The STM has asked the media to assemble at the Lionel-Groulx metro station on Monday morning to mark the inauguration of elevators there and at Berri-UQAM.
The elevators, whose construction began more than a year ago, are the first to be put in service on the island, and will join the three stations in Laval as the only ones so equipped. Elevators at Bonaventure, Côte Vertu and Henri-Bourassa are also under construction.
One thing that should be noted is that the elevators are for service on the orange line only. The elevators at Berri go only between the mezzanine (turnstile) level and the orange line platforms. They don’t descend to the green or yellow lines. The Lionel-Groulx elevators service both lines (the platforms are shared), meaning it’s the only green-line station with elevator access.
In my observance of these new elevators, I noticed something about their operation that I’m willing to bet will cause early headaches for metro employees:
This is the button panel next to the doors at one of the elevators at Lionel-Groulx. The panel is the same at all elevator entrances. At first glance, you might think it follows the standard layout: the top button to go up, the bottom button to go down.
Except when you look closely, you notice that the top button is actually an emergency call button. Only the bottom button calls the elevator (all the elevators installed so far have only two stops, and hence only need one button).
How many people do you want to bet will accidentally push the top button, causing all sorts of regular annoyance on the part of whatever metro employee has to respond to it, before some workaround or additional signage is put in place?
That is great. The seats that have been removed in metro cars to make room for wheel chairs will finally get used. But wait how will these people get out if their trip takes them to the many stations without elevators? Maybe the STM could take a can of green paint and cover the stairs going down to the platforms in green. Then they could hoist up a big poster telling us this is the new green initiative, they use less electricity by people using stairs. The greening of everything has become a joke by the way.
Right now they can only travel between stations with elevators, so both origin and destination have to be Lionel-Groulx, Berri-UQAM or the Laval stations.
These new elevators are just a first step. Henri-Bourassa and Côte-Vertu will be functional in 2011. Since elevators so expensive to install ($40 million for 5 stations), STM has a multi-year plan to make stations accessible as they get renovated, probably targeting more important stations first, and it makes sense to start now and at least have a few stations accessible, even if it looks ridiculous in the meantime!
So I take it it means the orange line traveler are more important than the green or yellow ones?
And the first pic looks really weird! It seems the elevator is gonna crash down on the escalator below it!
Retrofitting existing stations for elevators isn’t easy. In this case there’s just enough clearance to be able to keep the escalator below. I’m not sure if, when they build an elevator to the green line, they’re just going to extend the existing elevators (and take out the escalator) or create another shaft.
I’m annoyed that there are no elevators at other stations where lines intersect – well, personally I’m most annoyed about Jean-Talon, but also Snowdon.
The Berri elevator is not serving the yellow line towards Longueuil either.
This week, I took the métro up to Montmorency to meet some clients in Laval – it was just wonderful being able to get there so quickly. There is a little forest of condos and rental apartments springing up there. I took the lift just to check it out. In Montmorency, there are two lifts, one from ground level to turnstile level, and another down to the tracks.
I’ve always wondered what the point was of having wheelchair spaces on the metro when people in wheelchairs can’t even get on the metro. Hopefully they build more elevators!
As an individual in a wheelchair, this is good news however; it is long overdue. I have just returned from a visit from southern Ontario and used the GO train and the TTC bus and subway system. I was pleasantly surprised on how wheelchair friendly the transport system infrastructure is in Toronto. There are elevators at each stations and buses with ramps that WORK…
There will be always be a debate in Montreal on whether the STM should put money into elevators in the metros and new buses or in the adapted transport system.
Ian, if I may ask… even if there were elevators in every station, would you actually use the metro? I dunno how often you’ve been down there, but it seems to me that between the gap the the difference in elevation between the platform and the car, getting a wheelchair safely on and off of a metro car is damn near impossible. Not without assistance anyway, which seems to defeat the whole point.
Not to belittle your situation, but the boatload of money they’re going to plow into the elevators would be much better spent on improving the parabus system and putting in (reliable) escalators in place of all the stairs. That would benefit far more people for a lot less money.
Rich, improving the parabus system is a losing proposition. Operating cost per-passenger is very high (consider how few people each driver transports, compared to even a low-ridership bus line). If we think we can’t afford to put elevators in métro stations, then put more money into accessible buses. Parabuses should be for people who cannot use ordinary transit for more reasons than just using a wheelchair.
I wish someday someone would explain to me just why it takes forever to repair escalators or install elevators? Watching the progress at Lionel-Groulx just reinforced my belief that this is one of the best labour scams of all time.
I think those are different things. Elevators take forever because it’s so complicated, and the building has to be retrofitted with them. You have to create a shaft and then build an elevator system in it.
Maintenance for escalators depend on the nature of that maintenance. Most escalators in the metro now aren’t being repaired, they’re being replaced in their entirety. That takes a while.
The other factor is that the people who work on these things don’t work overnight or on weekends, and all sorts of minor things – a missing part, a structural complication, a staff shortage – can delay maintenance.
Maybe laziness on the part of organized labour is a factor too, but I don’t think these guys spend seven hours a day sitting and chatting.
I once spoke to a guy from CNIM (the company that makes the escalators) and he explained how complicated it was to replace an escalator. All work has to be done outside operating hours, and some parts are so big that they can’t be shipped from the factory, they must be assembled in place.
And before calling it a labour scam, you should double-check whether it’s STM employees doing the work, or private subcontractors such a CNIM (I am not sure and I have no way to check, but I believe it’s CNIM in several instances).
At Lionel Groulx on the two Metro Floors all they had to do was cut holes, the rest of it should be easier than a new building where the shaft is all you have to work in, something corny to this whole deal I figure.
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