mother. “There’s some fireworks we’ve never seen before.” His 11-year-old daughter, Carlin, had no problem with the finale. “In Florida they shoot off all of them,” she said. “They kind of overwhelm you. This was different. Just nice and white.” VISITOR INFORMATION L’International des Feux Loto-Quebéc continues every Saturday through Aug. 2 and on three Wednesdays — July 23 and 30 and the closing show, on Aug. 6. The countries represented include Australia, Austria, China, Italy, Portugal and South Korea; the United States entry’s show is on July 30. Fireworks begin at 10 p.m. Grandstand tickets, which include all-day park admission, range from 44.90 to 56 Canadian dollars (about the same amount in American dollars) for people over 4-foot-6; it’s less for those under that height. After 5 p.m. tickets are about half price. La Ronde is best reached by public transportation. The Papineau Métro station, on the Orange Line, connects with the 169 bus, which goes to the park’s front gate. Alternatively, the Yellow Line stops in Parc Jean-Drapeau on the other side of the Île Ste-Hélène; it connects with the 167 bus to La Ronde, or a 15-minute walk will get you there (and you’ll pass the geodesic dome designed by Buckminster Fuller for Expo 67; it now houses an environment museum). After the show, walking to the Yellow Line is the best way off the island. Free places to watch the shows include the Jacques Cartier Bridge, which closes to traffic at 8 p.m.; the Old Port of Montreal; and around Boulevard René-Lévesque north of the bridge. http://travel.nytimes.com/2008/06/27/travel/escapes/27fireworks.html?pagewanted=2&hp
  11. WARNING: VERY LARGE PICTURES AHEAD also see my Montréal from 75m up + pano thread. I met a friend of a friend who's a security supervisor in the tallest building in Montréal. He heard about my photography so he agreed on bringing me to the roof of 1000 rue de la Gauchètiere. I was so excited that I did not wait, I called him the next day ( i did not want him to forget about it) and showed up. It wasn't a sunny day and i only had a super wide zoom ( i regretted that later because a zoom is much need up there ). It was not easy to take the pictures because its not easy to access the roof all around. So not all the angles are covered... sigh... I couldn't get the northern side where we see the center of the CBD and the mountain. Did i tell you how excited I was? Once back down on earth i realized i had shoot everything in the medium format... i wanted RAW I also decided to include very high res pictures in this thread so you guys can see all the details. The good news is that I will be back there with super zoom on a sunny day to get more more more Anyhow, here goes: it starts here: A view to the west and 1250 René-Lévesque: At the bottom, the Bell Center, and coming right into the heart of the city the Ville Marie 720 highway. Don't look down (no barrier whatsoever): A northwestern view, with the Mountain, the St-Joseph Oratory and for the first time some stuff from the other side of the mountain. Condos condos condos... and St-Henri in the background: The St-Lawrence river in the background with nun's island condos: west cluster: Looks like simcity :koko: Top: Champlain bridge, busiest bridge in Canada I think. Middle: heart of industrial Canada in the 19th century with the Lachine Canal. Bottom: Old industrial buildings being converted into... condos With the Engineering school on the right. Mini pano with the Victoria bridge and the St-Lawrence seaway. Mini pano with the Casino (white and gold buildings) and Habitat 67: Mini pano with St-Helene island, the southshore and the Tour de la Bourse in the foreground. Mini pano with the Jacques-Cartier bridge (with LaRonde amusement park), the old port in the foreground and very further the "new" port, the Longueuil talls are in the middle on the other side of the bridge. Mini pano with the River going as far as the eye can see and the eastern part of Montréal: La tour de la Bourse with parts of Old Montréal: The international quarter, notice the roof-park on the very bottom of the picture: Mini pano, blurry because the camera was held at arms' lenght, we see part of the mountain, place ville marie ... that would be the best angle in my opinion if there was some kind of access... but there's none giving to that part of the city: A last closeup of Old Montréal: Finally the two giant panos. The view to the west: To the east:
  12. http://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/josh-freed-the-winds-of-change-are-blowing-and-they-just-might-transform-montreal The winds of change are blowing and they just might transform Montreal -WE NEED MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS DAMMIT!
