Archive for February, 2011

[CRC] Photos from 1970s Montreal show heartbreak of freeway expansion

Posted in News on February 24th, 2011 by Andrew – 1 Comment

When we talk about the Columbia River Crossing project in the Portland Metro region these days, the key terms seem to be “jobs,” “congestion,” “freight mobility” and so on.

But often forgotten in discussions of the project is the real, tangible impact that freeway expansions have on communities. Expropriations, home demolitions, sectioning off of neighborhoods; all of these are necessary biproducts of wanting more lanes, more space, more highway.

Andy Riga, on his terrific blog at the Montreal Gazette, has unearthed a treasure trove of photographs documenting the early-1970s expansion of the Ville-Marie Expressway in Montreal and the chaos the project unleashed on the neighborhood.

From photographer Brian Merrett’s recollection of his endeavor:

After the abandoned houses on the south side of Dorchester disappeared, excavations for a tunnel and a highway ramp began.  The apartment building at St-Marc and Dorchester was demolished. Another residential building at Tupper and Baile also went down. The ramp’s open maw gaped onto St-Marc just a few feet from the front door of the Julia Drummond residence at St-Marc and Baile. Then, mysteriously, while empty and up for sale, that building burned.

Friends living in Lower Westmount heard about my concern for my neighbourhood and talked of how their lives were soon to be transformed by the expansion of the Ville-Marie expressway.  Living on Prospect Avenue, just above the CP commuter tracks, these families had friends living on Selby Street and Greene Avenue.  I was invited to document the changes that were happening in that neighbourhood.

With members of the Westmount Action Committee, I spent two or three intense days photographing the demolition and disruption in that area then, over the next few months,  I went back to document as the construction of the highway crushed into the neighbourhood.  I photographed at rallies and at demonstrations.  The resulting panels of images were used in awareness-building events, at the 1971 Earth Day demonstration at Place Ville-Marie and finally as panels in the 1971 ‘Montréal Plus ou Moins’ exhibition organized by architect Melvin Charney for the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

While Autoroute 720’s construction saw the demolition of most of the right-of-way, the project was never fully completed as a result of cost constraints. Showing they’ve learned something in the past forty years, the City of Montreal is now planning to turn the other portion of the right-of-way into a six lane “urban boulevard” instead of a limited-access highway as originally planned.

We could take some notes and learn a bit from the history of other regions before we snap the necks o N/NE Portland neighborhoods for a megahighway bridge project.

[Side note: It’s worth clicking Riga’s link to the scanned page from a Gazette article of the time. I love seeing the signs reading “Housing not cars,” “Renovate not destroy” and “Make housing a priority.”]

WashCo commission approves widening N. Bethany Road

Posted in News on February 23rd, 2011 by Andrew – 2 Comments

By a vote of 3-2, Washington County commissioners yesterday approved the plan to widen North Bethany Road from three lanes to four. The issue has been a contentious one for some time now, with the grassroots group 3not5 organizing opposition to the idea.

The vote illustrated an expected split between commissioners Dick Schouten and Greg Malinowski, two of my favorite Portland-area elected officials, and the rest of the board. From the Oregonian:

“The time has come for us to think less about the gold-plated and figure out a way to make our resources go further,’’ said Schouten, whose motion to delay the project entirely until new traffic and population projections come in next year was defeated, also by a 3-2 tally.

Added Malinowski, who represents that portion of unincorporated Washington County, “Five lanes tears the heart out of a community.”

Apparently the only person who testified in favor of widening the road was the director of the Westside Economic Alliance.

Easy tips to save time while driving in Portland!

Posted in News on February 22nd, 2011 by Andrew – Comments Off on Easy tips to save time while driving in Portland!

Need to shave an extra minute off your commute? Want to snag that on-street parking space without circling the block? Boy, do we have some tips for you!
First, be sure to ignore those pesky one-way streets if there’s a really prime parking space available!

Also, don’t worry about those double yellow lines on state highways. They’re merely guidelines, not really rules or laws. When you gotta go, you gotta go!

Support Major Bikeway Improvements Proposed for Lloyd District

Posted in News on February 22nd, 2011 by Steve – 1 Comment

Please attend the open house on March 3 in support of bikeway improvements through the Lloyd District & Rose Quarter.

I wanted to pass the word around about an open house regarding several Lloyd District Bikeway Development Projects including:

NE Holladay – this plan could include removing on-street parking to allow for a contra-flow bike lane heading west

12th Avenue bridge over I-84 – the plan is trying to deal with issues around Benson High School students, freight, and cyclists

Vancouver/Wheeler – the plan is trying to create a smoother transition between Vancouver/Williams and the Rose Garden

The open house will be on March 3 from 4:30-7:00 at Calaroga Terrace, which is located at 1400 NE 2nd (near the Broadway bridge).

For complete info on the open house, check out the flyer.

For more information on the project, please contact the Ellen Vanderslice, the Project Manager at or the project’s website.

If you are unable to attend, please take a few minutes to write Ellen Vanderslice with your support for these projects.
Thanks to Heather from the Lloyd TMA for the heads up!

Montreal unveils contest-winning new metro design

Posted in News on February 18th, 2011 by Andrew – Comments Off on Montreal unveils contest-winning new metro design

Here’s a flashy first look at the new design of Montreal (Quebec), Canada’s metro trains. Montreal has an extensive subway network connecting the downtown core to an array of across-the-river suburbs.

They held a contest to allow riders to design the new trains. I want to design new Max trains!