Make a big noise today. Lots of demos to chose from, have a look here.

Looks like one of the biggest and loudest will be at the Jazz Fest site, at 2pm sharp:

A 350 second demonstation against Mr. Harper.

Why 350 seconds?

“Scientists say that 350 parts per million CO2 in the atmosphere is the safe limit for humanity. Learn more about 350 – what it means, where it came from, and how to get there.”



A nice piece in the Hour on the Turcot debate, from last week.

In these last days before the vote, with scandals rupturing everywhere, it is anybody’s guess what will happen.

Montreal historically gets about 35% of voters out for the municipal election: will this change?

Consider that:

both provincial political machines deeply involved now (some PQsts are supporting Tremblay, so the lines are not so clear);

the municipal arena has become an important source of contracts (e.g, the $350 million dollar water meter contract);

all the papers are boiling with municipal election stuff, so you can’t help but notice.

key themes cut to the heart of what our city is and could be, like the Turcot/mass transit/less cars Trifecta.


The election takes place on a Sunday, for many people, a day of rest.

My guess is: 39% voter turn-out.

Anybody? Anybody?

Here is a nice summary of what happened in San Francisco, in the 1990s, prepared by a graduate student at McGill’s School of Urban Planning, with some lessons learned for Montreal.

In a nutshell, a group of engaged citizens managed to persuade the transport ministry to run a set of “mass transit” friendly criteria through their Monster Model.

(Every transport ministry has one of these, which they use to test different traffic hypotheses to see where bottlenecks occur. Kinda like SimCity, but more complex.)

The results were striking!

Read on to find out what happened: Would the MTQ agree to run some different hypotheses through their Monster Model?

Well, would they?


Lewis, S. (1998). Land use and transportation: Envisioning regional sustainability. Transport Policy 5: 147-161.

In 1994, and under political pressure, San Francisco’s Metropolitan Transport Commission (MTC) (the equivalent of our MTQ) finally agreed to use the assumptions recommended by the Regional Alliance for Transit (RAFT) citizens’ group in their computer-modelling program.  RAFT’s recommendations outperformed those of the MTC.  The new computer modelling results provided clear and quantitative support for the viability of alternatives to car-centric development, and demonstrated the redundancy of MTC-proposed freeways.


RAFT, a group of activists and analysts, was critical of the MTC’s 1994 transportation plan for the region of San Francisco.  The plan, they argued, lacked cost-effective transit solutions, was based on faulty assumptions, and, if implemented, would negatively impact the region.   Curious of how RAFT alternative plans would fare in their model, MTC planners invited RAFT to detail an alternative set of assumptions for a “RAFT run”.  This run assumed the same population and employment growth as the MTC run.  Results showed that the RAFT run significantly outperformed the MTC plans.

The MTC approach

The MTC approach included 500 new lane miles of freeway and 2-person carpool lanes, which would effectively lighten the load on existing mixed-use lanes.  This approach had three major shortcomings:

  1. It didn’t address the effects of transportation capacity on land use, economics and demographics.
  2. It didn’t assess alternative solutions, comparing only “project” and “no project” scenarios.
  3. It re-enforced the subsidization of car culture and sprawl.

The RAFT approach

RAFT assumptions centred on pricing reform, land use changes and a redirection of investment.   Assumptions included:

  • Financial incentives to leave your car at home (a cashout of $3.00/day, offered to employees if they choose to trade in their free parking place).
  • Public investment redirected towards transit.
  • Protection of the greenbelt, promotion of “COMUTO” (compact, mixed use, transit-oriented) development, and brownfields revitalization.
  • Cancellation of most new freeways and a case study where more minor road improvements were tested as an alternative scenario.

Key Results

  • While there would be no change in travel speed, mass-transit ridership was projected to go up by 24%, and 128 million gallons less fuel would be consumed per year following RAFT’s recommendations.
  • The case study revealed the large impacts of small, co-ordinated interventions.

Lessons for Montreal

  • The MTC’s computer model, designed to test MTC plans, provided compelling support for RAFT’s proposals.
  • The RAFT run provides quantitative evidence for the effectiveness of modest, strategic policies in achieving multiple objectives.
  • Despite ample evidence in favour of RAFT’s recommendations, the MTC claimed that it lacked the authority to implement such plans, underscoring the power and importance of political context.

