Search the Community

Showing results for tags 'streets'.



More search options

  • Search By Tags

    Type tags separated by commas.
  • Search By Author

Content Type


Forums

  • Real estate projects
    • Proposals
    • Going up
    • Completed
    • Mass Transit
    • Infrastructures
    • Cultural, entertainment and sport projects
    • Cancelled projects
  • General topics
    • City planning and architecture
    • Economy discussions
    • Technology, video games and gadgets
    • Urban tech
    • General discussions
    • Entertainment, food and culture
    • Current events
    • Off Topic
  • MTLYUL Aviation
    • General discussion
    • Spotting at YUL
  • Here and abroad
    • City of Québec
    • Around the province of Québec.
    • Toronto and the rest of Canada
    • USA
    • Europe
    • Projects elsewhere in the world
  • Photography and videos
    • Urban photography
    • Other pictures
    • Old pictures

Calendars

There are no results to display.

There are no results to display.

Blogs

There are no results to display.

There are no results to display.


Find results in...

Find results that contain...


Date Created

  • Start

    End


Last Updated

  • Start

    End


Filter by number of...

Joined

  • Start

    End


Group


About Me


Biography


Location


Interests


Occupation


Type of dwelling

Found 37 results

  1. (Courtesy of The Montreal Gazette) I'll post my comment soon, stuck doing some paper work right now
  2. Launch of a love affair Ratings for Lévesque’s TV program sometimes hit an amazing 100 per cent by Daniel Poliquin on Thursday, September 24, 2009 10:20am - 0 Comments macleans.ca By the mid-1950s, Quebecers, like most other Canadians, had fallen in love with television. So overwhelming was the coup de foudre that although in some regions near the U.S. border only American broadcasts would come in, unilingual French Quebecers lapped it up anyway. Kids could be seen in the streets of small towns re-enacting their favourite show, The Adventures of Kit Carson, speaking in a made-up mumbo-jumbo language they believed was English. That was how it sounded to them anyway. Four out of five households in the province had a television set. And when the French-speaking people of Canada were all able to view locally made, francophone productions, they became a tight-knit virtual family, discussing at length the ending of the last sitcom or drama millions of others had watched, adopting as their own actors and actresses they had grown fond of, or, conversely, expressing unanimous hate for TV villains like Séraphin, the miser in the seemingly endless Les Belles Histoires des Pays d’En-Haut, which everybody watched. For good reason, too: there was only one French-language TV station; Radio-Canada’s monopoly ensured that all, and I mean all, francophones growing up in Quebec in the 1950s and 1960s shared a single TV culture. Lévesque was a regular commentator on current events programs, but he was mainly heard on the radio—until someone at Radio-Canada had the good sense to give him his own television show in October 1957. Here begins the legend of René Lévesque. The show was called Point de mire (Focal Point) and it was a 30-minute live broadcast first airing on Sundays at 11:15 p.m., and later, due to the show’s growing popularity, on Tuesdays at 10:30 p.m. For many, it was another coup de foudre. Here was this little man with the funny voice, equipped with a blackboard, a pointer, and maps, explaining the outside world to French-speaking Canadians, talking very fast but using only intelligible words. Let me paraphrase him: “Good evening. Thank you for joining me. Tonight, we are off to the Suez. It’s in Egypt, the land of the pharaohs that became mummies, you know, the land of the pyramids and the Sphinx. Here on the map is a canal, called Suez, built by French and British engineers in the last century. You can see here that it links up the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. So a very important route for international trade, because, thanks to the canal, ships stopped having to go all around the African continent to take their goods to the Orient, or the other way around. See?” (He would circle Africa with his pointer.) “Without Suez, the cup of tea from India you just had would cost you more because it would have to travel much farther. You follow me? Now, the Egyptians no longer have pharaohs. Egypt is now a republic, led by a man they call the Raïs—which means ‘president’ in Arabic—a man by the name of Nasser. So . . .” And on he would go. For many Quebecers with little schooling, Point de mire became their first window on the world. Not everybody watched, but those who did were enthralled, especially news junkies and all those hungry for knowledge. And in Duplessis’ Quebec, there were a lot of them. Thanks to the Radio-Canada monopoly, Lévesque’s ratings sometimes reached 100 per cent: a dream for any broadcaster and now an impossible feat, even on a day such as Sept. 11, 2001. To take the helm of Point de mire, Lévesque had had to give up his comfortable job as a broadcaster, with the guaranteed income, pension, and other benefits. But he was now earning $20,000 a year—more than any cabinet minister, provincial or federal. The real payoff, however, was instant celebrity. René Lévesque was now the star journalist who could explain the school desegregation in Little Rock, Ark.; the violent decolonization of Algeria; or the partition of Berlin and Cyprus. He could not walk the streets of Quebec without being accosted by adoring fans who would stop him to shake his hand and thank him. And he was more than loved; he was respected. In the words of novelist and social commentator Jacques Godbout, Lévesque was Quebec’s “first lay teacher.” Of course, the viewers did not see the man who never read his fan mail and never returned phone calls. Undisciplined but hard-working, incessantly feasting on magazines and newspapers in his smoke-filled office or at McGill’s nearby library to prepare for his weekly rendezvous with live television. Stressed out, as we would say today, but always focused. The badly dressed and unsuspected Lothario with doubtful hygiene who ate, talked, and smoked all at once, leaving a mess behind him all the time, driving like a madman in the streets in Montreal. Famous for his all-night poker playing, his chain-smoking; fond of sleeping late and seldom on time for appointments. Never at home, never where he was supposed to be. It was as though he was living three lives at the same time. During those years that he met Pierre Trudeau. The meeting took place in the Radio-Canada cafeteria, where artists and journalists congregated between assignments to talk and reshape the world in keeping with the fantasies and ideals in vogue. Trudeau was then a law professor and sometime TV commentator known for his scathing wit and erudition. He was well travelled, one of the few men in Canada who had visited China and reported on it. His Cité Libre was one of the very rare publications that dared to criticize Duplessis and public policy. Its circulation was of confidential proportions, but it was influential within the small, thinking elite of the era. The person who introduced them was journalist Gérard Pelletier, who was a friend of both Trudeau and Lévesque. For once, as Pelletier said later, Lévesque was not running, slowed down by the overflowing cup of coffee in his one hand and the stack of newspapers under his other arm. Pelletier motioned to him to come and sit down with him and the slightly balding man with the piercing blue eyes. He had wanted the two to meet for a long time. For the occasion, Trudeau put on his best snotty-nosed behaviour, complete with the French mid-Atlantic accent he had acquired at Montreal’s Jesuit-run Brébeuf College. Lévesque played the nonchalant TV star. This is how Pelletier remembers their conversation. I’ve added what I imagine must have been their internal dialogue in square brackets. Trudeau: Ah, the famous René Lévesque! How do you do? [Your Point de mire celebrity does not impress me at all, you should know that.] You speak well, sir, very well, but tell me something: can you write, too? Lévesque: Yes, but you know, writing takes time . . . [Don’t even think for a minute I would waste a second reading your Cité Libre . . .] Trudeau: Yes, you are right. You need time, and you also need to have ideas of your own, things to say, you know . . . [Watch out, buddy, I bite too.] The two were chalk and cheese from the get-go. They would meet again. From Extraordinary Canadians: René Lévesque by Daniel Poliquin. Copyright © Daniel Poliquin, 2009. Reprinted with permission of Penguin Group (Canada).
