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Found 7 results

  1. Sharing the streets JULIA KILPATRICK, The Gazette Published: 6 hours ago Skateboard users risk fines as well as injury when they travel on public arteries like sidewalks or bike paths. But while aficionados complain about the regulations, police say their goal is safety Turning his back to the traffic screaming past a small skateboard park east of the Gay Village, Kyle Naylor pulled his board out of his backpack. The skateboard was split in two jagged pieces. A car had run over it earlier, when Naylor was skating to the park for an afternoon session with friends. "My friends all put in some cash so I could buy a new board," Naylor, 18, said. Email to a friendEmail to a friendPrinter friendlyPrinter friendly Font: "We didn't want to miss out on our skate day." Skateboard commuters like Naylor risk more than a broken board when they choose to ride on the street. Bylaws prohibit skateboarding on Montreal's roads and sidewalks. Fines for ignoring the rules range from $30 to $300. Commander Daniel Touchette, of the Montreal police traffic division, says the fines are justified because skateboarders are not equipped to share the roads with other vehicles. "The regulations exist for the safety of skateboarders," he said. "If they are on the street and they fall, there's no saying where they might go." Naylor's broken board appears to support that argument, but the statistics don't. Montreal police issued 116 tickets for offences related to skateboarding or inline skating in the street in 2006, Touchette said. Police records don't specify when a motor vehicle accident involves a skateboarder, yet Touchette said that, to his knowledge, there have been no serious or fatal accidents involving skateboarders in the past year. Last year, the city added 25 kilometres of bicycle lanes on the island in an effort to curb greenhouse gas emissions and encourage the use of alternative transportation. But while those lanes are open to cyclists and inline skaters, they are closed to skateboarders, leaving many frustrated by the city's refusal to see skateboarding as a legitimate means of transportation. "It's ecological, and you can take public transit with it, which you can't with your bike," said Alex Jarry, 31, manager of the Underworld skateboard shop on Ste. Catherine St. E., near Sanguinet St. He travels to and from work daily on his skateboard, and says concerns about the safety of boarding in the street are overblown. "People who skate in the street, they control their board," he said. "If you don't feel confident to ride in the traffic, you don't do it." Naylor said he would rather try his luck in the street than compete for space on the sidewalk, as some less experienced skateboarders do. The issue made national headlines recently after Fredericton resident Lee Breen, 25, spent a night in jail for refusing to pay a $100 fine for skateboarding on city roads. Naylor and his friends Alex Potter, 19, and Ryan Baird, 18, ride their boards everywhere - and pay the price. All three have been fined for skateboarding on public property, including streets, sidewalks and parks. "Everybody I know, they've got fined for skateboarding," Jarry said. "It's legal to sell skateboards and illegal to practise it." That's not the case, Touchette said: "It's not illegal. You have parks and other places where you can use them for sport." Skateboarders can hone their skills legally at more than 30 outdoor parks across the city. But commuters who would rather skateboard than drive a car do so at their own risk - physically and financially. "For transportation, you cannot use a skateboard to move from place to place in the streets of Montreal," Touchette said. [email protected] http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/story.html?id=7d7951ab-8d48-4b4c-bafa-3fa2843eac88
  2. Montreal shopkeepers told to put brooms away Graeme Hamilton, National Post Published: Saturday, July 19, 2008 A labour arbitrator has ruled that sweeping sidewalks in Montreal is the exclusive domain of the city's blue-collar unionized employees. The arbitrator found a bylaw on keeping Montreal tidy violates the city's collective agreement.Dave Sidaway, Canwest News Service File PhotoA labour arbitrator has ruled that sweeping sidewalks in Montreal is the exclusive domain of the city's blue-collar unionized employees. The arbitrator found a bylaw on keeping Montreal tidy violates ... MONTREAL - A bylaw adopted last year obliging shopkeepers and apartment owners in downtown Montreal to sweep in front of their properties has spruced up the city. Fewer cigarette butts and fast-food wrappers litter the sidewalks, and garbage bags are no longer left out for days before the trucks pass. But acting on a complaint from the union representing Montreal's blue-collar employees, a labour arbitrator has ruled that the bylaw violates the city's collective agreement with its workers. Sidewalkcleaning is the exclusive domain of the blue-collars, arbitrator Andre Rousseau concluded, and the city has no