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Found 53 results

  1. Traffic management APPlied logic Sep 13th 2011, 16:10 by The Economist online TRAFFIC lights are crucial tools for regulating traffic flow. They are not, however, perfect. Drivers exchange the gridlock that would happen at unmanaged junctions for a pattern of stop-go movement that can still be frustrating, and which burns more fuel than a smooth passage would. Creating such a smooth passage means adjusting a vehicle’s speed so that it always arrives at the lights when they are green. That is theoretically possible, but practically hard. Roadside signs wired to traffic lights can help get the message across a couple hundred metres from a junction, but such signs are expensive, and have not been widely deployed. Margaret Martonosi and Emmanouil Koukoumidis at Princeton University, and Li-Shiuan Peh at the Massachussets Institute of Technology, however, have an idea that could make the process cheaper and more effective. Instead of a hardwired network of signs, they propose to use mobile-phone apps. For a driver to benefit, he must load the team’s software, dubbed SignalGuru, into his phone and then mount it on a special bracket attached to the inside of his car’s windscreen, with the camera lens pointing forwards. SignalGuru is designed to detect traffic lights and track their status as red, amber or green. It broadcasts this information to other phones in the area that are fitted with the same software, and—if there are enough of them—the phones thus each know the status of most of the lights around town. Using this information, SignalGuru is able to calculate the traffic-light schedule for the region and suggest the speed at which a driver should travel in order to avoid running into red lights. Tests in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where five drivers were asked to follow the same route for three hours, and in Singapore, where eight drivers were asked to follow one of two routes for 30 minutes, revealed that SignalGuru was capable of predicting traffic-light activity with an accuracy of 98.2% and 96.3% respectively, in the two cities. This was particularly impressive because in Cambridge the lights shifted, roughly half-way through the test, from their off-peak schedule to their afternoon-traffic schedule, while in Singapore lights are adaptive, using detectors embedded under the road to determine how much traffic is around and thus when a signal should change. In neither case was SignalGuru fooled. Fuel consumption fell, too—by about 20%. SignalGuru thus reduces both frustration and fuel use, and makes commuting a slightly less horrible experience.
  2. First the Main, now it's downtown's turn Construction. Major projects have merchants, drivers in grumble mode Motorists negotiate the traffic and construction at de Maisonneuve Blvd. and Guy St. yesterday. The statue of Norman Bethune has been removed while work is under way.DAVE SIDAWAY THE GAZETTE, JASON MAGDER, The Gazette If you want to know how much it has snowed this winter, head for Place Norman Bethune at de Maisonneuve Blvd. and Guy St. The square, which is the cornerstone of a $22-million facelift for the Concordia University neighbourhood, has been cordoned off with metal fences since October. As a result, snow banks have grown to three metres. However, the transformation of Place Bethune is only one of three major construction projects under way on the corner. Motorists negotiate the traffic and construction at de Maisonneuve Blvd. and Guy St. yesterday. The statue of Norman Bethune has been removed while work is under way Like the merchants caught up in the seemingly endless construction on St. Laurent Blvd., those in this corner of downtown feel choked by street work. While improvements are wrapping up on the Main, crews are just getting started on the Place Bethune beautification project that is expected to last at least until 2011. In the meantime, it' a corner of hell for motorists and pedestrians. "Nobody passes by here anymore," said Mohammad Saken, 28, the manager of Dépanneur Beau Prix on de Maisonneuve west of Guy. "It's already our second year with construction here, and it looks like we're going to have long-term construction. That's going to screw up our business big time." Some merchants complain the constant construction is also dangerous. Saad Salem, the kitchen manager at the Château Kabab restaurant, said he saw a man fall into a hole, which had been dug three weeks ago by the city's Electrical Services Commission to work on underground wiring on Guy north of de Maisonneuve. "A few days ago, a handicapped man fell right into the hole because he didn't see it," Salem said, adding the man wasn't seriously injured. "The company came the next day and put up a fence around the area. But they made the hole and then left it like that, without doing any work. That wasn't a great idea." Serge Boileau, president of the Electrical Services Commission, did not return calls yesterday. Merchants say they are pleased the city is spending money to beautify the area, but say the timing is bad, coming after a summer in which they had to contend both with construction on a new Concordia business school and jackhammers installing a bike path along de Maisonneuve's south side. The bike path is completed, but cyclists, pedestrians and motorists have an obstacle course of four construction sites to negotiate just to cross the street. A southbound lane of Guy is closed from de Maisonneuve to Ste. Catherine St. while crews working on Concordia's new John Molson School of Business building, as is part of de Maisonneuve west of Guy. The north side of de Maisonneuve between Mackay and Guy Sts. is also blocked by traffic cones and trailers, which are used by construction foremen as offices. "It's slushy and dirty and it hasn't been cleaned up in ages," said Melissa Ajamian, 21, who lives on St. Mathieu St. "You used to be able to just walk through this area, but now it's very difficult." Sylvain Ducas, the city's project manager of Place Bethune, said it will take two years to complete the work on the square. "We could have done it in one year, but we need to keep the street open," Ducas said. "I'm sure the merchants will agree with that."
