A tough commute in Montreal may eventually be a thing of the past

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On a morning where my  12 minute commute took over an hour I’m inspired to share this lecture from the Consumer Electronics Show going on in Las Vegas about Smart Cities. It speaks to the democratization of transportation whereby all vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians are linked to one another.

Congestion can be mitigated by connectivity and data sharing. The whole system needs to be made more intelligent. Cities need to get connected to new technology and use data to manage traffic flow and to improve citizens’ quality of life, local business, the environment and even public safety.
In this conference, Ford Motor Company’s President and CEO Jim Hackett focuses on mobility solutions as the world progresses toward smarter cities. Ford’s vision is to become the world’s most trusted mobility company, designing smart vehicles for a smart world.
I hope our friends and neighbours from the Cote des Neiges – NDG Borough Hall also take note about smarter cities and avoid blocking Van Horne for snow clearing during rush hour, resulting today in gridlock across Snowdon West, Hampstead and Cote Saint-Luc.
Speaking of Hampstead, please clear BOTH lanes on Fleet. 1.5 lanes of snow clearing doesn’t really help the flow.
And kudos to the CSL Public Works Department under the leadership of Director Bebe Newman. Bebe’s crews practically catch the snow before it hits the ground. You’d never know that 36 centimetres fell in CSL driving down its main streets today.
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Making CSL streets safer by limiting truck traffic

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At the September 11, 2017 Public council Meeting the City Council notice was given for a new truck route in order to regulate traffic in Côte Saint-Luc.

According to the Highway Safety Code, a By-Law regulating the traffic of trucks must be approved by the Minister of Transport. Once approved, trucks and tool vehicle traffic will be permitted on Cavendish Boulevard and Côte Saint-Luc Road as well as on all streets throughout the City for local deliveries.

Côte Saint-Luc will also request that all neighbouring cities adopt a similar resolution in support of this new regulation.

This new By-Law will improve the flow of traffic on Fleet Road which is not capable of handling trailer trucks. It will also keep trucks mainly on our two major boulevards and off our side streets as much as possible. Of course, local deliveries will always be permitted.

As the councillor responsible for the Pedestrian and Traffic Safety dossier I was pleased to give notice for this motion. Safety and security has always been my primary focus as City Councillor and any ideas to keep pedestrians safe and vehicles moving at a safe speed are always welcomed and reviewed with our traffic engineers.

 

Excessive number of stop signs in Hampstead contribute to pollution: Letter to Suburban Newspaper

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The following is a letter to the editor to the Suburban from District 6 resident Leslie Satenstein, my most notable commentor on this blog. Leslie makes the point that municipalities have a responsibility to safeguard the environment through strategic traffic planning (while ensuring pedestrian and motorist safety, no doubt).

I have written extensively about Fleet Road in this blog. Search “Fleet”.

 

  • Suburban Newspaper, Aug 16, 2017
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For what seems a century, or at least since 1985 when I moved to Cote Saint Luc, I have had the annoyance and been angered at the number of Hampstead stop signs along VanHorne/Fleet.

Bringing a car to a “stop sign” emits brake pad and tire dust, Average acceleration of a vehicle from a stop sign consumes a quarter of a teaspoon of gasoline per vehicle.

Given the stop signs are for each direction, you can be assure that daily, several tens of gallons of spent gasoline are emitted into the air. We know the importance of fresh air. In this short strip of the route to the borders of Cote Saint Luc, Hampstead’s contribution is one of being a major co-polluter. I call Hampstead’s lack of a remedy, shameful.

One could say, “Big deal, Hampstead’s pollution is the cost of living in CSL” and Cote Saint Luc should cover any remedy costs. That is a consideration for cost sharing.

I look at the luxury homes built on either side of the stop signs, and you will note “the owners can’t use the front of the house, and they cannot leave open, a window for fresh air”. For the residents of those homes, use of the front of the house is limited to receive mail and the Suburban, and to provide access to the car garage, nothing more.

In my high-school years, I lived at a similar intersection. The tire-dust that would settle on the front stoop, on the front window ledges was substantial. Daily, if you swiped your hands across a “early morning cleaned” surface, you would find you palm coated with black tire-dust. During periods of bumper-to-bumper traffic, the smell of spent fuel was horrific.

Mayor Steinberg prides himself on technology. When is Hampstead going to invest, as did Town of Mount-Royal, on installing synchronized traffic lights. A vehicle that travels at a fixed speed and does not brake and accelerate emits much much less combined pollution.

I would be very very interested to know the health claims made by the and former residents living in proximity to those intersections. Start from the year 1985.

Hampstead, it’s time to do something.