Summary prepared by:

Sarah Hrdlicka

CURA: Making Mega-Projects Work for Communities


One of many transport modeling simulations you can see on Youtube:

The OpenPlanningProject explores The Embarcadero

The OpenPlanningProject explores The Embarcadero

This is a great treatment of  SanFransisco’s famous freeway removal.

Premier Jean Charest is about to pronounce on the Turcot Interchange project.

This inner-city highway intersection, with its 280,000 cars per day, has become a symbol–an icon–of Quebec’s historic attachment to the automobile.

The commuter-run East-West corridor of this highway must be dismantled. It must be decommissioned.

We  might want to do this quickly, following Seoul’s lead. Say, replace 75% of the East-West traffic volumes by 2016 with a new, modern, high-speed light rail link along the path of the highway, already government owned and familiar to commuters.

Literally REMOVE THE HIGHWAY, and build a fantastic new linear park running the entire length of the island, along the current pathway of Highway 20.

A little urban boulevard would enable some few to get in during off peak periods.

Or we may want to do this in three phases.

First phase: reduce volumes by 20% by 2016, by implementing a variety of mass-transit solutions.

By 2020, we could slowly decommission the highway and redirect traffic onto a couple of urban boulevards.

But one thing is absolutely clear: the Government’s current  proposal, to rebuild this highway intersection for a 10% INCREASE in traffic volumes by 2016, is exactly the OPPOSITE direction that Quebec must take now. This is absolutely unacceptable, for so many reasons:

1) 50% of Montreal’s greenhouse gases come from cars and trucks (estimates vary between 40 and 65%, but Montreal’s public health authority estimates 49%): Kyoto Two (anticipated as the result of talks at Copenhagen in December 2009) will require drastic new targets that must mean deep changes to our culture and way of life, such as our addiction to the automobile.

2) Our addiction to the automobile is fundamentally antisocial, imposing a large health cost on inner city residents by car-users who live in the fresh air of the suburbs, not only in terms of air quality, but also increased noise, accidents and stress. Inner city residents suffer because of suburban residents’ behaviour.

3) Building this highway project imposes a structure and pattern on Montreal, that Montreal does not want. Mayor Tremblay and all the candidates vying for his job in the upcoming municipal election agree on this. Quebec’s proposal for the Turcot directly contradicts Montreal’s Transport Plan.

(Indeed, it contradicts most policies established by Quebec’s own ministries, as well as other Federal and Municipal policies. Our elected people seem to be good at talking “environment”, but have a hard time walking it.)

All cities must face this addiction to the car… and start to undo it. These ribbons of concrete are perhaps our cities greatest historical error of the 20th Century.

The car is wonderful invention, but it must be tamed. Like any vice (good wine, television), we must take it in moderation.

Commuters must have another option, a mass-transit option. That option must be affordable, comfortable, and faster than taking the car.

Important to the Quebec debate, Quebec BUILDS mass-transit solutions, right here in Quebec. We design them here, and we make them here.

Why not implement them here?

On this day, Blog Action Day, I offer this appeal to Quebec decision-makers:

Do the right thing.

Do it for the health of Montrealers.

Do it for the health of the planet.

Set an example to the rest of the world’s cities and highway builders.

Set Quebec up as a solution-leader, a solution-builder, a solution-exporter.

Jean Charest, I hope you are listening.

Terrasse Dufferin

Dufferin Terrace

In the conversation about potential uses for the Turcot yards it is important to consider similar cases in other cities.  This is a view of Dufferin Terrace crowned by Chateau Frontenac in Quebec city.  We might not have a Château Frontenac in Saint Raymond but our Falaise St Jacques is very similar to this in scale.



Painting by Henry Buszard

Painting by Henry Buszard

While we wait to find out from Line Bauchamp what her recommendation will be on the future of transportation in Montreal, the interchange continues to inspire debate, dreams and the imaginations of local residents.