  13. Je ne sais pas si c'était dejas proposer, mais je pense que un très bonne idée, c'est de ajouter des lumière tout sur la périphérie de le point jacque-cartier, et utilize les turbine de l'eau pour l'electrification. Que penser vous? Genial? Je pense que ils sont fait ca avec le Bay Bridge de SF, si je me trompe pas.
  14. How Switzerland camouflaged its ready-to-explode architecture during the Cold War I finally had a chance to read John McPhee's book La Place de la Concorde Suisse, his somewhat off-puttingly titled 1984 look at the Swiss military and its elaborately engineered landscape defenses. To make a long story short, McPhee describes two things: how Switzerland requires military service from every able-bodied male Swiss citizen — a model later emulated and expanded by Israel — and how the Swiss military has, in effect, wired the entire country to blow in the event of foreign invasion. To keep enemy armies out, bridges will be dynamited and, whenever possible, deliberately collapsed onto other roads and bridges below; hills have been weaponized to be activated as valley-sweeping artificial landslides; mountain tunnels will be sealed from within to act as nuclear-proof air raid shelters; and much more. First, a quick look at the system of self-demolition that is literally built into the Swiss national infrastructure: To interrupt the utility of bridges, tunnels, highways, railroads, Switzerland has established three thousand points of demolition. That is the number officially printed. It has been suggested to me that to approximate a true figure a reader ought to multiply by two. Where a highway bridge crosses a railroad, a segment of the bridge is programmed to drop on the railroad. Primacord fuses are built into the bridge. Hidden artillery is in place on either side, set to prevent the enemy from clearing or repairing the damage. Further: Near the German border of Switzerland, every railroad and highway tunnel has been prepared to pinch shut explosively. Nearby mountains have been made so porous that whole divisions can fit inside them. There are weapons and soldiers under barns. There are cannons inside pretty houses. Where Swiss highways happen to run on narrow ground between the edges of lakes and to the bottoms of cliffs, man-made rockslides are ready to slide. The impending self-demolition of the country is "routinely practiced," McPhee writes. "Often, in such assignments, the civilian engineer who created the bridge will, in his capacity as a military officer, be given the task of planning its destruction." But this is where a weirdly fascinating, George Dante-esque artifice begins. After all, McPhee writes, why would Switzerland want anyone to know where the dynamite is wired, where the cannons are hidden, which bridges will blow, or where to find the Army's top secret mountain hideaways and resupply shelters? But if you look closely, you start to see things. Through locked gates you see corridors in the sides of mountains-going on and on into the rock, with alight in the ceiling every five meters and far too many to count... Riding around Switzerland with these matters in mind-seeing little driveways that blank out in mountain walls, cavern entrances like dark spots under mountainside railroads and winding corniches, portals in various forms of lithic disguise-you can find it difficult not to imagine that almost anything is a military deception, masking a hidden installation. Full size Indeed, at one point McPhee jokes that his local guide in Switzerland "tends to treat the army itself as if it were a military secret." McPhee points to small moments of "fake stonework, concealing the artillery behind it," that dot Switzerland's Alpine geology, little doors that will pop open to reveal internal cannons and blast the country's roads to smithereens. Later, passing under a mountain bridge, McPhee notices "small steel doors in one pier" hinting that the bridge "was ready to blow. It had been superceded, however, by an even higher bridge, which leaped through the sky above-a part of the new road to Simplon. In an extreme emergency, the midspan of the new bridge would no doubt drop on the old one." It's a strange kind of national infrastructure, one that is at its most rigorously functional — one that truly fulfills its promises-when in a state of cascading self-imposed collapse. I could easily over-quote my way to the end of my internet service here, but it's a story worth reading. There are, for instance, hidden bomb shelters everywhere in an extraordinary application of dual-use construction. "All over Switzerland," according to McPhee, "in relatively spacious and quiet towns, are sophisticated underground parking garages with automatic machines that offer tickets like tongues and imply a level of commerce that is somewhere else. In a nuclear emergency, huge doors would slide closed with the town's population inside." Full size Describing titanic underground fortresses — "networks of tunnels, caverns, bunkers, and surface installations, each spread through many tens of square miles" — McPhee briefly relates the story of a military reconnaissance mission on which he was able to tag along, involving a hydroelectric power station built inside a mountain, accessible by ladders and stairs; the battalion tasked with climbing down into it thus learns "that if a company of soldiers had to do it they could climb the mountain on the inside." In any case, the book's vision of the Alps as a massively constructed — or, at least, geotechnically augmented and militarily amplified — terrain is quite heady, including the very idea that, in seeking to protect itself from outside invaders, Switzerland is prepared to dynamite, shell, bulldoze, and seal itself into a kind of self-protective oblivion, hiding out in artificially expanded rocky passes and concrete super-basements as all roads and bridges into and out of the country are instantly transformed into landslides and dust. http://gizmodo.com/5919581/how-switzerland-camouflaged-its-ready+to+explode-architecture-during-the-cold-war?tag=design