  3. Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Transport+Quebec+launching+radio+station+with+traffic+updates+Montreal/3474054/story.html#ixzz0yPaOEln4
  4. http://www.icisource.ca/commercial_real_estate_news/ When NIMBYism is warranted, and when it isn’t Of course, the question is whether a proposed development, infill project or new infrastructure build really does pose a risk to these cherished things. Developers and urban planners must always be cognizant of the fact that there is a segment of the population, a fringe element, who will object to just about anything “new” as a matter of principle. I’ve been to many open houses and public consultations for one proposed project or another over the years. There is almost always that contingent of dogged objectors who invariably fixate on the same things: Parking – Will there be enough if the development increases the population density of the neighbourhood or draws more shoppers/workers from elsewhere? Traffic – Will streets become unsafe and congested due to more cars on the road? Transit – Will this mean more busses on the road, increasing the safety hazard on residential streets, or conversely will there be a need for more? Shadowing – is the new build going to leave parts of the neighbourhood stuck in the shade of a skyscraper? These are all legitimate concerns, depending on the nature of the project in question. They are also easy targets for the activist obstructionist. Full and honest disclosure is the best defence Why? Because I see, time and again, some developers and urban planners who should know better fail to be prepared for objections rooted on any of these points. With any new development or infrastructure project, there has to be, as a simple matter of sound public policy, studies that examine and seek to mitigate impacts and effects related to parking, traffic, shadowing, transit and other considerations. It therefore only makes sense, during a public consult or open house, to address the most likely opposition head on by presenting the findings and recommendations of these studies up front in a clear and obvious manner. But too often, this isn’t done. I’ve was at an open house a few years ago where, when asked about traffic impact, the developer said there wouldn’t be any. Excuse me? If your project adds even one car to the street, there’s an impact. I expect he meant there would be only minimal impact, but that’s not what he said. The obstructionists had a field day with that – another greedy developer, trying to pull the wool over the eyes of honest residents. This is a marketing exercise – treat it like one This is ultimately a marketing exercise – you have to sell residents on the value and need of the development. Take another example – a retirement residence. With an aging population, we are obviously going to need more assisted living facilities in the years to come. But in this case, the developer, speaking to an audience full of grey hairs, didn’t even make the point that the new residence would give people a quality assisted-living option, without having to leave their community, when they were no longer able to live on their own. I also hear people who object to infill projects because they think their tax dollars have paid for infrastructure that a developer is now going to take advantage of – they think the developer is somehow getting a free ride. And yet, that developer must pay development charges to the city to proceed with construction. The new build will also pay its full utility costs and property taxes like the rest of the street. City hall gets more revenue for infrastructure that has already been paid for, and these additional development charges fund municipal projects throughout the city. Another point, often overlooked – when you take an underperforming property and redevelop it, its assessed value goes up, and its tax bill goes up. The local assessment base has just grown. City hall isn’t in the business of making a profit, just collecting enough property tax to cover the bills. The more properties there are in your neighbourhood, the further that tax burden is spread. In other words, that infill project will give everyone else a marginal reduction on their tax bill. It likely isn’t much, but still, it’s something. Developers must use the facts to defuse criticism Bottom line, development is necessary and good most of the time. If we didn’t have good regulated development, we would be living in horrid medieval conditions. Over the last century and a bit, ever growing regulation have given us safer communities, with more reliable utilities and key services such as policing and fire. Yes, there are examples of bad development, but if we had none, as some people seem to want, no one would have a decent place to live. It just astonishes me that developers and urban planners don’t make better use of the facts available to them to defuse criticism. It’s so easy to do it in the right way. Proper preparation for new development public information sessions is the proponent’s one opportunity to tell their story, and should not be wasted by failing to get the facts out and explaining why a project is a good idea. To discuss this or any other valuation topic in the context of your property, please contact me at [email protected] I am also interested in your feedback and suggestions for future articles. The post Why do public planning projects go off the rails? appeared first on Real Estate News Exchange (RENX). sent via Tapatalk
  5. http://spacingmontreal.ca/2010/05/25/parc-lahaie-transformation-underway/ Résultat du parc Lahaie: C'est très laid ! deux tables dans le milieu, c'est le seul truc qu'ils ont trouvé à installer ? Je crois qu'il serait mieux de détruire la rue si ont veut vraiment la transformer en place publique. Je laisse Étienne vous présenter ses rendus qui sont extra !
  6. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/06/nyregion/06broadway.html?_r=2&ref=michael_m_grynbaum&pagewanted=all Ceux qui n'aiment pas les "piétonisations" à Mtl devront s'y faire. C'est un mouvement de fond, et généralisé.....
  7. http://www.montrealgazette.com/Canada+driversdeserve+Roads+Czar/4434450/story.html I am not thinking highly of a federal office to solve problems. That said, the monies recieved from at least the federal gasoline and diesel excise tax & GST on gasoline should be invested in roads and highways and not the BS black hole it goes into currently (notwithstanding various federal-aid highway projects which seem to be common, like A-30, A-85, Montreal bridges, Calgary & Edmonton ring roads, NB Route 2 etc, the total investment is still much less than the excise revenues).
  8. Some of these didn't come out right, it was a) raining b) i was low battery so i was being hasty c) lots of pedestrian/car traffic which always complicates things And some day shots from nov 14:
  9. http://opinion.financialpost.com/2011/02/25/lawrence-solomon-transit-competition/
  10. I'm going to enjoy the popcorn and watch the whiners come out "http://business.financialpost.com/news/transportation/air-canada-wants-torontos-pearson-airport-to-be-a-mega-hub-but-high-costs-stand-in-the-way" "Canada has long been an afterthought for the global aviation market, an out-of-the-way destination with taxes and fees so high that some five million Canadians a year trek across the border to fly out of cheaper U.S. airports. But Air Canada and the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) are determined to flip that view on its head by turning Toronto’s Pearson International Airport into a mega-hub on the scale of Amsterdam’s Schiphol, Singapore’s Changi or Dubai International Airport. Pearson is already well on its way to meeting that goal since it attracts more international passengers than any other airport in North America except John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York City. Toronto’s primary airport is now the fourth-largest entry point by air into the United States, surpassing many large U.S. airports, according to National Bank analyst Cameron Doerksen. But to become a true mega-hub comparable in scope and status to the Dubais of the world, a lot needs to change. Pesky taxes and fees make Pearson “the most expensive airport in the world at which to land a plane,” according to a 2012 Senate report. There’s also the problem of congestion — in the airport, on its runways and on surrounding roadways — that will only get worse unless significant investments are made in infrastructure. If these issues aren’t addressed, Pearson could miss out on an opportunity to become part of the exclusive mega-hub club — there are currently only 11 worldwide — and all the attendant economic benefits, including the creation of more than 200,000 jobs in the area. Jack Boland / Toronto Sun / QMI Agency Jack Boland / Toronto Sun / QMI AgencyToronto's Pearson International Airport is a hub for passengers coming into Canada domestically and internationally. The GTAA, which manages and operates Pearson, defines a mega-hub as an airport that processes 50 million passengers a year, including at least 20 million international passengers, and connects to 80 per cent of the global economy. Pearson is