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Re: [carfree_cities] canada.com Story

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  • Mike Harrington
    I think a video of the Montréal pedestrian underground would require many hours of challenging and difficult photography, but it could be very revealing to
    Message 1 of 15 , May 6, 2003
      I think a video of the Montréal pedestrian underground would require many
      hours of challenging and difficult photography, but it could be very
      revealing to the rest of the world how well Montrealers, the overwhelming
      majority of whose ancestors came from the more balmy when not downright hot
      France, have adapted to their nordic environment. A video, properly done,
      could translate into a TV presentation of several hours. Included should be
      the pedestrian corridors themselves, the cavernous underground squares, and
      the numerous diversions along the way: Parisian-style subways, theaters,
      auditoriums, stores, restaurants, and hotels. Some of the adjoining
      buildings are architectural masterpieces, particularly the gilded age
      Windsor Train Station.

      Montréal is one of the few places in North America where there is an
      extensive car-free culture.

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Louis-Luc" <exqmtl@...>
      To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Monday, May 05, 2003 9:03 PM
      Subject: RE: [carfree_cities] canada.com Story


      > > What the article doesn't mention is that the large Montréal subway
      system
      > > makes the underground city possible. The development of the
      > > métro (subway)
      > > has coincided with that of the city. Montrealers may need to correct
      me,
      > > but I think the subterranean development started there with the
      > > construction
      > > of Place Ville Marie in 1964 and the first métro train in 1966. But
      then,
      > > the Gazette is a Montréal newspaper, and most people reading it would
      know
      > > that. For people that have never been there, there is a vast array of
      > > underground stores, restaurants, hotels, and offices interconnected with
      a
      > > maze of corridors which lead to several long métro lines and the two
      > > downtown railway stations. There is a huge amount of foot traffic and
      I'd
      > > venture to say that Montrealers get more exercise than the
      > > typical person in
      > > North America.
      > I'm sure they do! Without traffic bugging you, you
      > certainly can exercise and enjoy the beauty of life
      > as you zip through the maze!
      >
      > This is exactly my domain: my workplace is part of
      > the underground city, and I do a lot of shopping, and
      > entertaining there, before peacefully walking to
      > the train station. So I can claim working 2 or 3 weeks
      > (maybe more) in Montréal, without having to see a single of its
      > traffic streets. The Underground city is the feature that keeps me in or
      > around Montreal.
      >
      > Someday, when my bandwidth becomes large enough to
      > put big files, and when I have a digital video camera, I thought of
      filming
      > my daily walkthrough and let netters enjoy the virtual tour, imagining
      > they're there and trying to find their way...
      >
      > We don't forget that the goal is still to reach that quality of life on
      the
      > ground level, with trees and birds, so I continue to hope parts of
      Montreal
      > streets will get rid of car nuisance, like we're planning to do on
      > Mont-Royal avenue.
      >
      > >
      > > Once I was there in late January 1976. It was down to minus
      > > 40­­° (the same
      > > temperature for either celsius or fahrenheit), and, although it hasn't
      > > gotten that cold in Montréal lately, it would seem pretty frigid during
      > > winter for someone from Chicago, let alone Florida. Personally,
      > > I think the
      > > frigid cold isn't bad, as long as you're prepared to spend money on good
      > > winter clothing like people everywhere in the province of Québec
      > > do. If you
      > > stay in a hotel or an apartment connected to this enormous underground
      > > pedestrian network, it is possible to walk and visit hundreds of
      locations
      > > without putting on a coat or boots or a raincoat, because you
      > > never need to
      > > go to street level.
      > Absolutely! I don't grab my coat when I hit the road on the midday walk,
      > even though it's freezing like hell. We've had a particularly cold winter,
      > and the most I've had to wear to be comfortable was 2 cotton sweaters over
      > my shirt. Usually it's just one, or none. And if it's +40 degrees in the
      > summer, I'm as comfortable as in a swimming pool, because there is air
      > conditioning in most areas.
      >
      > >
      > > The public transit operator, la Société de Transport de la Communauté
      > > Urbaine de Montréal, has an excellent Acrobat map giving some idea of
      the
      > > scope of what is without a doubt one of the most fascinating urban
      complex
      > > on the planet:
      > >
      > > http://www.stcum.qc.ca/metro/mtl-sout.pdf
      > >
      > >
      > > ----- Original Message -----
      > > From: <christophermiller@...>
      > > To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
      > > Sent: Monday, May 05, 2003 2:11 PM
      > > Subject: [carfree_cities] canada.com Story
      > >
      > >
      > > > Dear carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com,
      > > >
      > > > Your friend christophermiller@... thought you might be interested
      in
      > > this canada.com story:
      > > >
      > > > "Everything's looking up underground"
      > > >
      > > >
      > > http://www.canada.com/montreal/montrealgazette/story.asp?id=D86A46
      > 49-1E05-49
      > B6-9483-A536665A861A
      > >
      > > A short article in today's Montreal Gazette on Montreal's still
      expanding
      > "indoor/underground city".
      > >
      > > URL:
      > >
      >
      http://www.canada.com/montreal/montrealgazette/story.asp?id=D86A4649-1E05-49
      > B6-9483-A536665A861A
      > >
      > > Regards to all,
      > >
      > > Chris Miller
      > >
      > > _______________________________________
      > > This is a free service courtesy of
      > > canada.com (http://www.canada.com)
      > >
      > >
      > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      > >
      > >
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      > >
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      > >
      > >
      >
      >
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      >
      >
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      >
    • Christopher Miller
      Many good points, Mike; a couple of my comments follow... ... Spot on about the history; and yes, as a Montrealer, I forgot that not everyone is in on the
      Message 2 of 15 , May 6, 2003
        Many good points, Mike; a couple of my comments follow...

