Archive for the ‘Roads’ Category

Bixi Tracking

Last February, Bixi announced that it had been chosen for the public bike project in Minneapolis and Melbourne. Bixi will now be on 3 continents!

Short comparison of the current Bixi systems:

City Bikes Stations Bike docks

Ratio of bikes / docks

Montreal (phase I + II) 5000 400 7800 assume 65%
Boston 2500 290 3750 67%
London 6000 400 10000 60%
Melbourne 610 52 1000 61%
Minneapolis 1000 75 1300 77%
Toronto (2011) 1000 80 1500 66%
Washington DC (fall 2010) 1100 114 1700 assume 65%
Univ of Washington(fall 2010) 30 3 45 assume 65%

If we use the average ratio of 65% there are 7800 bike docks in Montréal. (Italics are calculated numbers – not provided in press releases)

According to this document (7MB download), New York city is talking about a project with 10000 bikes in the first phase (Manhattan below 60th street & parts of Brooklyn).  If this first phase is successful, it could be expanded to 49000 bikes in all boroughs except Staten Island.

The report seems to favour the Bixi technology for several reasons:

  • Since excavation of streets to install the bike station is not needed, the capital costs are lower.
  • No need for hydro hook up since the stations are solar powered (the smart bike stations in Washington DC have a electricity meter on a pole next to each bike station)
  • Flexibility to move stations around to allow for special events
  • Stations are expandable to add or remove bike docks as needed

Although a lot of attention is paid to the visible aspects of the system, equally important to the success of the system is the back end information systems to make sure:

  • Customers don’t get overcharged
  • Bikes don’t get lost or stolen
  • Sufficient bikes are available where and when people want them
  • Sufficient bikes docks are available where and when people want them
  • Technical support via multiple technologies (email / phone)

Kudos to:

The choice of using the existing Stationnement de Montréal infrastructure (which is provided by 8D technologies) has allowed Montréal to really demonstrate its savoir-faire (and to win an award!)

If only Bixi could expand to NDG!  Then I might sign up for it.  Will it be cheaper in 2010? The answer is unfortunately No.  But you can get a 10$ discount on the yearly subscription if you sign up before May 15th.

UPDATE: April 14/2010: Bixi is recommended by the City of Toronto staff.

UPDATE: May 15, 2010: Bixi approved by the city of Toronto’s council for a 2011 launch.

UPDATE: May 21, 2010: Bixi going to two Washingtons


Sneek Peek at the NDG-CDN Bike Path Proposal

Although the NDG bike path will be publicly announced on June 19th, a look at the city’s official ‘Plan de Transport’ (approved on June 11th) gives a sneek peek.

Here are the main projects for the NDG area (there are others for CDN as well):

NDG bike paths

1. Complete the de Maisonneuve bike path from DeCarie to Claremount to travel through Westmount.

  • The CHUM mega-hospital project needs to start and the CP Decarie overpass needs to be modified.  This won’t be ready until at least 2010.

2. Cavendish from de Maisonneuve to St-Laurent

  • Requires the Cavendish over pass to be completed before it can go further than Cote-St-Luc

3. From Concordia North on W. Broadway until Fielding and then east until Ellerdale and then to Isabella to eventually arrive at UdeM.

  • Can be implemented now

4. Terrebonne from Concordia University to Girouard.

  • Can be implemented now

5. Grand Blvd (not 100% sure but it makes sense since it is so wide) up from de-Maisoneuve until Fielding

  • Can be implemented now

6. Girouard (& Clanranald/Earnscliffe) from de Maisonneuve all the way up to Ferncroft where it turns east to use Barclay/Plamondon until Wilderton.

  • Can be implemented now

The full map can be seen on page 107 of (this link)  (40MB download – high quality maps)

The other question is what kind of paths will they be?  Here are four types with their evaluation according to Projet Montreal (page 26 of this document)

Bike path Comparison

Happy Cycling!

UPDATE (July 1): The official Presentation from the City
Avid Cyclist Peter McQueen of Projet Montreal has his comments

New and Improved Highway Notre-Dame?

The MTQ has announced improvements to their Notre-Dame Highway plan which are just a grab-bag of things that will happen anyway or things that don’t cost much to do.  The fundamental existence of the highway is not questioned at all.

To me, it further demonstrates how cynical the MTQ is in selling this project to the population.

Here is the list of improvements in all their glory with my thoughts about each one:

Extra High Occupancy Lane in each direction

  • Now there will be a dedicated taxi/HOV lane in addition to the dedicated bus lane in each direction
  • The HOV lane will only require 2 people per car to qualify – Nothing special here. Many cities require 3 occupants.
  • How many of the cars travelling on the highway would have had 2 occupants anyway?  The Montreal Board of Trade in their December 2004 report used the rate of 1.26 occupants/car. 
  • This means that 25% of the cars will have 33% percent of the lanes the day after the highway opens – not much to brag since people are already car pooling even without the incentive. 
  • This will improve travel time for a car-pooler in the short term – until drivers re-adjust.