pretty close to those numbers. In 2015, it moved 41 million passengers, including 25 million international travellers, and connected to 67 per cent of the global economy. It was recently ranked 19th in the world for its connectivity — sandwiched between Philadelphia, which is not a mega-hub, and Frankfurt, which is — by air-travel intelligence company OAG. There’s plenty of potential for further growth at Pearson. Howard Eng, GTAA’s chief executive, said the airport has the largest catchment area — defined as the population within a 90-minute flight — of any airport in North America, bigger than even JFK or Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Pearson also has an enthusiastic partner in Air Canada, which accounts for 57.6 per cent of the airport’s seat capacity, according to the Centre for Aviation, and has been pursuing an aggressive international growth strategy using its new fleet of Boeing 787s. To support Air Canada, the GTAA has agreed to fix the airline’s fees for 10 years in exchange for agreed-upon passenger growth targets, and will offer rebates if it exceeds those targets. “They want to be a mega-carrier and, as a result of that, they need a mega-hub to work out of,” Eng said in an interview. “We’re both aligned on the concept.” One of Air Canada’s main growth pillars is expanding so-called sixth-freedom traffic, or traffic from a second country to a third country via an airline’s home market. In Air Canada’s case, that primarily means Americans travelling from their home cities via Toronto to destinations in Europe or Asia. The airline’s stated goal is to attract a 1.5-per-cent “fair share” of the U.S. sixth-freedom market, which would add $600 to $700 million in incremental revenue, but chief executive Calin Rovinescu said it can probably do “much better than that.” “We’ve been basically increasing our sixth-freedom flying by mid-to high-teen (percentages) in each of the last two years,” Rovinescu said in a recent interview. He hopes to turn Pearson into a “world-class hub” comparable to Amsterdam, Singapore or Dubai. Related How you can nab premium flights without paying through the nose Air Canada ready to compete with new, low-cost airlines, CEO says “Those countries don’t have a large population base, but they have built very powerful hubs,” Rovinescu said. “Toronto is still relatively speaking underserved in terms of the catchment area and the market potential for it.” But in order to become a truly successful mega-hub, Pearson will need to overcome two major limitations. The first is those exceedingly high costs that drive so many Canadians to U.S. border airports — the equivalent of 64 Boeing 737s every day, according to a 2012 report by the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications. The World Economic Forum’s 2015 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report ranked Canada 124th out of 141 countries on price competitiveness. This is a function of Canada’s “antiquated” national airport model, according to a recent review of the Canada Transportation Act (CTA) by former federal cabinet minister David Emerson. In 1994, the federal government transferred the management, operation and development of 26 major airports to non-profit airport authorities while retaining ownership of their land and fixed assets and charging them rent. The GTAA pays Ottawa $130 million a year in ground rents for Pearson. Add in government security charges and, in Ontario, a jet-fuel tax that will hit 6.7 cents a litre by April 2017, and the airport is at a real cost disadvantage compared to its competitors. Tyler Anderson/National Post Tyler Anderson/National PostHoward Eng, president and CEO of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) Pearson’s landing charges alone are “twice that at Boston Logan, a third more than at Chicago O’Hare,” said David Bentley, chief airport analyst at the Australia-based Centre for Aviation. “You know why that is? It’s because of the ridiculous rents that they have to pay.” Emerson’s review of the CTA concluded that the solution is to move towards a fully privatized, for-profit structure with equity-based financing from large institutional investors. “Will privatization make a difference to Canada? I think it probably would,” Bentley said. “Toronto would become more efficient in terms of its costs to airlines and, therefore, could compete better with the likes of Chicago and other airports in the region.” Eng at the GTAA will not say whether he’d prefer a share-capital structure to the current non-profit system. But he’s quick to emphasize that Pearson is already run like a private entity, paying down $500 million in debt over the past four years and investing $700 million of capital in airport infrastructure and amenities since 2010. Pearson has also frozen or reduced the airlines’ average aeronautical fees per passenger for eight consecutive years, for a total reduction of 30 per cent since 2007. “We run it like a private corporation,” Eng said. “My focus is on how we can generate the revenue in order to pay down the debt, reinvest in the airport and create the facility that’s needed to process the passengers.” The second limitation at Pearson is congestion. The airport’s passenger traffic has grown so rapidly that the airport’s infrastructure — its security and customs checkpoints, runways, de-icing stations and even the surrounding roads — are having trouble keeping up. “A lot of people say there’s no competition for airports because every city has one large airport,” Eng said. “But once you’re into the global hub status, in Pearson’s case almost 35 to 40 per cent of our traffic is what we call transfer traffic, they have a choice.” Passengers who are connecting to another destination are generally looking for the shortest connection time, he said. To that end, Pearson is working to improve the flow of passengers and luggage by offering things such as self-serve baggage drops, automated border kiosks and automatic luggage transfers for passengers travelling from certain global cities to other Canadian destinations. However, Eng stressed that Pearson also needs the government’s help to speed up security and border processing times, which are notoriously slow. Most passengers at Pearson wait 20 minutes for pre-board screening compared to five minutes for 95 per cent of passengers at London’s Heathrow Airport and Hong Kong International Airport. “We’re not asking for a special favour, (just) that they provide their processes in a manner that is equivalent to what the best airports are doing around the world,” he said. Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Sun/QMI Agency Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Sun/QMI AgencyTravellers at Terminal 1 at Toronto Pearson International Airport The GTAA is also working with other airports in southern Ontario, including those in Hamilton, London and Kitchener-Waterloo, to encourage them to take some of the burden off Pearson by providing more short-haul, private-jet, cargo and charter flights. Another key part of Pearson’s mega-hub strategy is to improve the notoriously bad road traffic around the airport region. According to the GTAA, only 10 per cent of Pearson’s passengers arrive on public transit compared to 39 per cent in Amsterdam and 63 per cent in Hong Kong. A recent study by the Neptis Foundation found that there are a million car trips per day in and out of the Pearson region by employees and travellers. The recent launch of the Union Pearson Express rail line to downtown Toronto has helped, but “not enough,” Eng said. “We probably need various domestic lines, special lines, high-speed rail lines,” he said, adding that the GTAA is prepared to help fund the development of a ground-transportation hub at the airport, but it will need government support as well. fp1201_mega_hub_transitIf Pearson isn’t able to lower its costs and improve its infrastructure, it could miss out on a huge potential economic opportunity. According to Frontier Economics, becoming a mega-hub will increase the airport economic zone’s GDP by 75 per cent to $62.1 billion and create more than 200,000 jobs by 2030. “Airports are changing from city airports to airport cities,” said John Kasarda, director of the Center for Air Commerce at the University of North Carolina. Kasarda devised the concept of the “aerotropolis,” a notion that airports are far more than just transportation infrastructure, but rather anchors of regional business development. “The 21st-century airport is quite different than the 20th-century airport,” he said. “They’re multi-modal, multi-functional enterprises that attract a substantial amount of commercial development.” This can create a virtuous circle of expansion, Kasarda added. “Not only does the better airline connectivity, the route structure, serve as this magnet for business, but as business grows it generates greater volumes of passengers and cargo, which supports more airline connectivity,” he said. “It’s mutually reinforcing.” Smoother connections can also help keep airlines’ costs down by generating more non-aeronautical revenue from retail, restaurants and other services. “It’s a necessity, not an option,” Kasarda said.