        On Monday, May 5, 2003, at 06:30 pm, Mike Harrington wrote:

        > What the article doesn't mention is that the large Montréal subway
        > system
        > makes the underground city possible. The development of the métro
        > (subway)
        > has coincided with that of the city. Montrealers may need to correct
        > me,
        > but I think the subterranean development started there with the
        > construction
        > of Place Ville Marie in 1964 and the first métro train in 1966. But
        > then,
        > the Gazette is a Montréal newspaper, and most people reading it would
        > know
        > that.

        Spot on about the history; and yes, as a Montrealer, I forgot that not
        everyone is in on the Metro connection. In fact, there are a number of
        segments in the underground/indoor city that are unconnected except by
        the Metro lines themselves. Another point: the underground city does
        have a downside, namely that much of the space that makes it up is
        private property in commercial buildings and many of these areas
        actually close late in the evening, unlike the regular streets.

        > (...) There is a huge amount of foot traffic and I'd
        > venture to say that Montrealers get more exercise than the typical
        > person in
        > North America.

        In fact, the downtown area has the highest density of people walking to
        work, according to statistics published a few years ago.

        > (...) The public transit operator, la Société de Transport de la
        > Communauté
        > Urbaine de Montréal, has an excellent Acrobat map giving some idea of
        > the
        > scope of what is without a doubt one of the most fascinating urban
        > complex
        > on the planet:
        >
        > http://www.stcum.qc.ca/metro/mtl-sout.pdf

        I'm glad the link still works; since amalgamation at the beginning of
        the year, the Montreal Urban Community (a couple of dozen separate
        municipalities)
        has become an enlarged City of Montreal. The old MUCTC is now (as in
        the 1960s) the Montreal Transportation Commission/Société des
        tronsports de Montréal, and their new site is at http://www.stm.info .

        Chris Miller

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Louis-Luc
        ... A good example is Place Alexis-Nihon, at Atwater station, 2 stops west from the main city. This is a huge shopping mall, with everything you find in the
        Message 3 of 15 , May 6, 2003
          >
          > Many good points, Mike; a couple of my comments follow...
          >
          > On Monday, May 5, 2003, at 06:30 pm, Mike Harrington wrote:
          >
          > > What the article doesn't mention is that the large Montréal subway
          > > system
          > > makes the underground city possible. The development of the métro
          > > (subway)
          > > has coincided with that of the city. Montrealers may need to correct
          > > me,
          > > but I think the subterranean development started there with the
          > > construction
          > > of Place Ville Marie in 1964 and the first métro train in 1966. But
          > > then,
          > > the Gazette is a Montréal newspaper, and most people reading it would
          > > know
          > > that.
          >
          > Spot on about the history; and yes, as a Montrealer, I forgot that not
          > everyone is in on the Metro connection. In fact, there are a number of
          > segments in the underground/indoor city that are unconnected except by
          > the Metro lines themselves.
          A good example is Place Alexis-Nihon, at Atwater station, 2 stops west from
          the main city. This is a huge shopping mall, with everything you find in the
          typical North-American mall, except you access it by the metro.
          There is also Berri-UQAM station, 2 stops east from
          the main city, where 3 of the 4 lines meet, which
          also has some interesting places like the
          Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) main campus,
          Place Dupuis (formerly the large surface all-purpose
          store Dupuis Frères, now replaced with offices, stores
          and restaurants), and the upcoming huge library, Grande Bibliothèque du
          Québec, which is under construction.
          Even though this section is not connected to the main core, two metro lines
          link them, so if one is temporarily stopped, one can use the other.