  3. Montreal hotels offer escape from tourists Graeme Hamilton, National Post MONTREAL - At street level, there is an old-world charm to parts of this city, where horse-drawn caleches roll over cobblestone streets, passing buildings dating from the French regime. But then again, the smell of horse urine can get a little pungent on a steaming-hot day, the cobblestones can do a number on your ankle if you're not careful, and for every building of historic interest there's another housing a tacky souvenir shop. Montreal's year-round inhabitants have discovered a new escape route from the tourist-clogged streets, which oddly enough begins in a hotel lobby. A number of city hotels have sprouted rooftop terrasses where the (admittedly steep) price of a beer is also said to buy you a smashing view, a chance to mix with the in crowd and in one case, a dip in the pool if the spirit moves you. The trend has been fuelled by a proliferation of boutique hotels in Old Montreal, which have helped revive a neighbourhood that had been sliding. The best of a bunch sampled recently was atop the Hotel Nelligan, just up from the waterfront on St. Paul Street West. In one direction, the view was of the St. Lawrence River, Ile Notre-Dame and Moshe Safdie's Habitat '67 apartment complex, gleaming as it caught the early-evening sun; in the other, Notre-Dame basilica loomed. Dormer windows on adjacent buildings looked very Parisian, although the music -- an eclectic mix of oldies ranging from Lynyrd Skynyrd to Smokey Robinson -- screamed 1970s rec room. The terrasse, called Sky, does not exactly qualify as a best-kept secret. The rooftop was packed, and the area reserved for dining had an hour-long wait for a table. An even larger crowd awaited atop the Hotel Place d'Armes on the Aix terrasse. After wandering past hotel rooms to find the door leading to the roof, we were greeted by a bouncer recording each arrival and departure with a handheld counter. Asked how many people there were, he replied that the information was "confidential." A waiter said we had arrived on the patio's busiest night of the week, a Thursday. It was largely an after-work crowd looking to start the weekend early; a hotel guest looking for a relaxing cocktail in the sun would have been surprised to find a scene fit for Crescent Street, the city's famous nightclub strip. "It's happy hour," the waiter advised us, which seemed hard to believe after having just paid $7.50 for a bottle of beer. He clarified that the prices are unchanged during this particular bar's happy hour. It's just that people are happy. The view was not the best, hurt by the fact Montreal planners over the years have allowed an architectural jewel such as the basilica to be dwarfed by modern monstrosities such as the National Bank tower on Place d'Armes and the courthouse a block to the east. For a view, the hands-down winner was Hotel de la Montagne, in the city's downtown -- and not just because its rooftop pool is surrounded by bikini-clad sunbathers. On a recent evening, looking southeast we could see clear to the Eastern Townships. In the foreground was Montreal's skyline and behind us Mount Royal. The hotel has no pretense of "boutique" trendiness, from the ebony elephants and crocodile statues in the lobby to the party atmosphere on the rooftop. "People say that it is dated, so what, so is your girlfriend," a young Ohio man who recently stayed at the hotel wrote on tripadvisor.com last month. "The pool on the roof is as cool as it gets. We arrived on Friday afternoon, and the roof looked like a scene from spring break in Cancun." Our waitress advised us that the small pool is open to all customers whether they are staying at the hotel or not, "as long as you have alcohol." Not too much, she hastened to add, relating the story of a drunken man who had a contest with friends to see who could stay underwater the longest. He never came up, she said.
  4. The New York Times June 28, 2008 By BEN SISARIO MONTREAL — On Wednesday night, in the last of his three concerts presented as preludes to the Montreal International Jazz Festival, Leonard Cohen, the 73-year-old hometown poet-hero on tour for the first time in 15 years, said that on his last time through town he was “60 years old, just a kid with a crazy dream.” Between waves of applause and hollers in French and English, he added, “I am so grateful to be here and to be from here.” Mr. Cohen’s math notwithstanding, hometown pride and musical reverence are at the center of the festival, which opened its 29th season on Thursday and runs through July 6. Billing itself as the largest jazz festival in the world, it attracts one million visitors a year to more than 500 concerts in a three-block music zone downtown and brings about $100 million in revenue to the city, according to Canadian government estimates. With CD sales in a chronic slump, the music industry has been turning increasingly to live events for income, and in recent years big smorgasbord festivals have sprouted up all over North America, aiming to present all kinds of music for all kinds of people. But with a setting ideal for tourists as well as for local residents, and a solid history of eclectic programming — among the attractions this year are Woody Allen, Al Green, Aretha Franklin, Public Enemy and the local debut of Steely Dan — Montreal has held on to a rare prestige. “There is no parallel in North America and perhaps no parallel around the world,” said Scott Southard, a jazz and world-music booking agent who has 15 artists at the festival. “In Europe or Bonnaroo, for instance, they have to erect an entire village in a remote location. Here you have an urban environment without having to reconstruct the venue infrastructure every year.” Begun in 1980 by two concert promoters, Alain Simard and André Ménard, as a way to fill up what was then a dry summer concert calendar, the festival takes over four concert halls of the Place des Arts performing arts complex as well as numerous theaters and clubs around the perimeter. Several blocks of downtown streets are closed for outdoor stages, retail and food booths and children’s activities. Despite the size, Mr. Simard, the president of the festival’s parent company, L’Équipe Spectra, said that “the goal is not to be the biggest jazz festival in the world, it’s to be the best.” But as the festival approaches its 30th season, it is preparing to grow even bigger, with help from a four-year, $120 million government plan to develop the area around Place des Arts. The first phase, to be completed by next summer, includes a 75,000-square-foot park and performance ground, the Place du Quartier des Spectacles. The festival has also been given a 30-year lease and a $10 million grant from the Province of Quebec to renovate a nearby vacant building; when completed it will add one club for use year-round. As a tourist draw second only to Grand Prix du Canada, the Formula One race held in Montreal in early June, the jazz festival has become an important symbol of Montreal’s cosmopolitan lifestyle, said Charles Lapointe, the chief executive of Tourism Montreal, a nonprofit agency financed through a hotel tax. “The jazz festival exemplifies perfectly what we are presenting on the foreign market,” Mr. Lapointe said. “You can celebrate on the streets without any problems with security and express all the pleasure you want.” Civic pride and creative abundance was clear on Thursday, the official opening. (Mr. Cohen’s touring schedule prevented him from being part of the festival proper; he appears at the enormous Glastonbury pop festival in Britain on Sunday.) During the afternoon crowds gradually filled up the Place des Arts campus, slurping on ice cream cones beside the fountain and listening to the sound check for a tribute to Mr. Cohen featuring Chris Botti, Madeleine Peyroux, Buffy Sainte-Marie and others. Darting between indoor evening concerts by the veteran jazz singer Dee Dee Bridgewater, the young British songwriter Katie Melua and the African performers Vieux Farka Touré and Salif Keita, a visitor could quickly take in half a dozen outdoor concerts, parades and magicians. Two-thirds of the concerts are free. The Cohen tribute drew an estimated audience of 100,000, filling the plaza and nearby streets. But the concerts by Mr. Cohen himself were the clear early highlight. Dressed like a spy in a crisp black suit and fedora, Mr. Cohen, who has said that after years in a Zen Buddhist retreat in California, his lifelong depression has finally begun to lift, sang a sleek and emotional set of nearly three hours. In “Bird on the Wire,” “Hallelujah” and “Tower of Song” he sang of being weighted down by cynicism and starving for affection, but between songs he doffed his hat and smiled broadly for sustained ovations. The festival, a nonprofit enterprise run by the for-profit company L’Équipe Spectra, has an operating budget of $25 million. And though about 18 percent of that comes from national, provincial and city sources, the biggest form of government support is the closing of several blocks of busy city streets. The bulk of the budget comes from corporate sponsorships (40 percent) and sales of tickets and memorabilia (39 percent). The prominence of sponsorships gives the festival a sense of hyperbranding. Looking over Place des Arts, it is almost impossible not to see a giant symbol of General Motors, the lead sponsor: besides GM logos on banners and fliers throughout the grounds, the company also has five displays of new cars for contests, and at least one of the many marching bands wended its way around, wearing black GM T-shirts. Festival organizers say that they have made efforts to ensure that the sponsorship is tasteful and not intrusive. Signs are only seen outdoors, where concerts are free, they say. There is no advertising for the paid concerts indoors, and the organizers say they will not rename the event to suit any sponsor. To create an egalitarian atmosphere, the festival also shuns velvet ropes. “You will never see a V.I.P. area on the site,” Mr. Ménard said. “There’s never a place where people walk and are told, ‘No, that’s not for you.’ The unemployed can stand next to the president of the sponsor company.” For the Cohen tribute on Thursday night, however, there was a small area of bleachers near the stage reserved for the news media and others. But a reporter who lacked the necessary badges was still able to enter with a few kind words. And unlike many large festivals, this one had a network of fenced-off pathways that made quick travel through even a crowd of 100,000 tightly packed fans on Thursday evening easy for anyone needing or wanting to get through. “The vibe is very peaceful,” Mr. Ménard said of the festival. “The fabric of this city is all about the quality of life. The fact is, we have long, deadly winters, so come summertime, everybody is in for a party — but a civilized party.”