business enlisting "volunteers" to do the work. The decision effectively means that city sidewalks and streets are a closed union shop, so anyone taking a broom in hand had better watch out. The blue-collars are notoriously jealous of their turf. In 2003, workers waged a campaign of intimidation against private contractors who had been hired by the city for such jobs as cutting grass and repairing sidewalks. Jean-Yves Hinse, Montreal's director of professional relations, said the city will appeal the ruling to Quebec Superior Court. "If it is interpreted broadly, not a minute goes by that we are not breaking the collective agreement," Mr. Hinse said. "Someone is picking up some paper, someone is sweeping his balcony." Mr. Hinse also worried that the ruling undermines efforts to foster a sense of civic responsibility in Montrealers. "We don't want Montreal to become a dump," he said. "Everyone has their responsibilities. We want citizens to have the responsibility of keeping their surroundings clean and safe. It's an appeal to their civic virtues." The cleanliness bylaw was introduced in 2007 after city officials despaired that Montreal was becoming overrun with garbage. Fines range from $125 to $2,000 for individuals, depending on the seriousness of the offence. Companies can be fined up to $4,000. Benoit Labonte, Mayor of the downtown borough of Ville-Marie, boasted last month that 2,700 tickets had been issued in the first year of the bylaw's application, with fines totalling more than $1-million. "I congratulate all citizens, because during the past year we have seen a clear improvement in the cleanliness of the borough," he said. But the bylaw had been in force less than a month when Michel Parent, president of the blue-collar union, filed a grievance complaining the city was assigning blue-collar work to "volunteers or non-profit groups," which is not permitted under the collective agreement. The city countered that it was simply imposing duties on property owners, who are not volunteers in the sense of the collective agreement. Mr. Rousseau concluded that sweeping the streets and sidewalks customarily falls under the blue-collars' jurisdiction. The bylaw, he said, "patently aims to give citizens responsibilities similar to those that are usually given to blue-collar employees." He ordered the city to ensure cleaning of sidewalks, roads and laneways was done by its employees. Mr. Parent said the city should hire more workers if it wants a tidy city. "If this is work that was done by blue-collar employees, it should continue to be done by blue-collar employees," he told Radio-Canada. "We are fighting to save those jobs." Peter Sergakis, an outspoken property owner who was initially critical of the bylaw, acknowledged that the city is now cleaner. "The blue-collar workers wouldn't bend to pick up a cigarette butt. They're spoiled," he said. "I don't have much faith that they're going to clean the sidewalk. I think we're going to go back to the dirt." The case is unlikely to help the union's image problem. Union members were suspected of vandalizing private contractors' equipment during a labour dispute and dumping pig manure in the apartment building of an elected city official. In the winter of 2006, as potholes cratered Montreal streets, an internal city investigation secretly followed three work crews. The 10 workers enjoyed marathon lunch breaks but only managed to fill nine potholes over three days. [email protected]
  3. http://www.montrealgazette.com/health/Montrealers+need+heated+sidewalks/4387020/story.html
  4. Un article intéressant de la Gazette (que je trouve d'ailleurs riche en contenue local, architectural et urbanistique). L'urbaniste et architecte danois Jan Gelh y va de quelques propositions intéressantes (qui feront plus plaisir à Étienne qu'à Malek, je soupçonne... ), que je partage tout à fait. Je les ai mises en gras. Green Life Column: Put cyclists in the driver's seat A city that does everything it can to invite people to walk or bicycle is vibrant, healthy and more sustainable - and yes, we can do that here By Michelle Lalonde, The Gazette The key to making Montreal a more economically vibrant, healthy, safe and attractive city is for city planners and politicians to focus on making it "irresistible" for people to get out of their cars and onto bicycles, public transit and their own two feet. That is the view of Jan Gehl, a world-renowned Danish architect and urban design consultant, who spoke recently to a packed lecture hall at McGill University about the importance of designing people-oriented, rather than car-oriented, cities. "In a people-oriented city, we do everything we can to invite people to walk or bicycle as much as possible in the course of their daily doings," said Gehl, with careful emphasis on the word "invite." Gehl comes from Copenhagen, a city where only 30 per cent of residents drive to work or school and 37 per cent cycle, 28 per cent take public transit, five per cent walk. The life work of Gehl has been to research and document the incremental changes that