          Another point: the underground city does
          > have a downside, namely that much of the space that makes it up is
          > private property in commercial buildings and many of these areas
          > actually close late in the evening, unlike the regular streets.
          That's the bad point, indeed. I live in suburb now, so I never walk there
          after the last train. I imagine late at night, they must provide you with a
          path to walk to the metro, until metro closes.

          The next step is to ask the City if they could buy the private corridors,
          and make them as open as streets. If we think about it carefully, many
          outdoor lands owners who build many buildings "gave literally away" the
          space for the new street to the city, which paved it over for cars. I think
          it's time to do the same for walking.

          Let's take an alley, behind many house backyards. It's like a small street,
          but private. The City has no right to manage it. If cars are allowed (some
          owners don't want cars in, but children in this refuge), then the
          entire responsibility is given to car owner. In the winter, it's not
          guaranteed they can drive through, unless all other residents take off the
          snow. If one wants to keep the snow, then car owners certainly can't do
          anything (or maybe plow it themselves....)
          >
          > > (...) There is a huge amount of foot traffic and I'd
          > > venture to say that Montrealers get more exercise than the typical
          > > person in
          > > North America.
          >
          > In fact, the downtown area has the highest density of people walking to
          > work, according to statistics published a few years ago.
          Not surprising at all. With such a life quality, who
          wouldn't walk?

          Louis-Luc
        • Louis-Luc
          Hi, again. Today, I happened to walk towards gap between Square Victoria metro and Palais des Congrès, and I happily noticed the new walkway was open! I
          Message 4 of 15 , May 7, 2003
            Hi, again.

            Today, I happened to walk towards gap between Square
            Victoria metro and Palais des Congrès, and I happily
            noticed the new walkway was open! I slowly started to
            stroll in to explore the new environment, and see where I would get. This
            place is really futurist. Beautiful neon lights are lighting the tall walls
            from the bottom, and these walls are made of thick glass panels.
            The brand new floors are all shiny, and the corridor is wide, so it can
            accomodate a good load of traffic.
            I ended up passing a door and recognizing the Palais des Congrès floor by
            the tile pattern. I arrived at the
            escalator which was not operating, so I climbed up like
            normal stairs. On the ground level I surprisingly
            saw the barrier poles were still blocking the way. I
            passed in the tiny gap next to the wall, and the guard came to me and said I
            was not allowed to go where I came from! He couldn't see me go in, no matter
            how well he keeps an eye on the prohibited area :-)

            I told him I went all the way from Square-Victoria metro and ended up there,
            and the passage was open.
            He told me they were making audio testings for the
            alarm systems, and the passageway would open in 2 to
            3 weeks. I told him the place is very beautiful and
            futurist. I continued my way to the Complexe Desjardins, thinking that May
            7, 2003 is the very first day I make the link between two formerly unlinked
            major sections of the Underground City.

            I'll wait for the delay to elapse before returning, but if a Montrealer from
            our forum want to give it the try before the official opening, I guess it
            would be cool.
            Of course, take the passage from Square-Victoria metro, to Palais des
            Congrès (and not the other way around), and tell us what the guard says. You
            just need to say you came from the metro and didn't know...

            The guards and other staff will just notice that the
            passageway system is awaited, and is already popular
            even before the official launch.

            Louis-Luc
          • m82a1_dawson@hotmail.com
            Dear T_2000@yahoogroups.com, carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, montrain@lists.ca, Your friend m82a1_dawson@hotmail.com thought you might be interested in this
            Message 5 of 15 , Mar 16, 2004
              Dear T_2000@yahoogroups.com, carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, montrain@...,

              Your friend m82a1_dawson@... thought you might be interested in this canada.com story:

              "Streetcar named the future"

              http://www.canada.com/montreal/montrealgazette/story.asp?id=249AE7C3-5E1F-4424-A98A-C87D30B8E0E3

              Streetcar named the future
              Montreal lightrail meeting at 4505 Park Avenue tonight (March 16, 19:00). ASD

              _______________________________________
              This is a free service courtesy of
              canada.com (http://www.canada.com)


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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