  15. La route 116 coupe la ville de Longueuil en deux. Le Vieux-Longueuil et St-Hubert sont éffectivement séparés par cette route provinciale construite aux standards autoroutiers. La ville de Longueuil avait prévu dans le passé possiblement prolonger la rue Ste-Hélène. J'ai pris cette idée et j'ai incorporé un passage pré-existant que j'ai adapté pour le prolongement de cette route. Le but? Créer un lien entre Longueuil et St-Hubert tout en ouvrant des terrains vacants pour la possibilité d'y avoir du dévelopement. (Oui je sais qu'actuellement Longueuil se sert de ce vaste terrain pour un dépot de neige... ce n'est qu'une vision!) The biggest constraint with coming up with this plan was the unfortunate location of the railroad tracks. In order to permit for a bridge over the tracks, the road has to take a somewhat abrupt 90 degree turn. This is my first experiment in infrastructure planning. (I've done architecture and 3D renderings solely to date). Qu'est ce que vous en pensez? Le 2eme graphique, celui qui montre l'ensemble de la surface, je l'ai fait rapidement, ignorez la faible qualité Commentaires? Est-ce que c'est réaliste? Est-ce que ca serait une bonne chose? I think improving street connectivity between these two boroughs of Longueuil is important. I suppose there are other ways of accomplishing the connection, such as a larger bridge overpass, but i gave myself the objective of trying to use existing infrastructure. Vue d'ensemble Initial Proposed Close-up Merci!
  16. Urban design: we are falling behind Montreal seems to be lacking ambition when it comes to architectural statements By Luca L. Barone June 26, 2012 Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Urban+design+falling+behind/6838583/story.html#ixzz22o4Z0new In 2009, New York City converted an old elevated railroad on the west side of Manhattan into a park of ingenious design. The High Line is a triumph of civic engagement and urban planning. The park’s brilliant designers, the architectural firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, recently unveiled exciting plans for the High Line’s final section. Why is my own city, so rich in history and creativity, lacking similarly enchanting public spaces, and treading water when it ought to be steaming forward? A city as difficult to govern as New York has accomplished this extraordinary feat, while Montreal seems stuck with meagre ambitions and unimaginative leadership – not to mention the blight of festering corruption. Parsimonious rather than provident, we end up with oppressive mediocrity in our built environment. Too much of that environment is neither inspiring nor graceful. To quote Samuel Butler: O God, O Montreal! This is not a question of green space; Montreal is full of parks. The High Line embodies an innovative approach to the adaptive reuse of urban structures that integrates environmental and economic sustainability, historic preservation, and creativity in design. It is an approach to urban planning that is not yet evident in our city. Montreal exhibits some of the best and worst aspects of Europe and North America. Neither genuinely French, nor British, nor American, our city is a fascinating hybrid with an eclectic beauty made up of unusual juxtapositions drawn from both the Old and New Worlds. Yet we inhabit a purgatory somewhere between Houston and Paris, afflicted by car-fuelled urban sprawl along with imported European architectural inhumanities like the brutalism of Place Bonaventure. We need to regain our lost cosmopolitan ambition, that sense of limitless opportunity combined with cultural sophistication that makes things happen that has not been seen in Montreal since the glory days of Expo 67, the opening of our pioneering métro, and the 1976 Summer Olympics. The High Line’s greatest lesson for us should be how profoundly constructive the convergence of proactive civic participation, business and excellent design can be. By adopting the Plan métropolitain d’aménagement et de développement, a comprehensive urban planning scheme that emphasizes transit-oriented development, the Montreal Metropolitan Community has taken a step in the right direction. It has wisely heeded Harvard economist Edward Glaeser’s advice to increase population density around transit hubs. But builders and architects need the liberty to be bold. Development in Montreal is in a negative recursive loop: a byzantine bureaucracy imposes its banal tastes on those taking the financial risk on real-estate ventures, while many developers lack the aesthetic judgment or the civic pride to take on the challenge of building something of lasting architectural value. New York’s Standard Hotel was built suspended over the High Line on massive piers – an unconventional ensemble that has created a remarkably attractive, unique sense of place. Had such an idea been proposed for Montreal, would it ever have seen the light of day? That kind of audacity would probably have been ignored by developers indifferent to innovative design, or buried under the weight of municipal red tape. Encouraging local talent and participating in international cultural life are both important. Montreal fails on both counts. Little of note has been built in Montreal for decades, with the exception of Kohn Pedersen Fox’s IBM building at 1250 René Lévesque Blvd. – and that was in 1992. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Westmount Square, I.M. Pei’s Place Ville Marie, Pier Luigi Nervi’s Tour de la Bourse – these are all buildings from the past that garnered the city positive attention and allowed Montreal to participate in a broader international cultural life. Peter Zumthor, Steven Holl, SHoP Architects, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Renzo Piano – none of these leading contemporary architects are now on their way to Montreal. Montreal may never be New York or Paris, or build projects on the same scale as these global centres, but it was once closer to being a world city than it is today. Size is not the issue; another sinkhole of public funds like the Olympic Stadium would do us no good. We need civic competence, wise economic policy, and architectural excellence. Surely all are within our reach. One upcoming project stands out as a chance for Montreal to redeem itself. The rebuilding of the Champlain Bridge is an epochal opportunity to create an impressive monument for today’s Montreal. People marvelled at the Victoria Bridge when it was completed in 1859. In the early 21st century, we can again dazzle the world, with an elegant new Champlain Bridge built to exacting international standards. Mayor Gérald Tremblay has already said the federal government should devote one per cent of the project’s total budget to finding an innovative design for the bridge, just as the provincial government has set aside one per cent of the Turcot Interchange’s reconstruction budget to generating new ideas. Ottawa should hold an international competition judged by a jury of global experts to choose an outstanding design for the new Champlain Bridge. All Montrealers should support this initiative to ensure that we end up with a work of public infrastructure that is worthy of our city. Let’s do great things together again. Luca L. Barone of St. Léonard is a McGill University law student and a developer. He studied at New York’s Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies. CORRECTION: An Opinion column in Tuesday’s Gazette, headlined “Urban design: we are falling behind,” which made mention of New York City’s High Line park, failed to mention one of the two firms that were partners in the design of that park. The designers were landscape-architecture firm James Corner Field Operations and architectural firm Diller, Scofidio + Renfro. © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Urban+design+falling+behind/6838583/story.html#ixzz22o4dmlEb
  17. Twin Cities bridge debuts 30-foot tall pollution-sucking sculptures de Autoblog de Jeremy Korzeniewski Filed under: Etc., Green Two statues have debuted on Minnesota's new Interstate 35W Bridge that are shaped to look like the international cartographic symbol for water. Why? Besides mimicking the look of the Mississippi River as it passes through Minneapolis, the new sculptures are made from a type of concrete that is photocatalytic, meaning they will be able to convert gases like carbon monoxide, nitrous oxides and sulfur dioxide to higher oxidized states, making them less damaging to the environment. Another benefit of the new concrete mixture is that it never looks old as it maintains a white oxidized color on its outer skin. The opening of the new I-35W St. Anthony Falls Bridge also has a deeper meaning, since it replaces the one that tragically collapsed about a year ago from a structural failure. The new one was erected so fast because the original was used by over 140,000 cars per day. Despite how quickly it was built, the new bridge has a 100-year life span, supports ten lanes of traffic thanks to an extra 76 feet of width, and has shoulders on both sides where the old one didn't - not to mention it cleans the air with art. Thanks for the tip, Terry! http://www.autoblog.com/2008/10/07/twin-cities-bridge-debuts-30-foot-tall-pollution-sucking-sculptu/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+weblogsinc/autoblog+(Autoblog)
  18. Ce sujet à été démarrer seulement pour les crisses d'épais qui pollue trop souvent ce forum et qui pense qu'il y a juste à Montréal que des choses comme ça arrive. Il n'y a pas juste ici qu'ils trouvent des défauts dans des constructions. Source: CNN Construction crews working on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in California discovered a crack that could keep the heavily traveled bridge closed beyond the planned Labor Day weekend shutdown. During inspection of the east span of the bridge, workers found a crack in one of the eyebars on the side of the structure, said Bart Ney, spokesman for the California Department of Transportation. "It's a significant crack -- significant enough to have closed the bridge on its own," he said in a news conference aired on the agency's Web site Saturday night. Ney said the crack has to be repaired immediately and acknowledged that the work may stretch past Tuesday when the bridge was scheduled to reopen. "I want to assure everyone that this repair will be made and we will return the Bay Bridge safer than when we took it out," he said.