  11. By Eric Moskowitz | GLOBE STAFF MAY 19, 2013 The city’s on-street bike lanes are marvels to US visitors. We had pedaled half a block from the vibrant Jeanne-Mance Park, past tennis matches, a youth league football game, and the filming of a music video, when it dawned on me: We were biking in one direction, and the cars were pointed in another. But this was no rogue move by our tour guide, leading us the wrong way down a one-way street. Pavement markings invited it. Stopping ahead, guide Martin Coutu pointed out a defining feature of the city’s residential neighborhoods: the cast-iron outdoor staircases leading to the upper floors of thousands of two- and three-story walkups, allowing the homes to achieve a gracious sidewalk setback without ceding interior space for shared entries and stairwells. Still, I couldn’t help marveling over that bike lane, beckoning two-way cycling down an otherwise one-way street. I could picture just a single block like it in Cambridge and none in Boston. But as we followed Coutu along Fitz & Follwell Co.’s ’Hoods and Hidden Gems tour, it became clear that, in Montreal, it was one of many. Coursing through the city, we followed all manner of on-street bike lanes — plain old painted lanes, two-way lanes, lanes protected from traffic by plastic rods or concrete curbs — and off-street bike paths. We even saw some bicycle-specific traffic lights. Painted markings guided us through intersections, and signs told drivers to give us the right of way. More remarkably, they obeyed. Related If you go biking in Montreal... On that four-hour tour, and again riding around the city on the bike-sharing network known as Bixi, no one honked at us, not even once. It was liberating, allowing us to follow Coutu — a cheerful character with the whippet build of a bike messenger, unafraid to give a playful squeeze to the bulbous retro horn affixed to his handlebars — without any white-knuckled worry about staying alive. “The majority of our customers are American,” Shea Mayer, Fitz & Follwell’s founder, told me later, “and they all say, ‘It’s unbelievable. I live in Boston, I live in New York’ — or California, or wherever it is — ‘and not only can I not believe the amount of lanes you have, but I can’t believe we haven’t been run off the road yet.’ ” And there was plenty to see following those bike lanes, on a tour inspired by Mayer’s idea of a perfect day off in Montreal, often ranked as the most bike-friendly city in North America. Riding a stylish set of Dutch-inspired upright bikes, we weaved through the colorful neighborhoods that fan out to the east and northeast of the verdant peak known as Mont Royal, including Mile-End, Outremont, and Petite Italie. We stopped to sample wood-fired, sesame seed-covered bagels on Rue Saint-Viateur; sip exquisitely prepared cappuccino at Café Olimpico; and explore the open-air stalls of the Jean-Talon Market, the larger, locally minded cousin to the tourist-choked Atwater Market on the waterfront. Mayer started Fitz & Follwell as a one-man outfit in 2009, soon growing it into an eight-guide business and a boutique in the hip neighborhood known as The Plateau, where he rents and sells bikes and offers locally made, bike-friendly products such as a leather crossbar holster for wine bottles. The outings now include a food tour by foot and winter toboggan and snowshoe expeditions in the city’s famed parks, but the bread and butter is still the April through October bike tour. It is designed not as a stop-and-go sightseeing tour that happens to be by bicycle, but a two-wheeled immersion in, and celebration of, a place with a deeply ingrained bike culture. Having written about Boston’s push under Mayor Thomas M. Menino to end its status as the scourge of the biking world, starting from zero to add 60 miles of bike lanes, and launching the Hubway bike-share network, I was aware of the basic facts about Montreal. It boasts hundreds of miles of bike lanes, and its Bixi system, with more than 400 stations and 5,100 bikes, is four times as extensive as Hubway. But the numbers tell only part of it. This is a rare city beyond Europe where bicycling is not just a form of daring recreation or reluctant transportation but an essential, accepted part of everyday life. It is the way urbanites get to the pub, the park, the office, the grocery store. I saw bikes as fashion statements and bikes outnumbering cars, three or four fastened to every parking-meter post on the bar-, cafe-, and boutique-laden Saint-Laurent and Saint-Denis avenues. Not that I had come to Montreal intent on geeking out on the bike infrastructure and scene. My girlfriend, Hannah, and I had been drawn by the city’s traditional allures: food, culture, architectural charm, and proximity to Boston. Before we went, Hannah made a Facebook appeal for suggestions, and a friend in New York quickly responded, declaring Fitz & Follwell “the best thing I’ve ever done as a tourist” — anywhere. A Google search yielded similar superlatives on TripAdvisor, where the company holds the top ranking among all manner of Montreal tour providers, so we booked. What distinguishes Fitz & Follwell was never clearer than at the end of the tour, after we had admired more outdoor staircases and followed Coutu through a world tourists rarely see: the intricate network of back alleys that were once the unremarkable setting for so many anonymous coal deliveries and trash collections, but that have been enlivened recently with lush gardens, ivy-draped terraces, and candy-colored murals. Winding down, we ducked into a boulangerie and pedaled behind Coutu to Parc La Fontaine, where he laid a blanket on a rare stretch of unoccupied grass and we sat down to a spread of ripe strawberries and cherry tomatoes from Jean-Talon Market, made-to-order sandwiches from the boulangerie, and ice-cold craft beers. As we sipped, ate, and laughed, another group biked into view on the far side of the lawn, gathering around a leader. Not only were they not enjoying a picnic, but they were clad in matching fluorescent vests, like members of a prison road crew. “That’s the other bike tour,” Coutu said, grinning impishly. “They’re people who get lost easily.” Watching them, it was easy to forget we weren’t locals ourselves — or, at least, visitors being shown around by a savvy friend. When we got back to the shop, we lingered, reluctant to let go of the leather grips on those Dutch-inspired bikes. So we did the next best thing, renting Bixis to explore places suggested by Coutu as we had buzzed by — only so many eating stops can be squeezed into one tour. Undaunted by intermittent rain, we rode in the evening along part of the Canal-de-Lachine, a 35-year-old bike path that traces a canal abandoned after the 1959 opening of a shipping channel in the mighty St. Lawrence River, and followed another bike path along part of the city’s active industrial port and over the low-slung Pont de la Concorde bridge, reaching Île Sainte-Hélène, the leafy epicenter of Expo ’67, still anchored by the Biosphere and an amusement park. Darkness settling in, we followed a path to the other side of the island and found a trail leading to the Jacques Cartier Bridge, an 11,000-foot steel truss span that rises 162 feet above the St. Lawrence, similar in size and design to Boston’s Tobin Bridge. However crazy the idea of biking the Tobin might sound, here we found an inviting bike lane — and an exhilarating one, high above the jet-black water — running along one side of the Cartier, protected from traffic. Pedaling back to downtown, I thought about something Coutu had said: Montreal wasn’t always so bike-friendly, it just had an earlier start. I considered Boston, where bicycle counts are rising, and new lanes, albeit unprotected ones, are striped every year. As the city lights came closer, I realized I wasn’t just pedaling toward the most bikeable city on the continent. I was seeing a vision of Boston’s future. http://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/travel/2013/05/18/bike-tour-montreal/Q7r2F3g6TIuwiiITu0ypGL/story.html