  5. (Courtesy of The Montreal Gazette) WOW I am happy I don`t live on St Pierre anymore. This city has gone to the dogs. I guess its time to really go out and buy a bulletproof vest and armour up my car.
  6. Proposed: Current: NOTE: This is a Karsten Rumpf project announced back in JUNE 2011 with little to no indication that any work started. Since he is currently active with the Bishop Court condo conversion, I figured this project would be worth posting here. But this thread probably belongs to "projects oublie" for now.
  7. Montreal's tempest in a beer cup A summertime deal between Labatt and the city's Gay Village raises questions about private interests dominating public spaces From Tuesday's Globe and Mail August 5, 2008 at 3:57 AM EDT MONTREAL — Stéphanie Dagenais didn't mind the Bud Light parasols and cups she was forced to use on her restaurant patio in Montreal's Gay Village. It's when the brewery started telling her Bud Light had to go in those plastic cups that the manager of Kilo bristled. "I think it's an aggressive way of doing a sponsorship," said Ms. Dagenais, who was forced to sell the beer under an exclusive deal struck between Labatt, which brews the beer in Canada, and the Gay Village business improvement group. The business association sold the right to sell beer on 54 new patios along a stretch of Ste-Catherine Street to Labatt, part of a summer-long festival that will see cars banished from the street. Owners say the $100,000 deal came with minimum sales quotas for each bar and restaurant, including a healthy sample of Bud Light. Patrons at a bar on Ste-Catherine Street in Montreal drink Molson Export out of the Bud Light cups required through Labatt’s sponsorship of the area. (John Morstad for The Globe and Mail) The Globe and Mail The deal irks restaurateurs like Ms. Dagenais, who doesn't sell much beer at her small restaurant, best known for tasty desserts, and others who try to tempt palates with fine dining, wine and specialty ales. A representative of the business group even suggested Bud Light is a popular beer among gays in the United States. While the banishment of cars from the street has been good for many businesses and great for pedestrians, the sponsorship is triggering a broader tempest in a beer cup over how much control private enterprises should have over public space. "I guess everything has a price," said Ms. Dagenais, who has several cases of Bud Light collecting dust. "But should it be that way? I don't think so, but it seems to be the way we work in North America." Christopher DeWolf, a writer for Spacing Montreal, an urban affairs website affiliated with the Toronto magazine Spacing, questions how corporate interests were allowed to take over a public street. "The closure to cars has created a destination, it creates an ambience that is impossible with cars," Mr. DeWolf said. "But here you have a product foisted on merchants and their customers. It raises the question of how far we should allow private interests to have such control over our public spaces. I think it's a burden on merchants and it restricts public choice." Bernard Plante, director of the Gay Village business association, said the deal is no different than exclusive beer rights negotiated at other city venues. He pointed to the privately owned Bell Centre where only Molson beer is sold. Mr. Plante brushed aside complaints about the use of public space, saying his business group is provincially legislated and democratically run. "These are the decisions we made on behalf of businesses on the street," Mr. Plante said. Merchants could shed the restraints of sponsorship when the deal runs out after the summer of 2009, he added. But they will have to agree to pay for the street closing, including the cost of street decor and rent to the city for having patios on public streets and sidewalks. Across North America, summer festivals run by private entities take over parks and streets, often with exclusive rights to allow access and to sell products. Many of the examples are more intrusive than the Montreal beer sponsorship. In one infamous example in the United States, Washington's National Mall was fenced off for a Pepsi product launch and concert - a 2003 scene described by the Project for Public Spaces as "singularly shocking for its sheer scope and audacity." Steve Davies, a vice-president of the New York-based group that encourages sensible integration of private business in public spaces, says sponsors get in trouble when they start constraining normal commercial activity. "It goes too far when they use a sponsorship to start telling dozens of private businesses what to do on public land over an entire summer," Mr. Davies said. In Montreal, big chunks of major downtown streets are regularly closed to traffic for short periods for everything from the Jazz Festival to Just for Laughs. The Gay Village pedestrian mall will last 2½ months. Mr. DeWolf said Montreal has one big thing right: The city usually emphasizes free public access, even if access to products like food and drink are often restricted. Labatt officials could not be reached yesterday. But Jean-Luc Raymond, owner of La Planète, which specializes in international cuisine, says he's noticed a little more flexibility from his brewery representative since the controversy broke out. Mr. Raymond has managed to get a little more of the fashionable Stella Artois and a little less Bud Light. "The Bud Light is still languishing," he said, "but I'm not like some others who have to try to sell Bud Light and cheesecake."
  8. New York City fears return to 1970s Tue Jan 27, 2009 By Joan Gralla http://www.reuters.com/article/newsO...50Q6IH20090127
  9. 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
  10. Some of the measures in the Snøhetta concept sound familiar... http://nymag.com/arts/architecture/features/times-square-2012-4/ Could it become a place where New Yorkers actually want to hang out? By Justin Davidson Published Apr 15, 2012 Snøhetta's plan for Times Square: a low-key, pedestrian-friendly base for the riot of lights above. (Photo: Rendering courtesy of MIR) For two decades, New Yorkers have viewed Times Square as the city’s heart of brightness, a candy-colored hellhole to be avoided whenever possible. At either end of a workday or just before curtain time, we may dart and jostle past slow-moving out-of-towners, but the notion of meeting friends for dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe or whiling away a weekend afternoon held rapt by the symphony of screens doesn’t cross our minds. Starting next fall, workers with jackhammers will tear apart the bow tie, temporarily making it an even less congenial place to hang out. But one major goal of the $45 million construction project is to persuade New Yorkers to love Times Square—to convince them that it’s not just a backdrop for a million daily snapshots but Manhattan’s most central, and most convivial, gathering spot. Architects and visionaries have often addressed that old ambition with high-energy concepts that gave us the current high-tech razzmatazz. Even in this round of ideas, the city has fended off proposals for colored LEDs embedded in the pavement, for ramps, staircases, pavilions, digital information kiosks, heat lamps, trees, lawns, canopies, and, of course, more video screens. Instead, the city hired the architectural firm Snøhetta to produce a quiet, even minimal design that doesn’t try vainly to compete with the glowing canyons. Its beauty lies in dark, heavy sobriety and a desire to be a lasting pedestal to the frenzied dazzle above. In the most straightforward sense, the new plan enshrines a transformation that has already taken place. Ever since vehicles were banned from Broadway between 42nd and 47th Streets, in 2009, Times Square has felt like a temporary art installation. Pedestrians have been able to step off the curb and into the weirdly motor-free street. Rickety red café tables, which replaced plastic beach chairs, dot a blue river painted on the asphalt. Streetlights, lampposts, mailboxes, hydrants, and pay phones remain clustered along the Broadway sidewalk, staying clear of nonexistent traffic. The new construction will eliminate that feeling of making do. Curbs will vanish. Pedestrian areas will be leveled and clad in tweedy concrete tiles that run lengthwise down Broadway and the Seventh Avenue sidewalks, meeting in an angled confluence of patterns. Nickel-size steel discs set into the pavement will catch the light and toss it back into the brilliant air. Instead of perching on metal chairs, loiterers will be able to sit, lean, sprawl, jump, and stand on ten massive