  19. University draws inspiration from Chinese cultural heritage Following the concept of “Unity & Modernity”, the University Town Library and Administrative Centre in Shenzhen is the result of a winning design in an international limited competition. The facility was to become a "gateway icon" for the new campus shared by three graduate schools of renowned universities in China. The challenge involved putting three different banks of data under one roof as well as developing a unique approach to library design and knowledge sharing. The project was completed early 2007 and is open to the community, acting both as a public and academic library. Its mission aims to serve the local students, faculty members, corporate researchers and Shenzhen residents. With its long undulating form, the University Town Library meets all requirements needed for the administration centre, culturally symbolic of a "dragon's head", with the library tailing off as its body and the bridge undulating like a "rising dragon". Both library and administrative centre have a double function as pedestrian link and "intellectual bridge" between campuses, the whole set in a green valley-like landscape. Responding to the design brief became an exercise that went beyond the regular scope of programme response. The successful design of such a facility, acknowledged by three awards, reflects a new and innovative way to approach the storage, archiving and transfer of knowledge. RMJM believes the design process grew from the wealth of cultures shared by the talented multicultural and international professionals, their exposure to different cultures yet also the understanding of local demands. http://www.worldarchitecturenews.com/index.php?fuseaction=wanappln.projectview&upload_id=11226
  20. La Gazette se permet un méga liste d'infrastructure en réparation et à venir. Je copie l'article ici, mais je vous averti, elle est longue cette liste. Source: http://www.canada.com/components/print.aspx?id=1250a439-510a-4947-8b97-ee3995f04682 What construction holiday? After years of infrastructure neglect, a quiet revolution is under way to overhaul Quebec's roads and bridges DAVID JOHNSTON The Gazette Saturday, August 02, 2008 This summer's construction holiday has turned out to be a holiday in name only. Sort of like the summer of 2008 so far. One image dominates. It is of the eastbound Highway 20, at the Turcot interchange. Orange pylons are configured into one giant funnel, forcing motorists into a single lane up through the interchange to the Ville Marie Expressway downtown. Why one lane? Because construction work is going on. During the construction break. The 41-year-old Turcot, slated for demolition over six years beginning next July, has been getting some geriatric care. The ensuing traffic bottlenecks have been stretching back the full length of the Turcot yards. Cue in frequent bursts of intense rain, and you get a picture of the summer of 2008. But it isn't just Montreal. It's the same in all of Quebec, as far as the supposed construction holiday is concerned. Normally, the drills and the jackhammers are silent during the last two weeks of July, and traffic flows freely. But not this year. Because after years of infrastructure neglect, a not-so-quiet revolution is under way, thanks to the Charest government and the federal infrastructure-support program conceived by the former federal Liberal government. An unprecedented $2.7 billion in provincial money and $3.2 billion overall is being spent on road and bridge infrastructure renewal in 1,800 locations throughout Quebec this year. "This is a record year for Quebec," said Nicole Ste-Marie of the Quebec Transport Department. But this is only the beginning of something much bigger. A three-year overhaul of the Mercier Bridge began in May. A six-year reconstruction of the entire Turcot interchange is to begin July next year. This fall, the first actual work on the proposed new Dorval interchange is expected to begin. And then there's the proposed new downtown-airport shuttle waiting in the planning wings. And that's just the western suburbs of Montreal. The Mohawks of Kahnawake saw all this coming. Five Mohawk firms are currently doing repair work on the Mercier. The local band council looked at the Mercier and Turcot projects and put two and two together and came to the realization that commuter traffic is going to be very difficult between the south side of the Mercier and downtown Montreal over the next six years. As a result, the band council has been lobbying for a commuter-rail station for Kahnawake on the Delson-Candiac line. "We're afraid a lot of our kids going into CEGEP and university in Montreal are going to look at the traffic and say, 'Well, forget about it,' " said Joe Delaronde, a band-council official. Dorval Mayor Edgar Rouleau said he has received assurances that measures will be taken to minimize disruption for motorists when the Dorval project gets under way. But he said Montreal has no choice but to move ahead