  12. I've always loved PJ O'Rourke It's worth the click, and there is even a Montreal reference http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704050204576218600999993800.html?mod=googlenews_wsj
  13. Anyone who's sat at a red light for minutes on end in the middle of the night when there's no cross traffic can cheer on science for proving what we already knew: lights that adapt to the flow of traffic, instead of dictating the flow of traffic, can improve the flow of traffic. A team of researchers discovered that if you let lights locally decide how to time their signals based on how much traffic they're dealing with, and then communicate that with nearby lights, you get closer to the "green wave" of lights that keeps thing moving smoothly. The issue with the centralized, top-down system of control is that it is geared to address an average traffic situation that rarely occurs as planned. The variations in rush hour traffic mean that lights are trying to apply one solution to a vast number of situations. In their trial in Dresden, Germany the team found that traffic congestion was eased by nine percent, pedestrian congestion by 36 percent, and bus and tram traffic by 56 percent. With rush hours spreading in time and distance, the proof and implementation of this can't come soon enough. Blog: http://www.autoblog.com/2010/09/23/study-traffic-lights-should-respond-to-cars-not-other-way-arou/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+weblogsinc/autoblog+(Autoblog) To tame traffic, go with the flow Lights should respond to cars, a study concludes, not the other way around By Rachel Ehrenberg Web edition : Friday, September 17th, 2010 Traffic lights that act locally can improve traffic globally, new research suggests. By minimizing congestion, the approach could save money, reduce emissions and perhaps even quash the road rage of frustrated drivers. The new approach makes traffic lights go with the flow, rather than enslaving drivers to the tyranny of timed signals. By measuring vehicle inflow and outflow through each intersection as it occurs and coordinating lights with only their nearest neighbors, a systemwide smoothness emerges, scientists report in a September Santa Fe Institute working paper. “It’s very interesting — the approach is adaptive and the system can react,” says mechanical engineer Gábor Orosz of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. “That’s how it should be — that’s how we can get the most out of our current system.” An ultimate goal in traffic regulation is “the green wave,” the bam, bam, bam of greens that allows platoons of vehicles to move smoothly through intersection after intersection. When that happens, no drivers have to wait very long and sections of road don’t become so filled with cars that there’s no room for entering vehicles when the light does go green. To achieve this rare bliss, traffic lights usually are controlled from the top down, operating on an “optimal” cycle that maximizes the flow of traffic expected for particular times of day, such as rush hour. But even for a typical time on a typical day, there’s so much variability in the number of cars at each light and the direction each car takes leaving an intersection that roads can fill up. Combine this condition with overzealous drivers, and intersections easily become gridlocked. Equally frustrating is the opposite extreme, where a driver sits at a red light for minutes even though there’s no car in sight to take advantage of the intersecting green. “It is actually not optimal control, because that average situation never occurs,” says complex-systems scientist Dirk Helbing of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, a coauthor of the new study. “Because of the large variability in the number of cars behind each red light, it means that although we have an optimal scheme, it’s optimal for a situation that does not occur.” Helbing and his colleague Stefan Lämmer from the Dresden University of Technology in Germany decided to scrap the top-down approach and start at the bottom. They noted that when crowds of people are trying to move through a narrow space, such as through a door connecting two hallways, there’s a natural oscillation: A mass of people from one side will move through the door while the other people wait, then suddenly the flow switches direction. “It looks like maybe there’s a traffic light, but there’s not. It’s actually the buildup of pressure on the side where people have to wait that eventually turns the flow direction,” says Helbing. “We thought we could maybe apply the same principle to intersections, that is, the traffic flow controls the traffic light rather than the other way around.” Their arrangement puts two sensors at each intersection: One measures incoming flow and one measures outgoing flow. Lights are coordinated with every neighboring light, such that one light alerts the next, “Hey, heavy load coming through.” That short-term anticipation gives lights at the next intersection enough time to prepare for the incoming platoon of vehicles, says Helbing. The whole point is to avoid stopping an incoming platoon. “It works surprisingly well,” he says. Gaps between platoons are opportunities to serve flows in other directions, and this local coordination naturally spreads throughout the system. “It’s a paradoxical effect that occurs in complex systems,” says Helbing. “Surprisingly, delay processes can improve the system altogether. It is a slower-is-faster effect. You can increase the throughput — speed up the whole system — if you delay single processes within the system at the right time, for the right amount of time.” The researchers ran a simulation of their approach in the city center of Dresden. The area has 13 traffic light–controlled intersections, 68 pedestrian crossings, a train station that serves more than 13,000 passengers on an average day and seven bus and tram lines that cross the network every 10 minutes in opposite directions. The flexible self-control approach reduced time stuck waiting in traffic by 56 percent for trams and buses, 9 percent for cars and trucks, and 36 percent for pedestrians crossing intersections. Dresden is now close to implementing the new system, says Helbing, and Zurich is also considering the approach. Traffic jams aren’t just infuriating, they cost time and money, says Orosz. Estimates suggest that in one year, the U.S. driving population spends a cumulative 500,000 years in traffic at a cost of about $100 billion. And the roads are just going to get more congested. The optimal way of dealing with such congestion is to take an approach like Helbing’s and combine it with technologies that deal with driver behavior, Orosz says. Car sensors that detect the distance between your bumper and the car in front of you can prevent a sweep of brake-slamming that can tie up traffic, for example. “In general these algorithms improve traffic, but maybe not as much as they do on paper because we are still human,” he says. “It is still humans driving the cars.” http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/63481/title/To_tame_traffic,_go_with_the_flow