black granite benches up to 50 feet long and five feet wide. Electrical and fiber-optic-cable outlets will be packed into the benches so that, for outdoor performances, special-event crews will no longer need to haul in noisy, diesel-burning generators or drape the square in cables and duct tape. Even on ordinary days, the square will be de-*cluttered of the traffic signs, bollards, cones, and boxes that cause foot traffic to seize up. With any luck, crowds will gather and mingle only in the center plain between the benches, leaving free-flowing channels on either side for the rest of us, who have somewhere to be, people! Originally based in Norway and now firmly ensconced in New York, Snøhetta in 2008 created one of the most successful public spaces in recent memory: the pedestrian pathway that winds its way around, inside, in front of, and on top of the firm’s new opera house in Oslo. It’s a cosmopolitan yet utterly local place, an exquisite juncture of sea, sky, and glacier-like building, which seems to be slipping calmly into the fjord. It suggests that the architects understand the interaction of local culture and public space. “We’re not trying to make an instant photograph of happiness,” says the firm’s co-founder Craig Dykers, explaining that Times Square needs a little grit. “There’s been quite a lot done to make the city feel more delicate, which is good, but we shouldn’t forget its industrial history. At Times Square, there were rivets on the old marquees, the steelwork on the signs was industrial, and the lighting was naked bulbs. We want that whole history to be reflected in the experience of the space.” That may be a lot to ask of benches and pavers. Toys ’R’ Us isn’t slinking back to the suburbs, and all the happy, shiny logos won’t be dimming anytime soon. But Times Square has always reinvented itself every decade or two, and it may be shifting again. It’s been the epicenter of the media world, but Condé Nast will soon be moving to the World Trade Center, and Google has settled in Chelsea. In the nineties, Times Square lured law firms and financial outfits with the city’s freshest, most technologically advanced office towers, but new models inexorably supersede the old, and this time they’ll be in lower Manhattan and Hudson Yards. This is not to say that the glitter is flaking off, only that the least likely option for the future is stasis, so Snøhetta had to design a permanent platform for the unpredictable. There are two distinct approaches to public-space renovations: the grand design and the perpetual tweak. If Snøhetta is pursuing the first path, the apostle of the second is Daniel Biederman, who led the fabulously successful renovation of Bryant Park in the early nineties and has been managing it ever since, filling it with activities, temporary structures, and retro details. “If I were the czar of Times Square design, I would do the traditional stuff: plants, kiosks, movable seating, games, programming—small touches,” Biederman says. “Most people look down as far as two feet from the ground and up to fourteen feet off the ground, so at Times Square they have a chance to waste a ton of money on a surface that nobody’s going to see.” Yet Bryant Park’s charms don’t constitute a recipe. Times Square is not a graciously bounded piazza, and it shouldn’t be a verdant oasis. It’s an accidental wedge formed by two major avenues. Seventh Avenue will keep its traffic, and so will the cross streets. Even below ground, ancient water mains, electrical lines, telephone cables, subway tunnels, and long-buried trolley tracks tangle chaotically. The square’s getting a face-lift and major surgery at the same time. Quaintness has no place here. Every bit of this area acts as a showcase of some kind. The new design is to the street what the M&M’s store is to candy and Good Morning America is to television: an urban launchpad for a global commodity. In this case, the product is the philosophy of public space preached by the Bloomberg administration’s impassioned transportation commissioner, Janette *Sadik-Khan. For decades, American cities have treated their streets as traffic conduits meant to speed cars along as efficiently as possible (which is often not very efficiently at all). Instead, the new thinking goes, they should be a flexible network equally comfortable for drivers and dawdlers, parents with strollers, cyclists, truckers, and anyone who would rather just sit for a while and rest. Until 2009, the theater district embodied the disjunction between the way streets were conceived and the way they were used, as Sadik-Khan points out with data-driven fervor. “Times Square had 137 percent more accidents and crashes than any other avenue in the area,” she says of the way she found it when she took office in 2007. “It was a hot spot of congestion. You had 356,000 people coming through on foot every day and less than 10 percent of the space allocated to pedestrians. It wasn’t working, and it was a problem that had been lying in plain sight for 200 years.” You remember: Crowds spilled over the curbs into the street, gridlock stranded taxis in the triangular crossroads, and hurried theatergoers battled through the stationary herds. The Times Square Alliance, which represents local businesses, suggested an incremental solution: Widen the sidewalks a little bit. Sadik-Khan one-upped them and completely closed five blocks of Broadway to traffic. The result was a harvest of happy data: fewer accidents, cleaner air, more satisfied survey respondents, and popular events like the Summer Solstice free yoga classes that last year attracted 6,000 people. (The 2012 edition takes place on June 20.) Clearing out cars also brought a surprising economic roar. Before, annual commercial rents in the area averaged about $800 per square foot. Last week, the eyewear emporium Oakley opened a new store, paying about $1,400 per square foot. Everyone in the Bloomberg administration is watching the countdown to the end of the mayor’s term, and Sadik-Khan’s Department of Transportation seems to be rushing to set her revolution in concrete so that her successor can’t merely paint it over. Times Square is only the most visible representative of a program that spans all five boroughs: Another 50 permanent plaza renovations are completed or in the works, from Madison Square to Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn and Roberto Clemente Plaza in the Bronx. Uncharacteristically for a city agency, the DOT is resisting uniformity, trying to gear each project to local desires, so the Snøhetta design won’t be an archetype, but it will be a much-*scrutinized example. Tourists already make the crossroads of the world an obligatory visit, but Tim Tompkins, the president of the Times Square Alliance, wants to change both the composition of the crowds and the reasons they come. “Ten years from now, we want people to want to see what public art is happening here,” he says. There is of course the possibility that a rejuvenated Times Square will appeal to New Yorkers so intensely that it will once again become as unbearably crowded as it was before. That’s a risk the city is willing to take.
  11. Pas de Camion à Déchets dans le QDS Source: Spacing Montreal There aren’t going to be any dump trucks blocking up the streets in Montreal’s new Quartier des Spectacles. Last Wednesday, the City approved a proposition to replace public trash cans with receptacles for garbage, recyclables and compostables, all hooked up to an vacuum-powered collection system. Waste placed in each receptacle would be sucked into a network of underground tubes and transported to a central processing location (possibly located in Place Desjardins). At first glance, this system may seem unduly costly and invasive, not to mention energy intensive. But since the streets in the QDS are already slotted to be ripped up in order to replace ageing sewers, aqueducts and power-lines, throwing in the waste-collection system will only cost an additional $8.2 million (according to a planner who worked on the proposal). Under the new system, garbage collection in the neighborhood would rely on electricity rather than fossil fuels, which may not be a bad idea given the cost and environmental impacts of burning fuel. Most importantly, the new garbage collection system would also apply to residents and businesses located in the Quartier des Spectacles. For instance, the restaurants in Place Desjardins would be able to be compost food scraps, saving several hundred tons of waste from landfills each year. Although Montreal is behind cities like Toronto who offer composting for household waste, this initiative would be the first in North America to offer composting on the public domain and for businesses. ENVAC, the European company that engineers these systems worldwide, built their first trash-vacuuming system in Stockholm in 1961 and it is still in operation (it has an expected lifespan of about 50 years, although that is probably standard for sewers and other infrastructure). Teaching the hoards of drunken festival-goers and clueless tourists to sort trash from recyclables and organic waste is a challenge for the future…
  12. * Find this article at: * http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1930822,00.html