with improving the state of the rail and road infrastructure serving the airport. Things aren't just bad; they're embarrassingly bad, he says. "Can you imagine? You come from Europe. You're finally out of the airport. You're in this taxi or bus, and you're stopped in traffic under the railway bridge (beside Dorval Circle) and you look up and you see screens to catch any concrete that might fall down on you." The September 2005 collapse of the de la Concorde Blvd. overpass in Laval, which killed five people, showed that the consequences of infrastructure neglect can be deadly. Since the Concorde incident, the provincial government has done a thorough review of Quebec's infrastructure and established new priorities for repairs and new undertakings. The Gazette today publishes a map describing 10 of the most important projects in and around the Montreal region, either under way or on the near time horizon. - - - 1. TURCOT INTERCHANGE Background: In June 2007, the provincial government announced a plan to tear down the elevated interchange and replace it over six years, beginning next summer, at a cost of $1.5 billion. Most of the new Turcot network will be built at surface level, although there will be a few elevated ramps - notably linking the new Highway 20 with the higher ground of the Décarie and Ville Marie Expressways. Highway 20 through the Turcot yards will be rebuilt more to the north, closer to the Falaise St. Jacques escarpment. That, in turn, will make the Turcot yards contiguous with adjoining industrial properties along the Lachine Canal, and make it more attractive for redevelopment. What's new: Various interchange ramps have been undergoing reinforcement work this summer, creating traffic bottlenecks. Provincial environmental hearings are likely to begin in the fall. The government has begun negotiations to buy land required to carry out the interchange modernization. Work is to begin next July. About 180 housing units are to be demolished. Tenants who are dislodged will receive at least three months' rent as compensation. 2. NOTRE DAME ST. E. Background: In development limbo since the late 1960s, a nine-kilometre stretch of Notre Dame St. E. was finally given the green light for modernization last November. A new "urban boulevard" was approved over the other option, a sunken Décarie Expressway-like highway. Quebec will pay $625 million of the $750-million cost, the city of Montreal $125 million. What's new: Public hearings were held last winter to work out operational details. As a result, changes were announced in May. Among other things, traffic-light synchronization will be altered to let traffic move with fewer red-light stops; one lane will be reserved for carpoolers; the entire nine-kilometre stretch will be subject to photo radar. Construction is to begin in October. 3. HIGHWAY 25 Background: Construction of a toll bridge between the Rivière des Prairies district of Montreal and the Duvernay district of Laval will link Highway 40 in Montreal to Highway 440 in Laval. In June 2007, the Quebec government announced a consortium headed by an engineering subsidiary of Macquarie Bank Ltd. of Australia had won the bidding to build and operate the $400-million bridge as a public-private partnership. The span is slated to open in 2011. Government regulations have set a $2.40 cap in 2011 dollars for a one-way trip over the bridge for an ordinary car, over the 35-year term of the PPP deal. What's new: Dynamite work took place in the spring on the Laval side of the proposed bridge. In June, environmental groups lost a court bid to shut down the project. On July 15, dynamiting took place on the Montreal side. In recent weeks, a lot of bridge materials have been delivered to the job site. 4. DORVAL Background: There are two projects on the horizon for Dorval. One is the proposed airport shuttle between downtown Montreal and Pierre Elliott Trudeau airport. The other is the Dorval Circle modernization. Both have been on the drawing board for more than a decade. What's new: The airport-shuttle project is stalled. Different levels of government are still trying to work out a financing agreement. All parties, however, agree that the shuttle is desirable and should have its own dedicated rail lines. So the plan is to eventually add two new rail lines north of Highway 20, parallel to existing CP and CN lines. But there is still no consensus on whether to use Central Station or Lucien L'Allier Station as the downtown terminal. Cost estimates vary from $600 million to $800 million. As for the Dorval Circle project, the provincial government passed a decree in December setting aside $210 million for the new interchange, to be known as Carrefour Dorval. The overhaul will see Trudeau airport connected to Highway 20 via a new link that will be reserved for airport traffic. The new link will pass in front of the Hilton Hotel and run through where the Budget Rent-a-Car property is now situated. It will rise over the rail lines situated between