  14. Un ami à moi m'a refilé ce lien. Il nous lit parfois mais n'est pas membre. Il m'a dit que ça nous intéresserait. En effet!! Bien qu'il faille toujours demeurer prudent avec ce genre d'exercice, ça détonne tout de même dans le paysage médiatique actuel concernant la circulation à Montréal! Enjoy! http://gizmodo.com/5838333/the-most-horrific-traffic-in-the-entire-world
  15. Roads safe, Quebec insists AMY LUFT, The Gazette Published: 7 hours ago Quebec's Transport Department wants drivers to know the province's highways are safe, despite a metre-wide pothole found on the Turcot Interchange. Still, the road damage reminded some that action needs to be taken quickly to ensure the safety of motorists. "It definitely enforces the point that structures are in bad shape," said Laval Mayor Gilles Vaillancourt, head of a coalition that wants better funding of infrastructure in Quebec. "The bridges won't be demolished tomorrow, but we need to make sure what remains is not in a beautiful state but in a solid state." Engineers have confirmed that the pothole discovered Friday on Highway 15, just north of the exits for Highway 20 and the Ville Marie Expressway, was simply the result of deteriorating asphalt and concrete and was not a structural issue, like those plaguing many Quebec roadways. "Of course, we'd like to reassure people of the safety of the Turcot Interchange," Transport Quebec official Nicole Ste-Marie said. "What happened (Friday) was not related to roadwork on other access ramps." Highway 15 through the Turcot Interchange was reopened to traffic at 7 a.m. yesterday after overnight paving between the exits for Highways 20 and 720 (the Ville Marie Expressway) and the Décarie Expressway. Two lanes were closed about 8:45 a.m. Friday when a motorist drove into the pothole, which ran one metre deep straight through the span. The lanes were shut for about five hours. One lane was shut again Friday afternoon because repairs could not be completed. Structural repairs are to begin tomorrow on 10 of the 12 access ramps to the Turcot Interchange. The work had already been scheduled this week to take advantage of reduced traffic during Quebec's construction holiday. Highways 15, 20 and 720 converge on the Turcot Interchange, which carries an estimated 280,000 vehicles every day. As for the rest of the province's highways and structures, Ste-Marie urged motorists not to worry. "We'll eventually be doing some repairs (to structures), but if there's a problem or safety concern, Transport Quebec never neglects to tell the public." Vaillancourt said he is satisfied with the measures being taken to maintain the overpasses before they are replaced or repaired. "I've discussed the issue with engineers and I've been reassured the upkeep is good," he said, adding that rebuilding the spans "is not going to happen overnight." Vaillancourt is head of the Coalition pour le rénouvellement des infrastructures du Québec. Its members include the provincial federation of municipalities, the Conseil du Patronat employers lobby, and industry and professional associations. Repairs are to continue as planned on the rest of Quebec's troubled overpasses. After the collapse of the de la Concorde Blvd. overpass in Laval in September 2006, which killed five people, and the subsequent inspection of 135 overpasses deemed to be in questionable condition, Quebec has budgeted $2.7 billion for roadwork this year. The lion's share is to be spent to repair or replace overpasses. It's part of a four-year, $12-billion investment to upgrade Quebec's crumbling infrastructure. Transport Quebec said in April the province would replace 25 overpasses and tear down three others. Major repairs on 25 more spans began at that time. At least three of the overpasses to be replaced are in Montreal. They include two on Highway 138 over Monette St. at the Mercier Bridge, both scheduled to be replaced by 2013, and one on Gouin Blvd. over Highway 19, to be replaced in 2009. The Dorval Interchange is to be torn down, though no date has been set. Transport Quebec wants to assure drivers the span is well maintained. "While it will eventually be demolished, right now we are doing sporadic repairs ... to make sure safety is maintained," Ste-Marie said, adding the Dorval Circle is to be reconfigured to ease traffic woes in the area, not because it is unsafe. As for the current state of Quebec's overpasses, Vaillancourt said he's a little nervous, despite the progress. "It's easy to know when there's a hole in the pavement, but it's hard to know when a bridge will collapse," he said. "You never know." [email protected] http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/story.html?id=b45ac453-fbf9-45aa-8380-c55e10568c42&p=2
  16. Lamest Excuse of the Week: Potholes as a "natural traffic calming measure" by Sam Abuelsamid on Apr 17th 2009 at 7:31PM Here in Michigan, we're used to hearing plenty of worthless excuses about the crap condition of our roads. However, this one takes the cake. A local council in Essex, England has deemed broken roads a "natural traffic calming measure." If you didn't catch that, "traffic calming" is a euphemism used by politicians when discussing measures to slow the traffic flow through an area. Generally, the "calming" involves taking active measures, such as installing speed bumps, round-abouts or narrowing the road. To our knowledge it's never been (openly) done by neglecting what most people would consider one of the duties of a government -- maintaining basic infrastructure. According to a councillor in Navestock, repairing roads just encourages people to drive faster. Of course, the counter argument involves safety. Leaving a road marked with craters causes drivers to swerve, as well as damaging suspension components and wheels. It also poses a hazard to motorcyclists and bike riders. Fortunately, the county council appears to be less short-sighted and plans to over-ride the local council and fix the roads. http://www.autocar.co.uk/News/NewsArticle.ASpx?AR=239565
  17. 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
  18. 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.