  13. New York City streets go green New York City transportation head, Janette Sadik-Kahn is taking it to the streets, literally. The visionary transportation planner, who has been on the job for two years and was tapped by the Obama Administration for a top post, is serious about sustainability. And, while her first attempt to reduce the city’s carbon footprint by proposing congestion pricing for those who came in to the city by car went over like a lead balloon, her current efforts to green the city’s streets by reinventing car lanes as public space has carried favor with just about everyone. Her latest project, dubbed “Green Lights for Broadway”, aims to transform the city’s iconic car-clogged thoroughfare into a pedestrian oasis. As the only street in Midtown that is off the grid, Broadway poses significant traffic problems and safety issues along its length. “Green Lights for Broadway” aims to reduce traffic congestion through Midtown with targeted improvements focused at Times Square and Herald Square that will speed cross town traffic and replace car lanes with public space where pedestrians can lunch or relax in the middle of the street. Broadway is just one of many areas of the city that is being “pedestrianised” by Sadik-Kahn. Another intiative to green the city steets is the Plaza Program which began last year aiming to put all New Yorkers within a 10-minute walk of a park. Under this program, streets throughout the city are being reinvented as public plazas, as, for example, at Madison Square Park where 45,000 sq ft of public space was recently added in the middle of Madison Avenue and in nearby Chelsea where a car lane was transformed into a plaza with planters and a bike lane. While these efforts will no doubt make the city more liveable, the Mayor and the Transportation Commissioner would like to see a Manhattan with fewer cars. As such, the city is tweaking its public transportation system to expand and speed service. While the focus is mainly on adding designated bus lanes and improving ferry service, there may also be a tramway in New York’s future. In the 1990s, while with the Dinkins Administration, Sadik-Kahn tried to build a light rail system on 42nd Street. And though that project died on the vine, the idea of a building a light rail line on 42nd Street is still very much alive. The Institute for Rational Mobility (RUM), an advocacy group, is currently floating a proposal, dubbed “Vision 42” that re-imagines 42nd Street as a landscaped pedestrian mall with a 2.5-mile long light rail line that runs river to river. In a recently released report, RUM indicates the roughly $500 million project would generate $704 million in annual benefit. While that project’s future is yet to be determined, Sadik-Kahn has said she is not opposed to using the dedicated bus lanes initiative as a “back door “ step toward light rail, noting that cities all over the world, like Bogotá Columbia, are working toward a light rail service by reclaiming auto space in this way. Regardless, the city’s green transportation czar is on the case manipulating over 6,000 miles of roadway and 12,000 miles of sidewalks for the betterment of the public. While incomplete, her efforts have led to large increases in cycling as a primary mode of transit, increased ridership on subways and busses, and reduced mortalities amongst bicyclists and pedestrians. Sharon McHugh US Correspondent http://www.worldarchitecturenews.com/index.php?fuseaction=wanappln.projectview&upload_id=11479
  14. Are Bay Street's golden days coming to an end? Eoin Callan, Financial Post Published: Wednesday, February 11, 2009 Some of Canada’s banks are already exploring ways to change their reward structure for investment bankers to avoid creating incentives for dealmakers to hastily arrange risky deals and walk away after collecting their bonuses.ReutersSome of Canada’s banks are already exploring ways to change their reward structure for investment bankers to avoid creating incentives for dealmakers to hastily arrange risky deals and walk away after ... When Ed Clark receives his multi-million-dollar bonus next week, the chief executive of TD Bank will face immediate pressure to return the money. Bay Street's best-paid chieftain is being singled out by shareholders after three of his peers handed back their bonuses at a time when bank bosses around the world are being publicly shamed for dragging the globe into the worst recession in decades. The pressure from investors comes amid growing signs that a deep shift is afoot in the way executives and investment bankers on Bay Street are paid that could have a lasting impact on the industry. Shareholders, regulators and politicians are beginning to push for far-reaching changes in incentives in a bid to mitigate risk and help avoid the catastrophic failures that have plunged the global banking industry into crisis. Some of Canada's banks are already exploring ways to change their reward structure for investment bankers to avoid creating incentives for dealmakers to hastily arrange risky deals and walk away after collecting their bonuses. BMO Financial is in the midst of a thorough overhaul of the way it compensates bankers. The review has not been publicly disclosed, but bankers have been told to expect significant changes after similar moves at international banks such as UBS, which has introduced delays and clawback provisions for bonuses. But other banks are likely to be caught flatfooted as Ottawa prepares to sign up to a set of international guidelines on pay for bankers that are being drawn up in advance of an upcoming summit of the Group of 20 nations in London. Canada's top banking regulator said Wednesday that a consensus was emerging at a special three-day meeting in Paris "to set out sound practice guidelines on compensation for the consideration of both the [Financial Stability Forum] and the G20." "There is [a] general agreement that supervisors have a role to play in assessing whether institutions meet and implement sound practices for compensation," Ms. Dickson added by e-mail from Paris. Reform of compensation practices at banks to mitigate risk is likely to be one of the handful of tangible reforms to emerge from the summit of world leaders, said John Kirton, director of the G20 Research Group at the University of Toronto "There are not many areas of consensus ... compensation is an easy one," said the professor. But policymakers stress that Canada is likely to stop well short of moves by Washington to cap pay or other more interventionist approaches that have accompanied part nationalizations in the U.K. Instead, the approach in this country is likely to involve the supervisor taking into account of compensation schemes when evaluating the level of risk at Bay Street banks and determining the amount of capital they must hold in reserve. This is seen as a more subtle way of pressuring banks to reform their compensation schemes. While a link between compensation and capital requirements would be unwelcome on Bay Street, several bank compensation experts said Wednesday it could create an opening for them to tackle huge wage bills, which are a major cost for financial institutions. But the awarding of hefty bonuses amid a recession induced by the financial system has also triggered a wider social debate about executive compensation, as oft-repeated arguments about retaining "talent" wear thin. While these "moral and ethical" views are not shared by many investors who are critical of executive compensation, they see an opportunity to make common cause. Michel Nadeau, director of the Institute of Governance of Private and Public Organizations, said he was shocked by the level of compensation Canadian bank boards had awarded to executives amid a bruising year for investors. "There is something wrong in that world," said the former executive at Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, the Quebec pension fund. Shareholders are also not shy about enlisting the muscle of securities regulators in pushing pay up the agenda. A shareholder group representing many of the country's largest investors cited executive compensation as its "number one" priority for 2009 during a private meeting this week with Ontario Securities Commission, according to documents obtained by the Financial Post. The group also drew the attention of enforcement officials to a probe launched by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who said Wednesday he was investigating "secret" moves to pay bonuses early at Merrill Lynch. While the investors group did not make allegations of wrongdoing, a person familiar with the discussions said there were precedents for securities regulators investigating compensation matters. The Canadian Coalition for Good Governance, which represents investors with $1.4-trillion of assets under management, has also met with the chairmen of each of Canada's top banks. "Compensation is the big issue right now," said Stephen Jarislowsky, a major shareholder in Canadian banks who manages $52-billion. But his immediate focus is next week's bonus award to Mr. Clark, who was paid a $12.7-million bonus by TD last year, making him Bay Street's highest paid executive. "Ed is the worst offender," said Mr. Jarislowsky.