Leslie Satenstein

Montreal

CSL Mayor on first 100 days in office

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Cote Saint-Luc Mayor Mitchell Brownstein gives a quick update on his first 100 days in office and on latest developments on Fleet Road, Cavendish extension, CP Rail, city events and staying in close contact with constituents.

Fleet to flow at 40 km/h

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speedlimit40

Cote Saint-Luc and Hampstead have agreed to harmonize the speed along Fleet in both towns to 40 km/h and to enhance the signage and street line marking at crosswalks. This cooperative project is aimed at ensuring greater safety of pedestrians.

Currently, the speed varies between 50 km/h in CSL to 50 km/h and 30 km/h in Hampstead.

Hampstead and CSL will install 40 km/h speed limit signs on Fleet between Cavendish and Dufferin Road on their respective territories. The cities will also collaborate to do their utmost to ensure that the traffic lights on Fleet Road, on their respective territories, are synchronized.

No_left_Fleet_Hampstead_2013a    No_left_Fleet_Hampstead_2013b

They will also work together to create a simplified plan as related to the wording on the signs for the no left turn policy on the streets running perpendicular to Fleet Road, namely, Netherwood, Finchley, Dufferin Road. This has been a serious source of frustration for motorists from both cities, many of whom have been ticketed for turning left off of Fleet, unable to decipher the confusing signage. The confusing road signs were also cited by a Montreal Court judge in dismissing a ticket to a Hampstead motorist (posted elsewhere on this blog).

Free Press, May 23. 2012

Free Press, May 23. 2012

Hampstead has also agreed to provide greater visibility for the unprotected cross walk between Queen Mary Road and Netherwood.

This synchronization plan is good news for West End motorists, cyclists and pedestrians alike. While Fleet is not wide enough for a dedicated bike lane the slower traffic will improve the safety of those on bikes and walking across the street. It is intended that crosswalks will be even more visible by better street line markings and signage will be installed in high visibility colours.

As the one who called for the initial meeting to discuss this project with Hampstead Mayor Steinberg I am very pleased with the cooperation between our two municipalities. Councillor Dida Berku and I along with CSL Urban Development Director Charles Senekal met with Mayor Steinberg and members of his administration last winter to discuss common concerns and ideas to reduce risk.

Two weeks ago I met again with Mayor Steinberg, CSL Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and members of council along with CDN-NDG Mayor Russell Copeman and Councillor Marvin Rotrand at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities in Winnipeg. We had a productive working meeting where we touched upon the Fleet –  Van Horne corridor among other subjects. Copeman and Rotrand are also open to the idea of synchronizing Van Horne between Hampstead and Decarie to 40 km/h as well.

Safer at 40 km/h speed sign

In addition I’ve asked Councillor Rotrand to have his staff repair the significant depressions in the roadway on Van Horne to ensure a steady flow of two lanes of traffic during rush hour and to have police enforce the no stopping regulation which often causes a bottleneck, blocking the flow of traffic and the 161 bus.

Thank you to the three municipal administraions and especially mayors Steinberg, Copeman and Brownstein for demonstrating a genuine interest in cooperation and collaboration.

Do you have ideas to improve this thoroughfare? Please share your ideas here.

Hampstead reduces the already slow flow on Fleet

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New speed sign on Fleet Road in Hamsptead, partially obscured by a tree, with French only "New Signage" notice

New speed sign on Fleet Road in Hampstead, partially obscured by a tree, with French only “New Signage” notice

As if the congestion along Fleet Road in Hampstead and deliberately confusing No Left Turn signs weren’t enough the town has erected new speed signs effectively lowering the limit from 50 km/h to a mere 30 km/h.

Since 2011 the Town of Hampstead has thrown logic to the wind and rolled out an amateurish improvisation in traffic control measures essentially penalizing motorists who cut through the town between Cote Saint-Luc and Decarie.

No_left_Fleet_Hampstead_2013c

A series of nonsensical No Left Turn signs (see my prior blog postings on “Chelmstead” here) sprang up that lead to confusion and frustration to any motorist without advanced math skills or a mobile abacus. That was the left hook (or should I say No Left)?

Next police cars from Station 9 appeared, nabbing unsuspecting motorists, who dared the illegal left maneuver, diabolically calculated in 15 minute intervals.

In 2013, a Montreal municipal court judge threw out an infraction issued to Côte Saint-Luc resident Alissa Sklar, who was ticketed for turning left from eastbound Fleet at 8:05 a.m.

No_left_Fleet_Hampstead_2013b

The Suburban reported that Hampstead’s many eastbound Fleet left-turn prohibition signs have received mixed reviews, with some motorists saying they are confusing and the print on the signs specifying prohibition times is too small.

