Monthly Archives: April 2008

YAGB: Environment, culture

My evil misunderstood overlords at The Gazette have launched two new blogs this week, bringing its total to 1,425:

Stage and Page, which I have to admit is a kind of catchy title, is the blog of new “culture critic” Pat Donnelly. Formerly the books columnist, she’s taken over Matt Radz’s theatre beat as well, bringing herself to a level of cultural aptitude that simply puts the rest of us to shame.

Green Life, by reporters Monique Beaudin and Michelle Lalonde, is the environment blog, which was launched last Tuesday as part of the whole Earth Day thing. It’s part of a larger “website” devoted to environment issues. There will also be a weekly column on the environment on Mondays (including a big splash in today’s Arts & Life section on reducing your carbon footprint in 12 easy steps). The column will alternate between the two as they teach us new and disgusting ways to make us greener.

(UPDATE – April 30):

Showbiz Chez Nous, by Brendan Kelly, follows the same subject matter as his weekly column: TV and movies in Quebec.

Akoha is rich now

Austin Hill’s Akoha project just announced that they have $1.9 million in funding thanks to a dozen angel investors.

For those who don’t know, Akoha is … uhh … what does the “About Us” page say again? Something about fun and play and sharing and making the world a better place.

It could be a social-networking site for fundraisers or it could be a giant multiplayer Pong game with the Sesame Street theme playing all the time. They’re still kind of being coy about it.

I’m not much connected to the investor/rich-people market (if I did, I’d probably have a better apartment and/or life), so the names don’t quite impress me. The one I do recognize is Jonathan Wener, who sits on Concordia University’s board of governors and its real-estate committee. He’s a big reason behind the new buildings they have, to the point where I don’t know why he doesn’t have one named after him yet.

More importantly, he’s very rich and not one to waste money on some go-nowhere startup without a plan. That alone makes me think Akoha’s got something here.

The Toupin Blvd. plan

It’s about to get just a bit easier, and yet more difficult, to drive through Cartierville and Ville-Saint Laurent.

The city has presented its plan for making sure the residents on or near Toupin Blvd. don’t get overwhelmed with through traffic when Cavendish Blvd. is extended north to Henri-Bourassa.

The main focus is to get people coming to and from Laval to use the arteries: Highway 13 and Marcel-Laurin/Laurentien.

For the full details, you can see the slideshow (PDF), which has crazy details like counting the number of cars through each intersection and including the width of lanes and stuff.

But here’s the skinny for drivers:

  1. Vehicles will not be allowed straight through from Toupin onto Cavendish and vice-versa. Period.
  2. A dedicated bike lane will be installed on the Cavendish extension, and one of those middle-of-the-road bike lanes on Toupin Blvd. in both directions.
  3. A concrete median will be installed on Henri-Bourassa preventing traffic from turning left onto side streets to get around the restriction.
  4. Two streets east of Toupin will be made one-way (the directions above are random; it’s unclear which road is in which direction)
  5. A second left turning lane will be installed on Henri-Bourassa at Marcel-Laurin to accommodate an increase in traffic. Marcel-Laurin will be modified to better accommodate the traffic as well, including synchronized lights.
  6. Public transit on Henri-Bourassa will be modified in some mysterious way, also to coincide with a new train station at Highway 13 on the Montreal-Deux-Montagnes line.
  7. A troll will be stationed during rush hours on Toupin Blvd. and will spit at your car if it thinks you’re trying to find a shortcut to Laval.

OK, I made that last one up.

Overpass inspections complete

Earlier this month, the Ministry of Transport completed inspections of 135 bridges and overpasses that were red-flagged by the Johnson Commission as potentially hazardous and immediately restricted from carrying overweight trucks.

The result: While 83 of those overpasses have been completely reopened, the rest will require either major repairs or replacement over the coming years.

Among the last to be inspected (or at least evaluated) (PDF) were three on the island of Montreal: Two overpasses of Highway 138 over Monette Street in LaSalle will be replaced, while Côte-Vertu over Highway 13 will require major repairs.

With the list now complete (PDF), I’ve updated my overpasses-of-death map on Google Maps to reflect the results.

The green marks note structures that have had all their restrictions lifted. Yellows mark those which will see major repairs in the next few years. Red ones mark those which will be demolished and replaced.

Not sure if seeing so many red marks should make us feel good or bad about the situation.

Gazette running columns from Philadelphia Inquirer

During the Montreal-Boston series, The Gazette and the Boston Globe would exchange columns from Dave Stubbs and Kevin Paul Dumont, respectively. Now that we’ve said na-na-na-na-hey-hey-hey-goodbye to Boston, the paper is continuing the tradition with Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Phil Sheridan, giving a Philly perspective on the series.

Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.

Recognize any of these faces?

Faces from the Habs riot of April 21, 2008

More faces from the … ahem … “alleged” rioters of Monday night.

Also posted on YouTube is the security video of a Rogers Wireless store downtown that was looted Monday night. They couldn’t take any cellphones because those were tied to the display tables, and those prepaid phone cards are useless because they have to be pre-activated by the cashier. But have fun with those charging adapters, I guess.

Round 2 begins tonight

The last time Habs fans showed a distinct lack of class, by booing the U.S. national anthem at the Bell Centre (news reports suggest in 2003, but I think there was an incident more recent), the media took notice and showed its disgust. Letters to the editor were written, and the next time the Bell Centre hosted a U.S. team, the crowd cheered loudly as the Star Spangled Banner was played. It was a bit corny, but it got the message across that we were sorry, and most of us were better than that.

Expect a similar kind of overreaction tonight as the Canadiens host the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinal tonight, from the police who will no doubt be present in higher numbers; from the media who will actually be present this time (besides just RadCan and TVA/LCN); and from the fans who won’t stand and cheer “Go Habs Go” as police cars are burned.

So don’t expect any riots tonight, win or lose. Just a lot of respectful cheering. (What police will do about moving violations and dangerous-but-only-to-you stupidity like running up and down on the roof of a moving bus is another question)

But in the unlikely event that things do get out of hand again, a few pointers:

  1. Don’t even consider the prospect of vigilante justice. You’re just going to get yourself seriously hurt. You might even start a massive drunken brawl that will result in serious injuries for dozens of people.
  2. Don’t go up to vandals and take pictures of their faces to show the cops later. Even in their drunken state, they’ll realize what you’re doing and attack you.
  3. If you see vandalism and/or violence taking place, don’t stand there and take pictures, go to the nearest police officer and tell him/her what’s going on. Then leave the area so you don’t become part of the problem.
  4. Have respect for the authorities. I’m sure most of them would love to be sitting at home or at a bar cheering on their team, but instead they have to miss the game and refrain from celebrating because a few drunken idiots can’t exercise some self-control.
  5. Clean up after yourselves. And clean up after others. Litter is bad, and it makes us look bad.