  19. China's nine-day traffic jam stretches 100km (AFP) – 16 hours ago BEIJING — Thousands of vehicles were bogged down Monday in a more than 100-kilometre (62-mile) traffic jam leading to Beijing that has lasted nine days and highlights China's growing road congestion woes. The Beijing-Tibet expressway slowed to a crawl on August 14 due to a spike in traffic by cargo-bearing heavy trucks heading to the capital, and compounded by road maintenance work that began five days later, the Global Times said. The state-run newspaper said the jam between Beijing and Jining city had given birth to a mini-economy with local merchants capitalising on the stranded drivers' predicament by selling them water and food at inflated prices. That stretch of highway linking Beijing with the northern province of Hebei and the Inner Mongolia region has become increasingly prone to massive jams as the capital of more than 20 million people sucks in huge shipments of goods. Traffic slowed to a snail's pace in June and July for nearly a month, according to earlier press reports. The latest clog has been worsened by the road improvement project, made necessary by highway damage caused by a steady increase in cargo traffic, the Global Times said. China has embarked in recent years on a huge expansion of its national road system but soaring traffic periodically overwhelms the grid. The congestion was expected to last into mid-September as the road project will not be finished until then, the newspaper said. The roadway is a major artery for the supply of produce, coal and other goods to Beijing. Video: http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/World-News/A-100km-Long-Traffic-Jam-In-Beijing-Enters-Its-Ninth-Day-And-Could-Continue-For-A-Month/Article/201008415702670?lpos=World_News_First_Home_Article_Teaser_Region_4&lid=ARTICLE_15702670_A_100km-Long_Traffic_Jam_In_Beijing_Enters_Its_Ninth_Day_And_Could_Continue_For_A_Month
  20. Jeremy Searle — Reviving Montreal's 'coffee shop' economy Unfortunately for all of us, Montreal seems to have descended to the level of a coffee shop economy in which expensive cups of coffee are status symbols for people whose personal finances are often in a tight way. Recently, I wrote about the need to make the public investments to put our downtown into shape by buying up some of the more strategic empty lots and using them either for new park space or for the building of public housing. Today, I want to look at generating economic activity and wealth in the western part of town and on an island-wide level. Reviving the west end economy Commercial: Back in the bad old days of ex-mayor Jean Drapeau, our city was cut in two for the excavation of the Decarie Expressway trench and since then business to the west of the highway has largely languished. While it is not practical to cover over the Decarie Expressway, it would be relatively simple to hide it and to thus knit our city back together again. All that is necessary is to build an extra section of bridge on each side of the Decarie overpasses (especially at Sherbrooke Street) and to then either erect buildings (à-la old London Bridge) or put in park space backed by barriers high enough to make the highway invisible. Once the highway “disappeared” and the city became one again there would be no obstacle to the expansion of commerce and business activity continuing to flow west instead of hitting a wall at Decarie. Meanwhile, the businesses on and around the Decarie service roads heading north and south would also benefit from having the highway hidden. It would be a very simple matter to clamp on an extra lane of roadway (attached to the highway walls with cantilevered supports) that could be used either as bicycle path or as host to additional greenspace. Residential: In order to boost economic activity and bring down the average costs of maintaining the city it is also necessary to attract in more people — both to share the load and to support local business and commerce. The most obvious location to attract thousands of higher end taxpayers, investors and spenders would be the Glen Yard site currently earmarked for the new McGill hospital. Clearly, high value land should be used for activities that directly or indirectly generate the taxes that finance hospitals and other such publicly funded institutions. Given its superb location at the intersection of Westmount and eastern NDG the Glen Yards site, with its easy access to both the Vendome Metro station and the downtown Ville-Marie highway, is a perfect location for residential development. Ten-thousand or so new high end condo dwellers in the west end would both boost the economy and throw a massive injection of extra taxes into the Montreal public economy. The McGill hospital could be better built on the Blue Bonnets site at Jean Talon and Decarie — a site that has access to the same Metro line (Namur) and similar or better highway access. In addition, having the hospital there would force the provincial government to ante up for the much needed Cavendish/Royalmount road link which would also re-route much traffic from the Trans Canada to Decarie, thus lessening congestion at the major intersection. Boosting the island-wide economy: For any society or economy to function well, each generation has to make the effort to leave some substantial legacy for the next unless a wearing down and eventual collapse is to be accepted. Sometimes it is investments in canals or railways or roads or airports or dockyards or cultural and recreational facilities and sometimes it is simply my parents’ generation fighting to save the world. Sometimes it is simply a question of building on the shoulders that they have set us on and sometimes it is a question of rebuilding or repairing that which previous generations have already built for us. Sometimes it is simply a question of finishing the job that our predecessors failed or forgot to complete. Unfortunately, since the epoch of ex-mayor Drapeau and his establishment of the modern Montreal tradition of ignoring infrastructure maintenance in favour of frills, little has been done in terms of maintenance and our city is falling into disrepair. One way to boost the Montreal economy would be to undertake a massive program of road and water main rebuilding. This would have the same positive effect on our economy as any other kind of construction boom and would also help us to grow our tourist economy while making us generally feel better about ourselves. Obviously, our leaders would have to convince the federal and provincial governments to come up with a large chunk of the money necessary to implement such a scheme. However, the single greatest guaranteed boost for the west end and for the Montreal and regional economy would be the completion of the Decarie Expressway (15) with a direct link to the Laurentian Autoroute (15) to the north. The tunnel under Ville St. Laurent to connect the two together would get vehicles north and south without unnecessary delays related to detouring onto the TransCanada while the TransCan itself would be freed from most of its traffic congestion. The tunnel link has already been studied and approved by the Ministry of Transport but no one seems interested in actually getting it dug. The Decarie/Laurentian tunnel would eliminate uncounted lost hours in pointless idling and back-ups, lessen commuter trip times, save business money, get us all around faster and more efficiently and make our supporting road systems function more smoothly — which would in turn give our economy a much-needed shot in the arm. And, since better flowing traffic generates less pollution, making the traffic flow better would also help to achieve environmental objectives. Does anybody have a shovel? Let’s start digging. http://thesuburban.com/content.jsp?sid=34883087211204213941721025245&ctid=1000004&cnid=1015175