  15. via The Gazette : German magazine shines spotlight on Montreal’s Bernard St. BY JESSE FEITH, THE GAZETTE JULY 30, 2014 The biannual Flaneur Magazine dissects and features one street per issue. Photograph by: Flaneur Magazine , . Two years ago when Berlin-born Ricarda Messner moved back to her hometown after having lived in New York City, everything seemed a little different as she walked around, wandering from block to block and trying to get a feel for the once-familiar streets. She started thinking about those streets, about how they’re the fabric of any city: each one representing a different aspect of its neighbourhood. Wanting to put that idea into print, she founded the biannual Flaneur Magazine, which dissects and features one street per issue. Manfred Stoffl, director at Montreal’s Goethe Institut, which promotes German culture in Montreal, happened to be in Berlin when he read about Flaneur in Germany’s national daily newspaper, the Frankfurter Allgemeine. He contacted Messner to find out where he could get a copy of the first issue. The two met over a coffee and Stoffl left her with the idea of the magazine featuring a street in Montreal. In October of last year, Messner found herself wandering around again, but this time in Montreal. She hopped on a Bixi bike and followed her gut, ending up on Bernard St. “Bernard is one of those streets which might not seem so obvious at first, but it made sense for us,” she said in an email. “Still to this day, there was no other street which gave us the same feeling — representing Montreal in a hyper local microcosm.” Messner says she was aware of what she called the special role Montreal’s bilingualism plays in Canada, but didn’t have a real picture of it until spending time on Bernard. She was intrigued by the stark contrast between the street’s Outremont and Mile End sides, as well as the francophone, anglophone and Jewish communities that populate its sidewalks, restaurants and shops. Messner and two editors moved into an apartment on Hutchison St. for two months, and together with local talent, got to work talking with shop owners, approaching people on the street and turning as many stones as possible. The result, published earlier this month, is a 136-page issue of Flaneur, written in English, that “embraces the street’s complexity, its layers and fragmented nature with a literary approach.” There’s a spread profiling Tammy Lau, of Dragon Flowers, who’s had different shops open on the street for the last 25 years, selling handmade sweaters, Chinese porcelains and eventually settling on flowers. Another two pages feature Dominic Franco Kawmi, who owns a shoe shop on the street. And yet another section speaks of Peter Hondros of Loft 9, an antique boutique in the Mile End. “Outsiders who come in and stay briefly are bound to see things differently than those who live here,” said Hondros after seeing the magazine. “So it was interesting to read their take.” When Flaneur worked on its second issue, featuring Georg-Schwarz-Strasse in Leipzig, the team faced a lot of skeptical people who wished the magazine would pick a different street. In Montreal, said Messner, the opposite happened. “The people we came across didn’t react like that at all. People were enthusiastic, debated with us if Bernard was the best choice or not, and at our launch party, those present seemed genuinely interested and excited about the magazine,” she said. “I can’t believe how quickly the team clicked with Montreal,” Stoffl added. “The issue gives a real authentic view of the city. They were here in the cold of the winter, but the issue is still very lively.”For the 52-year-old Hondros, Bernard is a street that’s in a state of flux, becoming younger, trendier and a little less “laid back” than it used to be — changes the magazine couldn’t necessarily pick up on during its two month stay. “To us, it was a compliment to have someone come here and like what they see,” he said. “But now we’ve moved on, and we’re just back to our daily routines.” The magazine’s Montreal issue was financed in part by the Goethe Institut and is on sale at Drawn & Quarterly on Bernard St. It can also be ordered online at flaneur-magazine.com. The Flaneur team is now setting up shop in Rome to work on its next issue. [email protected] Twitter: jessefeith © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette
  16. The upscale new face of Old Montreal More laid-back scene smacks of sophistication Maxine MendelssohnFor Canwest News Service Sunday, March 09, 2008 First came boutique hotels and condos, then yoga studios and shops. Now it's bars, supper clubs and a vibrant nightlife: Old Montreal has become a party destination in its own right. And its more laid-back scene is attracting some of the club kids who once clambered to get into the city's hot spots. While these places still pack in the crowds, a bit of fete fatigue has set in on Montreal's two traditional party streets -- Crescent St. and St. Laurent Blvd. The lineups that don't move, some as long as 100 people, the hefty price tag on drinks; it can be a bit much. Now, chic partiers co-exist nicely with tourists in horse-drawn caleches winding their way through the cobblestone streets. New resto-bars like Santos, Wilson and Cherry are becoming popular destinations, offering their own brand of chic decor, fancy drinks and a party atmosphere. On the weekends, smaller bars in Old Montreal are often filled to capacity, but the larger ones have plenty of breathing room. "In the Old Port, if they don't let you in it's not because you're not having bottle service, it's because there's no room." Some party places on St. Laurent Blvd. have become so in demand that they only let in customers who order bottle service, which can cost upwards of $300. The 20- and 30-somethings who flock to Old Montreal want intimate dinners and drinks, not teens flaunting cash and downing rows of vodka shooters. There are occasional, small lineups and only one club has a cover charge in Old Montreal. It's definitely easier to get your foot in the door. "They make it easy and appealing to party here," said 27-year-old Maria Toumanova. "Everything is getting a facelift and people are coming down to check it out. It's a great alternative to the common party places downtown." Dimitri Antonopoulos has been betting heavily on Old Montreal for the last eight years. His company, the Antonopoulos Group, owns a number of Old Montreal hot spots including Suite 701, Mechant Boeuf and the Place d'Armes Hotel, which opened in 2000. "The W Hotel (which opened four years later) also helped bring people down here, then restaurants and nice shops started opening up, too. All these businesses attracted a savvier customer and hipper tourists," said Antonopoulos, VP of marketing. Mechant Boeuf is Antonopoulos's newest venture. There is always a place to sit, and conversations don't require yelling, something that's standard at the downtown clubs. "These are discerning partiers," Antonopoulos said. "They know the ins and outs of clubbing, but they're growing up and maybe they want something different. It's a new market in Montreal." © The Vancouver Province 2008 http://www.canada.com/components/print.aspx?id=2750276e-1761-495b-b845-d1a0490f8856
  17. 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.
  18. Old Damascus is quite unique, it is enclosed by very high walls and it can only be accessed by very few doors ( i believe 7 of them). Streets are never wider than the width of two cars, and most of them are unmapped and wide enough for one person to pass. Old Damascus is composed of a good sized Christian Minority, and you can find packed Churches on Sundays and other Holidays. Old Damascus is the heart of the oldest still inhabited city in the world, Damascus goes back to over 4000 years before Christ. So I'm not going to spoil any surprises, check the pics and some commentaries... i tried to be as concise as possible, but if you do have questions, just ask. If you haven't checked the first part: Going to Old Damascus There's no detached houses in Damascus, its all 3-4-5 stories with no elevator. Thats why you don't see many fat Syrians :-) The almighty Minister of Finance... aka Mafia. My host in his '78 Mercedes annoyed by my too many pics... he hasn't seen nothing yet. The usual 3 lanes become 6 lanes traffic in Syria. More fountains... Notice the fruits on the left, that guy makes amazing fresh pressed juice... I was always having one too... 25sp or 50 cents. That's the most important commercial street in Damascus, the mazout deliverer and his horse perfectly blend. The almighty Commercial Bank of Syria... the biggest fiasco I've ever witnessed in my life... it takes maybe 5 or 6 signatures to cash in a regular cheque (45 minutes)... to bad I couldn't take any pics inside. A roundabout, very common. Another common sight... ok maybe not, a fellah wit his lamb :-) A vestige of old railroad tracks. Thats a movie theatre... look at those sexy women. BTW, going to the movies in Syria is seen as a bad thing by the masses. A viaduc. Thats the old central station. Good luck in getting in. Can't remember what was that building. Thats the telegraph and communication central... if you want a phone line, you go there. (the waiting list for a phone line was so long that we got it nearly 10 years after we already moved to Canada) Market (Souq) al-Hamidiyya and Roman ruins So we wanted to visit Al Hamidiyya, unique I confess, and encolsed in Old Damascus. These are the walls of Old Damascus. Thats the new part of the markt... not intresting. That guy on the left doesn't seem to like being taken in a picture :-) Here we are... it is encolsed by roof. This is the prime spot of the Sook (which spans on many many blocks). Secondary streets where the sook spans.