have brought about Copenhagen's transformation from a car-oriented city in the 1960s to one of the most bike-able cities in the world today. He has been hired by dozens of cities around the world, including Melbourne, Australia, and most recently, New York, to advise them on how to do what Copenhagen did (but faster). City planners panicked back in the 1950s and '60s, Gehl says, when cars started to invade city streets. Traffic departments set about figuring out how to make cars move smoothly through cities and park easily, but forgot about all the other ways people might want to use public space. "For 50 years, the purpose of the city has been to make the cars happy, when they are moving and when they are parked. We have done our planning as if there are no other important issues in the city," he said. Back in 1966, around the time Amsterdam started introducing pedestrian streets, Gehl decided what was needed was meticulous study of how people use urban spaces. His research showed that measures to make people safer and happier on their feet or on two wheels improved the economy and the vibrancy of city life. For example, he was able to show that four times as many people come to Copenhagen's downtown now than 20 years ago, and that removing one parking space resulted in two well-used café seats, a measure of the vibrancy of the downtown core. So how did Copenhagen do it? Yes, there were measures to discourage driving, such as a gradual reduction in parking spaces, about three per cent per year. But the main tactic, Gehl said, was just making the city a very pleasant place to be on foot or bicycle. Main streets were closed to car traffic. Sidewalk cafés sprouted everywhere. Multi-lane streets were reduced in width so that sidewalks could be widened, medians added and trees planted. A seamless network of bike paths was established, separated from the parked cars and sidewalks by curbs. Special lights were installed at intersections, giving priority to pedestrians and cyclists. Bike routes were painted a brilliant blue at intersections to remind motorists to expect cyclists. And the cyclists came, in droves. (To get an idea of what Copenhagen's streets are like now, check out a promotional music video made for the city of Copenhagen's bicycle department at http://vimeo.com/4208874.) But surely none of this could possibly work in Montreal, naysayers will argue. What about Montreal's winters? And what about our love for driving fast and ignoring the rules of the road? "I've never worked in a city where somebody didn't take me aside to say, 'Jan, this is all very nice, but here we have a specific culture, because of the climate (or whatever else) we have a car culture,' " Gehl said. But even in cities like Melbourne, which Gehl noted was exactly like most North American cities just a few years ago, big changes have been possible. With wider sidewalks, better street furniture and lighting, more shade trees, etc., that city was able to bump its downtown residential population from 1,000 to 10,000 residents in just over 10 years (1993 to 2004). Imagine what could happen to Old Montreal, or Griffintown, if Montreal followed Gehl's advice? Gehl was in Montreal only for a few days, and at first, he was not impressed. "I had the feeling of a city that has stood mainly still for 30 years. At some point in the '60s or '70s, the parking lots were all laid out, and streets filled with traffic and the widths of the sidewalk were decided and they just kept it like that." But after a closer look, Gehl had this to say: "The more I see of this city, the more I realize that much has been done. I have seen more cyclists here than any other city in North America." Gehl was impressed with Montreal's bike routes, but said they should be between the sidewalks and the parking lanes, not next to moving traffic. The parked cars should protect the cyclists from moving traffic, he said, not the other way around. And Montreal's new Bixi short-term bike rental service is a good way to "get the bike culture rolling." But he said the city should make streets like The Main and Ste. Catherine two-directional, and remove a couple of lanes from larger streets to make room for medians, bike lanes, trees and wider sidewalks. Montreal seems to be moving in the right direction, Gehr said, but much more can be done. "We have to see the city as existing not to make cars happy, but to make people happy. The people in the cars can be happy, too; they just might not be able to drive so fast." And when they get out of their cars, he added, they could enjoy a more attractive, livelier, safer, healthier, more sustainable city.
  5. If anyone else is as obsessed with sidewalks as I am, you may enjoy this map I've made of good quality and renovated sidewalks in Montreal. Pretty much anything different from the typical ugly concrete sidewalks makes the cut. Some of them are still under construction/renovation. I can actually draw most of these from memory, but I still had to look some of them up. I'm sure I missed some, so feedback is welcome! Montreal - Sidewalks