Budget and Highway 20 and connect to the highway near the Novartis building. Budget is to relocate to a new site under the plan. Highways 20 and 520 (Côte de Liesse Rd.) will also get new interchange connections. As for Dorval Circle itself, it will end up serving only local traffic. Highway 20 traffic between Pointe Claire and Lachine will continue to run over the circle in overpass fashion. Engineers are putting final touches to the Carrefour Dorval project and an official announcement is likely for the fall. Work could also begin this fall, sources say. 5. HIGHWAY 15 Background: Work began in April to completely rebuild the northbound Laurentian Autoroute lanes between Mirabel and St. Jérôme. The new surface will be done in concrete. The southbound lanes between the two towns were redone last summer. What's new: Work is proceeding on schedule and is expected to end Nov. 21. 6. HIGHWAY 13 Background: Work began in April to completely rebuild the southbound lanes of Highway 13 on Montreal Island between Highway 40 and the Mille Îles River. Work is also being done on the Louis Bisson Bridge that spans the river. Work on the northbound lanes between the 40 and the river was done last summer. What's new: Work is proceeding as planned. It is scheduled to end Sept. 30. 7. MERCIER BRIDGE Background: On June 16, the federal and provincial governments announced a plan to renovate the Mercier Bridge through November 2011. Work began in April. Federal officials said the Mercier modernization represents the largest bridge-repair project in Canadian history. Work is to be carried out in two phases, with a consortium of Mohawk firms doing $66 million of work in the first phase. Bidding will open next year for the second phase. What's new: In recent weeks, Mohawk ironworkers have been concentrating on the reinforcement of existing gusset plates under the bridge deck. They have also been installing new gusset plates. These plates support the joints where horizontal, vertical and diagonal beams meet. Later, ironworkers will bring in hydraulic jacks and start replacing individual rusted beams where necessary. About half of all the main diagonal support beams are to be replaced on the upstream bridge, which carries southbound traffic. This bridge opened in 1934. The downstream bridge, which carries northbound traffic, opened in 1963; no reinforcement work is required on it. Similarly, only the upstream span will be getting a new deck. All ramps linking the South Shore to both the 1934 and 1963 bridges are to be reinforced and given new decks. 8. HIGHWAY 35 Background: Progress has been slow with the longstanding plan to extend Highway 35 from St. Jean sur Richelieu to the Vermont border. Converting the 39-kilometre stretch of secondary Highway 133 south of St. Jean into a primary autoroute would finally give Montreal an expressway link to Interstate 89. What's new: Last August, the Quebec government passed a decree allowing for the agricultural dezoning required to carry out the project. The federal government has promised $57 million in infrastructure money for the $300-million project. A federal environmental assessment is being done. If, as expected, the process results in the feds giving the project a green light, preliminary land-preparation work could begin in October. 9. GALIPEAULT BRIDGE Background: Work began in May to rebuild the deck of the eastbound lanes and add a third lane to accommodate growing volumes of off-island commuter traffic. The Galipeault, like the Mercier Bridge, consists of two separate spans, side by side. The southern of the two, built in 1924, handles eastbound traffic between Île Perrot and Ste. Anne de Bellevue. The northern bridge, built in 1964, handles westbound traffic. While work on the southern bridge takes place, eastbound traffic is being diverted onto the northern span. What's new: Work is proceeding smoothly. 10. HIGHWAY 30 Background: After many delays, a plan to complete construction of the South Shore ring road was announced in the fall of 2006. There are two unfinished stretches to complete: a section through dezoned farm land between Candiac and Ste. Catherine, and a section between Châteauguay and the town of Vaudrueuil-Dorion. What's new: Work on the 13-kilometre Candiac-Ste. Catherine link began in early June after a political agreement was reached between the provincial government and the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake over how to proceed with settling a land-claim issue. As for the section west of Châteauguay, the government in late June announced that a Spanish-led consortium had won the bidding to build it as a part of a public-private partnership. A Canadian arm of the Spanish engineering firm Acciona won the competition. The 42-kilometre western link will see toll bridges built over the Beauharnois Canal and St. Lawrence River. Final details on the financing and construction are to be announced in September. The completed Highway 30 is expected to open in 2012. [email protected]