  19. Halifax could learn a lot from Montreal VICTOR SYPEREK The Daily News You know, as you travel through this wonderful country, you realize just how lucky we are to be Canadians. From the majestic Rocky Mountains to the restless Atlantic Ocean. And what diverse populations. Bringing the best from all of our homelands. Leaving Toronto and heading East quickened my heart, as heading home always does. This is probably what is so compelling about travel. All we see and eat and do can be brought home to add a little diversity to our verdant region. I stopped in Kingston, Ont., which was celebrating the last day of its Busker Festival. It's hard to say how big theirs is, as on the last day, everyone joins together in the main area to watch the best of the week. They had closed a large portion of the downtown and besides the theatrical antics, parking lots were 1/2lled with 3/4ea markets, antique sales, baking and general city groups adding to the fun. After a Guinness, a bite and a leisurely chat with some locals, on I pushed to Montreal. I used to live there about 30 years ago. After the referendum, big business left in droves. Many Anglos followed. Toronto surpassed Montreal as Canada's No. 1 city. I think they went a little over board on their French-only bent, isolating them even further. But a funny thing happened. Rents stayed low. Houses remained affordable. It was the perfect environment for artists and artist expression. Montreal became an incubator and gave birth to the largest comedy festival and one of the largest jazz festivals and, of course, the world's most famous circus troupe, Cirque du Soleil. To some degree, this is all serendipity, the right place and the right time. But that isn't enough. You still need the people with the control and the money to pave the way or, at least, remove the road- blocks. And I chose this word for it's meaning. Obviously a city must function at many levels. Business must function, deliveries must be made, people must get to work and home again. But these days tourism is big business and as well talented people must be attracted to our fair cities. Besides just jobs, we have to address quality of life. Now this means many things. Besides a comfortable and safe place to live, we have to do things. We need theatre, 1/2lm, good food and entertainment. And entertainment can be so many things - from buskers to book fairs, car shows, huge 3/4ea markets, a literal day at the beach and sailing. If we have a happy population, it shows. The tourists 1/2nd out and they come to see why. And at the bottom of it all, you will 1/2nd a progressive administration. As in Montreal, where the arts had the perfect place to be. Flowers won't grow without the proper conditions, they must be encouraged. Montreal gets it. During the jazz festival, most of Montreal's streets are closed around the arts centre. During the Grand Prix the Main St. Laurent is closed and turned into a giant terrace; bars and restaurants spill out onto the street. The comedy fest, for two weeks, shuts down the blocks from St. Laurent past St. Dennis, south of Sherbrooke. The area is the size of downtown Halifax. There were hundreds of thousands of people on the streets. Roaming troupes of stilt walkers, parade 3/4oats, lights everywhere, sound and long lineups at all of the venues. It was a festival 20 years in the making. About 20 years ago, in Halifax, Dale Thompson started the Buskers' Festival and Mardi Gras, a Halloween night to remember. Buskers were a downtown-wide street show. They were everywhere. What could have grown into something approaching Montreal's festival was safely place in a sterile (read boring) package on the crowded waterfront. Same with Mardi Gras. It got out of control. Instead of managing it, it was cancelled, or at least the cost of police and 1/2re control became prohibitive. There is something wrong with our attitude. Mayor Peter Kelly and a few councillors should go on a paid junket to Montreal to 1/2nd out how it's done. There is no need to recreate the wheel. It's been done in Rio, New Orleans and in Montreal. I saw very few police, just on the gates to the streets. A couple of 1/2remen leaning on their 1/2re truck were there just in case. And there were hundreds of thousands of people of all ages with smiles on their faces. Heck, I'll even offer to go with them as translator, to translate into common sense. The film festival in Halifax is in its 21st year and yet the city is still dithering over permits to use Parade Square and surrounding streets. This festival has the potential to put us on the international 1/2lm map, but we need the nurturing and help of our city fathers. And speaking of 1/2lms, I wish our 1/2lm development board would get off their chairs and try to stem the 3/4ow of production from Nova Scotia to New Brunswick and the rest of the country. This was a $200- million-a-year business. Now I know there are circumstances, but let's start with local production. A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I hadn't seen many cops walking the beat late at night. Well just to prove me wrong, there they were Wednesday night, handing out parking tickets. C'mon. What gives? We have a world hockey tournament or curling or the Greek Festival or whatever - and the parking commission has a 1/2eld day. You know, if they are not blocking a hydrant or some emergency exit or driveway, do we have to be so fanatical? If it weren't about the revenue, you know you will be towed, if necessary. Let's give our visitors a break. But I guess we have to pay for the parking at Dartmouth Crossing somehow. Well, I'm off to enjoy our jazz festival. It's good here, but it could be better. Have a good one.
  20. Vancouver Becomes First City to Pave Its Streets With Recycled Plastic Read more: Vancouver Becomes First City to Pave Their Streets With Recycled Plastic | Inhabitat - Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building by Kristine Lofgren, 11/25/12 http://inhabitat.com/vancouver-becomes-first-city-to-pave-their-streets-with-recycled-plastic/ The City of Vancouver has set the lofty goal of becoming the greenest city in the world by 2020 and, judging by their latest green innovation, they are thinking outside of the box to get there. To help up their green quotient, Vancouver has started paving its streets with recycled plastic. The city teamed up with GreenMantra of Toronto to melt together old plastic and asphalt to create a paving mixture that is much better for the environment than traditional asphalt. Traditional asphalt requires extremely high temperatures to allow it to flow easily, but by mixing in a recycled plastic binder, the asphalt flows at a much lower temperature, requiring up to 20-percent less fuel to produce. City engineer Peter Judd estimates that this could translate into a reduction of 300 tons of greenhouse gases per year. Using the plastic binder also reduces the amount of vapors released into the air when the asphalt is laid. The process costs about 1 to 3-percent more than traditional asphalt paving, but as the supply increases, costs are expected to drop. The environmentally friendly paving doesn’t look any different than traditional paving, and the city is currently testing the mixture before deploying it citywide.
  21. Ste. Catherine St. has top lease rates Tied with Bloor St. in Toronto. Most expensive retail corridors in Canada By LYNN MOORE, The Gazette June 8, 2010 Toronto's Bloor St. and Montreal's Ste. Catherine St. are Canada's most expensive retail corridors, according to Colliers International's 2010 Global Retail Report, released yesterday. Ste. Catherine St. is tied in 32nd position with Toronto's Bloor St. on the global list of shopping hot spots. Merchants in the two most popular Canadian shopping areas pay an average lease rate of $300 per square foot, according to the report. The 2010 Winter Olympic festivities in Vancouver were not enough for the city's marquee retail stroll -Robson St., with its average rate of $200 per square foot -to overtake Toronto and Montreal's premier retail streets on the list. Jim Smerdon, director of retail and strategic planning with Colliers, said the retailers themselves set the lease rates according to the importance of the location. "The hallmark of strong retail streets is a blend of the size of the market, things like accessibility and parking, and a host of intangibles such as the history of the street as a commercial destination," he said. Even though Toronto is larger than Montreal and the commercial capital of Canada with more head offices and wealthy residents, it's not surprising that Ste. Catherine St.'s shops can command the same rent, Smerdon said. Ste. Catherine St., which is often thick with pedestrians night and day, is an experience, he acknowledged. "Montreal is more of a destination for shoppers than Toronto is ... and Ste. Catherine is more of a lifestyle experience," he said. In 31st spot on the Colliers list was Honolulu's Kalakaua Ave. and 33rd spot was occupied by Amsterdam's Kalverstraat. The report shows that Canada's most exclusive streets are a bargain compared with the world's priciest, in such places as Paris, New York, Hong Kong and London, where rates per square foot exceed $1,000. Topping the list was the Champs Elysees in Paris, with an average lease rate of about $1,256. All figures in the report are in U.S. dollars. The information comes from surveys and material supplied by Colliers staff in 61 countries, Smerdon said. [email protected] © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Catherine+lease+rates/3125235/story.html#ixzz0qXanL7Xi
