From the category archives:

My Montreal

In the latest from the ridiculous Montréal sait faire files: These painted lines directing cyclists to ride down the underpass on Atwater… on the sidewalk:

New paint on the sidewalk on both the northbound and southbound sides indicates that both cyclists and pedestrians are permitted to use it.

[ . . . ]

The southbound side of Atwater Avenue is of particular concern, because cyclists going down the steep hill can gain speed quickly.

[ . . . ]

The city says the new design is part of its strategy to make underpasses safer for cyclists.

The same thing has been done at other problem spots.

Officials say there is no room for a dedicated bike lane on Atwater Avenue — but Sauvé disagrees.

Agreed. I cycle down Atwater every day on my way to work, and I’d NEVER feel safe going down that hill on the sidewalk, no matter what the painted lines say.

Vélo Québec: We desperately need a proper separated bike path linking the De Maisonneuve path, Atwater Market, and the Lachine Canal bike path. That entire stretch is needlessly dangerous. At present, there’s no good way to navigate past the taxi stand near Place Alexis-Nihon, the poor visibility through the tunnel, the Lionel-Groulx metro station (with buses pulling in and out), the Atwater turnoff for the tunnel, and the pedestrian-only zones near the canal.

The whole area isn’t well thought out for cyclists at the moment. And there’s PLENTY of space for a bike lane, if only the city had the political will to build one.

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So, I’m of two minds here about Heather Backman being let go from the CHOM morning show.

On the one hand: Not very classy of Bell Media to lay her off right after the 5-year anniversary party. I know there’s never a good timing for a layoff, but this was especially poorly timed, IMHO.

On the other hand — personal opinion here — Heather B. was a terrible morning host. I like and respect Terry DiMonte most of the time. He’s a pro. But Heather as his sidekick was just cringe-worthy. Most of the time she played into this stereotype of being a vapid airhead, which — if it was an act, was demeaning to all talented female broadcasters everywhere — and if it wasn’t an act, YEESH. Half the time, even Terry seemed to be trying to bite his tongue to avoid telling her off for some moronic comment or another. I have no idea how she got to the 5-year mark on the show in the first place. I had predicted she wouldn’t last 5 weeks. And CHOM made it worse by painting her as a ditzy idiot in station promos, an image she played into. Whether they thought that their demographic wanted to hear this (ew) or whether they’re really that tone deaf, I am not sure. But it was painful to listen to either way.

There are so many talented women in the radio biz, and most of them don’t get the opportunities they deserve. I’d like to see a female morning show co-host or even (wake up, Bell, it’s 2017) host in the future. But Heather just wasn’t it.

Best wishes to you, Heather. I hope it all works out for you. But I can’t say I’m too upset in terms of the impact this will have on my morning sanity. A little less yelling at my radio will be good for me.


“It’s not my job”: Montreal’s construction woes in four words


My street in the Plateau Mont-Royal is being dug up again. It’s the fifth time that this particular intersection has been dug up in the past three years. Or maybe it’s the sixth. In all honesty, I’ve lost count. The area has been under construction so constantly since I moved there in 2011 that I’ve […]

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Montreal proposes new laws for cycling


I’ve long held that the highway code is outdated in that it prioritizes the safety of drivers over the safety of pedestrians and cyclists. Now, some lawmakers are finally catching on. This week, the City of Montreal released a series of recommendations to the provincial transport ministry on how we can make our laws better […]

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Has Bixi oversold its memberships?


Bixi’s back with a vengeance this season. Last fall, the city of Montreal took over management of the financially-burdened company and announced that it had adopted a plan to fund and keep the beloved bikeshare service going for at least 5 years. This season’s launch was accompanied by celebrity bike designs, launch parties, and even […]

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Excuse Watch: Luc Ferrandez on Plateau Snow Removal


Luc Ferrandez, the borough mayor of Plateau Mont-Royal, is short on action and long on excuses when it comes to snow removal this winter. Here’s a summary of some of the best ones he’s come up with so far: January 12: We’re not trying to save money; it’s just that too many blue-collar workers called […]

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Quebec schoolboard elections: Why you should care


Folks, this is important: Quebec is having school board elections in November, and for the first time, the position of Chair is directly electable by the population. My wonderful aunt, Suanne Stein Day, is running for re-election as LBPSB Chair. It’s because she’s wonderful, and not just because she’s family, that I’d urge you to […]

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Sainte-Marie-Saint-Jacques goes Quebec Solidaire


There will almost certainly be a recount in my home riding of Sainte-Marie-Saint-Jacques, won by QS’s Manon Massé by a margin of only 91 votes over Liberal Anna Klisko. Obviously, I would have preferred a Liberal victory over a Quebec Solidaire one here. The QS is staunchly pro-sovereignty, militantly anti-English, and has pie-in-sky ideas about […]

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Montreal needs a reality check on customer service


We Montrealers have a love-hate relationship with our service industry. On the one hand, we bitch and moan about surly store clerks and wait staff. On the other hand, we have the unfortunate habit of viewing it as a point of pride. We’re not like those Americans who greet the public with overenthusiastic fakery, we boast. We’re better than that. Our service sector may be grumpy and indifferent, but câlisse!, at least it’s honest.

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How do you solve a problem like Bixi?


Montreal’s bike-sharing system is used by thousands of people, myself included, to get around. Montreal is a city where the ubiquitous orange cone is practically a symbol, with road closures and sinkholes and traffic nightmares and transit service outages the norm as opposed to the exception. In this context, Bixi is often the least stressful […]

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