  21. Une autre idée de Sir Branson. Un taxi Moto qui évite le traffic de Londre d'une façon assez réussi. À Montréal? http://www.virginlimobike.com
  22. 7,492,842 vs 7,197,456 for last year, an increase of 4.1%. http://www.admtl.com/en/node/10866
  23. Imaginez la Scène, 3 voies, la 1ere pour tourner à Gauche, celle du centre pour aller tout droit et la dernière pour tourner à droite. Le cycliste qui veux allez à gauche devrait logiquement se placer entre la 1ere et la 2e voie. Malheureusement c'est rarement le cas et plu souvent qu'autre chose, les cyclistes, ne font pas leur stop ou leur lumières ici à Montréal. Voilà qu'à Portland ils sont en trian d'essayer un projet pilote pour les cycliste qui suivent les règles. qu'en pensez vous. Sources: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/03/portlands_bike_boxes.php After recognizing the economic benefits of creating a network of bike paths on city streets, Portland, Oregon has unveiled a new traffic tool designed to ensure cyclists' safety in the city. The bike box is a bright green rectangle painted onto asphalt at intersections and reserved exclusively for bikes. By moving car traffic back several feet from intersections, space is created for bikers at the front of the line, giving them visibility and a measure of priority while waiting at streetlights. The bike box was created as a response to traffic accidents involving right-turning cars running over cyclists, known as a "right hook" accident. The bike box is meant to give bikers greater visibility by positioning them directly in front of waiting cars. Green-colored bike paths will also lead to intersections, and right turns will not be allowed during red lights. Oregon law requires cars to yield to bikes in bike lanes. The bike boxes are being installed at 14 particularly accident-prone intersections, and the city plans to monitor the intersections to see how the bike boxes affecting cyclist safety. An educational campaign, including signs and billboards, is also planned. For a first look at pictures of Portland's new bike boxes, check out this link at BikePortland.org. Also, check out the City of Portland's brochure explaining the bike box here.
  24. Read more: http://www.westislandgazette.com/news/32005 Got to love election time Aren't these the same people that said we would get trains in the West Island?
  25. Source copenhagenize.com I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Or maybe a big one. In the race for reestablishing the bicycle as a feasible, accepted and respected form of transport, many cities are keen to bang their drums to show off their bicycle goodness. All of the noise is good noise - every bike lane, bike rack, lowered speed limit, et al are great news and important for the symbolism of cementing the bicycle on the urban landscape. The secret is this. There is a city in North America that is steadily working towards planting bicycle seeds. I often see internet lists about the most bicycle friendly cities in North America and just as often this city isn't on them. Which is wrong. The reason is a cultural one. English North America looks in the mirror when measuring itself. Europe is another planet and measuring yourself up against the bicycle boom in cities like Paris, Seville and Barcelona won't let you top any bicycle traffic lists. Fair enough. Compare yourself with other cities in your region and measure your progress. Nothing wrong with that. This secret city, despite being firmly placed on the North American continent, still gets ignored and overlooked. (No, it's not Portland) It's in a region that doesn't speak an English dialect. (No, it's not Wisconsin) A region that has its own unique cultural heritage and identity. (No, it's not Alberta) This city, and region, don't figure in the daily consciousness of most North Americans because they're just too damned "foreign". Ish. But I was there very recently and I was amazed with what I saw. And I've seen stuff. I saw the most impressive bicycle rush hour one afternoon. More impressive and with greater numbers than anywhere else in North America. By far. I saw more separated bicycle infrastructure in this city than anywhere else in North America. One of the cycle tracks dates from 1986! Beat that. You can't. Sure, many of the cycle tracks are on-street bi-directional ones, which we threw out of our Best Practice in Denmark a couple of decades ago, but they area there and they are used and they are a good start. I rode on a cycle track that features 9000 daily cyclists. And this is nothing new for them. I stayed in a borough in the city - one of the highest-density areas in North America - that has one of the lowest car-ownership rates in North America and that can boast a modal split for bicycles of over 9%. City-wide it's at about 2.3%, just so you know. This borough showed me that bicycle culture is alive and well and that focusing solely on bicycle commuting doesn't get you anywhere. The bicycle can get you to work and back, sure, but it about making the bicycle a part of your daily life. There are, after all, schools to drop off at, shops to shop at, cafés to sip at, cinemas to be entertained at, and so on. This city is a role model for a continent. It can teach lessons worth learning if there were people from other cities willing to learn. It has the country's largest cyclist organisation who have been representing Citizen Cyclists for 40 years. I ate at their café, too! How cool is that. I had lunch with the Mayor of the aforementioned borough and saw in his eyes the kind of visionary politician that every city should have. A man who dares to believe that his vision of his city's future can be achieved and who isn't afraid to suddenly change a busy street to one-way for cars and put in bicycle lanes in both directions on either side of said street. I felt his passion and was charged by it. This is a city that can put on two bike rides / events in three days, organised by the aforementioned cyclists organisation. The first one drew 17,000 people on bicycles for an evening ride. The next one drew 25,000 for a 50 km tour of the city. Read those numbers again. 17,000 on a Friday evening. Then 25,000 on the Sunday. This is a city that fascinates me. Not only for what it is doing for bicycle traffic and culture but for it's stunning liveable-ness. I live in what is regarded as one of the world's most liveable cities. I can go to other like-minded cities and feel at home. Then I land in this city and wonder how the hell they do it. How the hell it many neighbourhoods are lightyears ahead of Copenhagen, Amsterdam and anywhere else in the way the streets are used by people. For all the talk of Liveable Streets, this city lives the dream. Walking the walk and talking the talk. I am simply obsessed by this. I simply need to find out, in detail, how it can be. I want the recipe. I'm willing to bust my ass to find it, write it down, absorb it. I want to be taught. I'm still working on my love affair with their french fries served with gravy and cheese curds, but I have seen North America's promised land. I've been to the mountaintop (and rode up and down their mountain and hills on a three-speed upright bike... easy) and I've seen down the other side. Every waking moment... okay, that's an exaggeration... I'm thinking about returning. To experience, to learn, to soak up their the city's vibe.