The Notre-Dame Highway will be integrated with the Pie-IX bus corridor Project

  • The MTQ is now taking credit for the STM/AMT Pie-IX SRB project!!
  • Even if Notre-Dame Highway doesn’t happen, the SRB would still use Notre-Dame to get to the city centre. 
  • This is really stretching the truth to imagine that the SRB is even related to the highway.

Pilot Project for Photo radar on Notre-Dame

  • This has nothing to do with the highway at all!
  • This will only be a mobile installation that can easily be moved to another location.

Traffic Calming Measures in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve

  • Here the City is repeating its commitment to spend 150M$ to calm the traffic on the neighboring streets.
  • This is not new money – just a re-announcement of old money.

Improvements in frequency for the 22, 34, and 150 bus lines.

  • There is no reason to get excited about this since it has nothing to do with the highway either!  The last STM meeting also announced improvements to the 515, 470, 194, 268, and 220. 
  • Are these also because the MTQ increased funding for the STM?  Who’s to say that the funding might disappear in the future once the project has started?  
  • The STM will increase service where it is needed and decrease service where it is not.  If the 22, 34 and 150 need extra buses it is because the ridership is calling for it.

Larger Parks

  • The concrete slab over the highway will be slightly bigger than before to improve access to Bellerive and Morgan/Champetre.
  • I live near the Decarie Highway and I can assure you that nobody will want to play in a park next to a 8 lane highway except undesirable elements.

A Steering Committee will be formed

  • Is there a project that costs 750$M that doesn’t have a steering committee?  This is approaching contortionism.

These announcements are nothing more than very minor cosmetic changes or completely unassociated announcements.   This project has to be stopped!


Stop the Notre-Dame Highway

I participated in my first protest march today!

There were about 1000 marchers along the street.  Unfortunately we couldn’t march along Notre-Dame itself!  (Perhaps a good thing). The regular gang of anti-authority protesters were there: Green Party, Quebec Solidaire, NDP, and Projet Montreal. I’m proud to say I was one of them today! Peter McQueen and I were the only ones with bilingual signs. Yes, we anglos care about our city too!

Did anyone notice the advertisement in La Presse and Le Devoir on Saturday? It looked like page 45 of this document.  Why do I find this misleading? Let me count the ways…

  1. The amount of cars shown is equivalent about 9AM on a Sunday.
  2. It is practically the only part of the whole project that is not in a trench or tunnel.
  3. There is a very liberal use of green.  How long will those trees survive next to 6 lanes of traffic?
  4. The green theme is extended to the reserved bus lane on the shoulder

This is at best misleading and at worst plain dishonest – Tremblay should be ashamed of himself.  Its a sad example of the state of our democracy that the government has to resort to misleading advertisements (with our tax dollars by the way) to push their projects.

I don’t think the project will ever proceed the way the MTQ is presenting it. The MTQ has always wanted a highway in this sector and this is their latest attempt to ram it through. The traffic lights that are always green is a perfect example. I’m sure that the first time the lights change from always green to a regular sequence will generate lots of confusion and accidents. It will be the perfect opportunity to announce that the lights are dangerous and should be removed. This has happened many times in the past. Hwy 20 and Woodland in Baie-D’urfe had traffic lights and also had several accidents. Finally the highway was lowered and there are no traffic lights anymore.

The MTQ advertisement seems to say that the only way that Hochelaga-Maisonneuve will get improved bike paths and anti-noise barriers is by supporting the project. Sad state of affairs I say.


Stop the Ville Marie Highway Extension !

Is there one sane person who thinks the Ville Marie Highway extension is a good idea?
Please stop calling it Orwellian terms like modernization, improvement or worse “development durable”!

The proposed link has been announced as an 8 lane modernisation with one lane each way reserved for buses. BUT: This reserved lane is really just the shoulder of the highway that is not continuous.  Every time there is a on- or off-ramp the bus lane will stop!  Really this is no different to using the shoulder of the Decarie Expressway as an extra lane.  Some bus lane! The sad part is that people are being deceived by this.

The highway will have traffic lights in a few spots that will be permanently green during rush hour. Does anyone think that this will work? Does anyone remember the history of the Woodland exit off highway 20 in Beaconsfield. This used to be a traffic-light signalled intersection that had several accidents until the MTQ decided to make it a full controlled access intersection. How long will it be before these proposed intersections get the same treatment?

For an alternative visions check out:
Concerned Citizens
Projet Montreal

Wider roads don’t lessen congestion they encorage more cars to use them: La Presse

Increasing road capacity essentially encourages more people to use cars and creates additional demand of the road network.  This is called Induced Demand and has been known since the 1960’s. Does anyone at the MTQ take notice?

This project will is a bad idea for Montreal on all fronts!