“I said to the judge, “I have a doctorate and I would like to think I’m at least reasonable and intelligent,’” Sklar told The Suburban. “I told him I drive on Fleet from time to time, and I was aware of how confusing these signs are. I had to get to a street in Hampstead north of Fleet, and I was kind of paralyzed by indecision.”

No_left_Fleet_Hampstead_2013a

“I showed the judge the other signs, which said ‘except.’ The judge went through it with me, and the whole time, the prosecutor for the city was laughing her head off. She obviously agreed the whole thing was ridiculous.”

Sklar said the judge examined each of the signs, and appeared to be “clearly puzzled.”

“The judge said ‘I don’t know what it means.’ He gave it to the prosecutor and she was laughing and said, ‘I don’t have a single thing to say about these signs. The only thing I should say is I should stay off Fleet Road myself.’”

No_left_Fleet_Hampstead_2013d

 

 

At the time, Mayor William Steinberg said “However, the left turn restrictions have been in effect for over two years and the result is much less traffic going through our residential streets north of Fleet.” “Before the restrictions, residents on many streets had a very hard time backing out of their driveways in the morning due to the volume of morning rush hour traffic. Councillor Harvey Shaffer gets credit for coming up with a solution that spread the pain and also reduced the overall volume of traffic turning left off of Fleet. “Long term, opening Cavendish is the best solution for reducing traffic on Fleet.”

I said it right here when these ridiculous signs went up five years ago. I would not pay such a fine. I’d also take it to court as these bizarre and confusing signs would never stand before a judge.

Next came an unprotected crosswalk, nothing short of a dangerous passage that I would never allow my child to use. Sure enough a serious accident causing injury was eventually reported on by the Suburban, CTV News and Global News.

Free Press, May 23. 2012

Free Press, May 23. 2012

Having run out of senseless pseudo-traffic calming measures the town has erected 30km/h signs on Fleet just yesterday, east of Queen Mary Road. Presumably, the rationale is due to Hampstead Park, abutting this section of the major thoroughfare. However, most of the length of the park adjacent to the road is home to a dog run which is entirely fenced in. The very small length along Fleet not fenced in is a long distance from the playing fields, playground and community centre.

Incidentally, Hampstead lawyer and language rights crusader Harold Staviss will have fun asking why the new sign notice posted by the bilingual town is in French only.

New signage erected Jan. 12, 2016, next to dog run on Fleet

New signage erected Jan. 12, 2016, next to dog run on Fleet

What’s worse, there is no 50km/h sign further east along Fleet Road. According to the Quebec Highway Code vehicles may not return to a higher speed unless an appropriate sign indicating the higher speed follows. As well, it will be interesting to find out if the town sought permission to change the speed on this major artery, as required by Minister of Transport regulations.

Get ready for the next police crackdown of mainly Cote Saint-Luc motorists for travelling 35km/h in a 30 zone when their not calculating if left turns are permitted presuming they’re not already stopped at an unprotected crosswalk!

Full disclosure: I genuinely like my neighbouring members of council and mayor from Hampstead. They are all affable individuals who, I’m sure, want the best for their town. But folks, please give us a break!

 

Left turn restrictions on Fleet in CSL explained

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From Squeaky Wheels, Montreal Gazette, July 5, 2015

Q: Throughout Montreal and other municipalities rush hour is generally 7-9 a.m. and 4-6 p.m. During these four hours, traffic is forced to avoid left turns because of the higher volumes. This is understandable. Why does the city of Côte-St-Luc designate rush hour 7-10 a.m. and 3-7 p.m., a total of 7 hours compared with 4 hours? This is on Fleet, which is the only route in and out of Côte-St-Luc

Isaac Alt, Côte-St-Luc

A: Côte-St-Luc spokesperson Darryl Levine said the extended rush periods are a relatively new occurrence. Before that, Côte Saint-Luc didn’t allow left turns on Fleet Rd. from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. This was to avoid traffic delays on Fleet Rd. during rush hour and to stop motorists from using the side streets as shortcuts during the rest of the day, Levine said.
However, by 2010 the city concluded this extended left-turn restriction was having unintended consequences, because vehicles were finding other ways around and this created traffic on smaller side streets. In 2010, after a consultation with residents, the city decided to introduce the current rush-period restrictions. This was seen as striking a good balance between people who wanted to turn off of Fleet, and the residents on those streets that didn’t want through traffic in front of their homes.
“Having an extended rush hour time period means two hours of less traffic on the side streets in the immediate area,” Levine said. “So those streets now get more vehicles than in 2010, but less than if the would have if the rush hour left turn restriction had been made shorter.”

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