Québec, le 2 octobre 2009 – La ministre du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et des Parcs, Line Beauchamp, a annoncé la tenue d’une consultation publique en vue de fixer la prochaine cible de réduction des émissions de gaz à effet de serre (GES) du Québec à l’horizon 2020.

«À l’approche de la Conférence de Copenhague sur le climat où l’ensemble de la communauté internationale se donnera de nouveaux objectifs de réduction d’émissions de GES pour la période post-2012, nous, Québécoises et Québécois, sommes collectivement appelés à définir notre contribution à ce nouvel effort mondial de lutte contre les changements climatiques», a indiqué la ministre.

La consultation, qui se fera dans le cadre d’une commission parlementaire de l’Assemblée nationale, se déroulera du 22 octobre au 4 novembre 2009.

Le document de consultation intitulé «Le Québec et les changements climatiques : quelle cible de réduction d’émissions de GES pour le Québec à l’horizon 2020?», rédigé afin d’alimenter la réflexion des participants, est disponible sur le site Internet du MDDEP – http://

Rapport de situation sur la sécurité routière dans le monde: World Health Organization

Il est temps d’agir

Environ 1,3 million de personnes meurent chaque année dans le monde sur les routes et entre 20 et 50 millions sont victimes d’accidents non mortels.

Bien que de nombreux pays aient commencé à appliquer des mesures de sécurité routière, il n’y a eu jusqu’ici aucune évaluation mondiale de la sécurité routière qui permette d’évaluer les progrès accomplis au fil du temps.

Le rapport de situation sur la sécurité routière dans le monde, qui utilise des données tirées d’une enquête standardisée, est la première évaluation globale de la situation en matière de sécurité routière dans 178 pays.

Il ressort de ce rapport que les accidents de la circulation restent un problème de santé publique important, en particulier dans les pays à revenu faible et intermédiaire. Les piétons, les cyclistes et les motocyclistes représentent près de la moitié des victimes de la route, ce qui souligne la nécessité d’accorder davantage d’attention à ces usagers dans les programmes de sécurité routière. Il ressort également du rapport que, dans de nombreux pays, les lois sur la sécurité routière devraient être renforcées et qu’elles devraient être plus strictement appliquées.

Le rapport de situation sur la sécurité routière dans le monde montre clairement qu’une action plus énergique serait nécessaire pour rendre les routes plus sûres.

Commandez dès maintenant chez Les Éditions La Liberté

Téléphone : 418-658-3640    Télécopie : 418-658-3763

Courriel :

Publication hors série

World Health Organization

ISBN-13    9789242563849 ISBN-10    9242563846

Français     2009        297   pages

N° de commande    21500761

Prix: $58,75 CA

Nous avons besoin de votre aide dans la traduction du livre “Montréal at the Crossroads”.

Pour tout observateur de la scene quebecoise, il est bien evident qu’un livre en anglais sur un enjeu majeur, un debat de société, comme est le Turcot…tombe immediatement dans un trou noir.  Il aura aucun impact dans le debat publique.

Les editeurs dudit livre n’a aucun illusion a cet egard, mais nous n’avons ni les ressources, ni le temps de la faire traduit par des moyens traditionels.

Alors, est entré l’idée de faire un appel aux collaborateurs et trices de nous aider!

A notre avis, c’est la premiere fois au Quebec qu’on assai de faire traduire une document par voie ce qui est appelé “Social Translation” ou traduction communautaire. Merci au fils de Pieter Sijpkes, auteur de la 3e chapitre dudit livre, pour votre inspiration. Merci au Book Oven, egalement, pour votre interface!

Etes vous piqué par le sujet? Avez vous des bonnes competences en anglais est une excellente commande de la langue de Molière? Voulez-vous aider? (We could also use a French to English translation on the French chapters…!)


Voici le “comment faire”:

Go to
Join by creating a username and password
Find the book Montréal at the Crossroads
**Do not use Bite Size Edits!**
Choose a chapter you would like to edit.
Hover over the “plus” sign beside your preferred chapter and click on “Edit”
Replace the English parts with your French translation… (or vice versa…)
Don’t forget to save!!

Merci en avance pour votre aide!!

En retour, on vous donnes acces gratuit aux chapitres du livre: Bon Lecture!