  22. Wednesday, September 26, 2007 Feast on Montreal's wonderful charm Erica Johnston / Washington Post I've been captivated by Montreal since my first trip there almost 20 years ago, drawn in by two things in particular: the bowls of hot chocolate offered at the city's many cafes -- hey, why settle for a measly cup? -- and the people who packed the streets in July and August, soaking in the two-month party they call summer. It seemed as busy as midtown Manhattan at rush hour, but these people were smiling. So when my oldest and best friend and I realized that our 40th "anniversary" was approaching, I managed to talk her into a celebratory trip over a long weekend. To Montreal, of course. When I arrived on a summer-like fall afternoon, a day before Kathy, I hit the streets. It had been eight years since my last visit. Had I exaggerated the city's charms? From our hotel downtown, I walked a mile or so, past the edge of Chinatown and through the Latin Quarter to the Plateau, the neighborhood where my affection for the city first took root. Along the leafy side streets, spiral staircases wind their way up the outsides of cozy rowhouses. Somehow, it seemed that if I knocked on a few doors, I'd find someone I knew. A few blocks away, Mount Royal, the modest mountain and majestic park on the neighborhood's western flank, rises over the city, offering a constant compass and an instant refuge to anyone who needs one. In a bakery, a boy of about 4 offered me his friendliest "Allo!" I did my best to respond in kind: "Allo." "Oh," he responded. His smile never broke. "Hello!" And that seems to sum up the language issue -- for tourists, anyway. It's far more complicated for residents -- in the place generally acknowledged to be the world's second-biggest French-speaking city. French? English? Whatever. We can work with you. Nearly everyone who crossed our path was unrelentingly friendly. Even the illuminated "man" in the crossing signals has a spring in his step; check it out. Along Rue St. Denis, a beautifully dressed woman stepped out of an elegant bakery with an elaborately wrapped sandwich and handed it with a smile to a homeless stranger. By the time a Metro toll taker wished us a good life -- and seemed to mean it -- we weren't especially impressed. We walked along the lovely Rue Laurier from east to west, from a low-key weekend street market to the decidedly upmarket blocks of fancy shops west of Rue St. Laurent. That street, also called "The Main," has historically served as the unofficial line separating the city's French culture from its English-speaking stronghold. Today's Montreal is often a wonderful jumble, with strong strands of distinct cultures living amongst one another. It's been called a salad bowl -- the concept of Canadian diversity as separate components complementing each other, as compared with the American ideal of the melting pot. In few places is this more true than in Mile End, a historically Jewish enclave that was one of my favorite discoveries of the trip. Mile End, the boyhood home of the late novelist Mordechai Richler (along with his famous protagonist, Duddy Kravitz), is gentrifying rapidly. But though the challenge of change in the neighborhood just north of the swanky part of Rue Laurier riles some, others revel in it. To the outsider, the place offers a kaleidoscopic array: The Asian teenager with an Orthodox Jew's side locks ambles along Rue St. Viateur. At a street corner, black-clad Goth girls check out South American pan flutists. Butcher shops of seemingly every Eastern European persuasion line the streets. Here's where you get your Montreal bagels, smaller, denser and sweeter than their American counterparts. Their supporters insist that these rounds, boiled in honeyed water before baking, are the real deal; the recipe allegedly was brought over by Romanian Jews in the early 1900s. From there, we continued on a mile or so north, to the Little Italy neighborhood and -- more to the point -- the Jean-Talon Market, a huge, year-round public market for regionally grown meats, cheeses, fruits and vegetables. Such spots often serve as my museums, telling me more about a place than most collections of art or artifacts ever could. It was a Saturday, and the joint was jammed with more than 100 stalls and thousands of Montrealers, all pondering the same age-old question: What's for dinner? On Sunday night, as our time wound down, we followed our trip to its logical conclusion: dinner at Au Pied de Cochon, a boisterous bistro that offers an unabashed homage to all creatures fat and fowl, a cuisine that is profoundly, jubilantly Quebecois. Chef Martin Picard, a darling of the back-to-the-land school of cooking, looks like a lumberjack, and kind of cooks like one, too. On the menu: "The Big Happy Pig's Chop," "the Pig's Foot" and steak that tends to be venison, when it's in season. If forced to choose, I'd say our favorite meal was at La Montee de Lait, a smallish refuge tucked into a quiet corner of the Plateau that offers a fixed-price parade of exquisite small plates. And then, sadly, the time came to put down our forks and back away slowly. The air had turned seasonably chilly, and we marveled at the Montrealers sitting at sidewalk cafes. For us, it was freezing, and unthinkable. But they were enjoying it while they could, knowing that everything -- even the temperature -- is relative. And the bowls of hot chocolate couldn't have hurt, either.
  23. Abolish Montreal's 'Little Kingdoms' Posted by: Michael Dudley 8 January 2008 - 1:00pm Owing to political fragmentation and 20 different mayors, the Canadian city of Montreal is becoming increasingly dysfunctional and must be simplified, writes Lysiane Gagnon. "How many mayors does a city with 1.8 million people need? In Montreal, no fewer than 20." "Mayor Gérald Tremblay chairs city council. Nineteen "smaller" mayors chair the conseils d'arrondissements; these municipal districts have become responsible for zoning, housing, parks, street maintenance and so on. The arrondissements often collide with the central administration, and some of the mayors, riding on their inflated status, behave like feudal lords." "Montreal [is] divided...into 'arrondissements' (some carved out of the main city, and others corresponding to the former suburban municipalities) [to which are] delegated massive powers. Montreal was stuck with 19 cities within the city." "More and more, Montrealers complain about the disintegration of services. They don't even know who to blame because there is no tangible political accountability." "The absurdity of the system...was especially obvious in the wake of two consecutive snowstorms that descended on the metropolitan area before Christmas. Since boroughs are responsible for snow removal, the clearing operations varied from one district to another." "In Côte-des-Neiges, the streets surrounding two hospitals were still clogged days after the snowfall, while the quiet residential streets of Rosemont were thoroughly clean. The worst was in Ville-Marie. Sherbrooke, Montreal's major east-west artery, was still lined with giant snowbanks when the second snowfall hit. On Ste-Catherine, Montreal's major commercial street, the Ville-Marie workers never managed to spray salt or sand on sidewalks covered with black ice. "It was the worst performance in memory," wrote Gazette city columnist Henry Aubin, who believes that snow clearance, like firefighting and policing, should be subject to a unified policy." "Actually, Montreal is ready for more: The city should be recentralized and its little kingdoms abolished." Source: Globe & Mail, Jan 07, 2008 http://www.planetizen.com/node/29179 Full Story: Down with Montreal's 19 kingdoms
  24. Does New York City Need More Taxis? The City of New York is planning to add 2,000 more yellow taxi cabs onto its streets. They'll be wheelchair accessible and raise a bunch of money for the city. The new licenses could fetch up to $1 billion at auction. And the hope is that the extra taxis will make life better for the many New Yorkers without cars. Charles Komanoff disagrees. The transport economist has been analyzing the city's traffic patterns for almost 40 years. He argues that putting more cabs on the streets will actually slow down traffic — so much so that it would cost travelers not just time but also money. True, it would be easier to find a cab. But Komanoff argues that all those extra cabs would slow down traffic by 12 percent in the city. And they wouldn't just slow down traffic for their passengers. They would slow it down delivery trucks, buses, private cars — everyone. Komanoff has been collecting data about New York City's traffic patterns in a massive spreadsheet. In the data you can find every lane on every road in the heart of Manhattan. He calls his data trove the Balanced Transport Analyzer. He figures the slowdown due to the new cabs would cost the city $500 million a year in lost time. We'll have to wait to see if Komanoff's predictions will come true. The decision to add more cabs in New York is now being challenged in court. http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2012/07/31/157477611/does-new-york-city-need-more-taxis