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article imageMontreal City Chronicles (Part 7)

By Michael Werbowski     Oct 27, 2010 in Lifestyle
Montreal - Montreal is in "constructive chaos" mode. Here's an instalment giving you, an overview of some major construction projects in the city's downtown core. Is this a sign of on-going urban decay or "speculative gentrification" and revitalisation?
It took the mainstream media a while but they finally picked up on my leitmotif or Exposé on this city's urban mess. In a front page photo with the headline " Signs of the Times," followed by an article the local press, is addressing the issue of the chaotic traffic and road repair situation in Montreal.
The city's taxi driver and merchants are up in arms over the endless construction, ripping up and tearing apart of streets, sidewalks as there are construction sites strewn all over the urban landscape. They seem to have only the local media to vent their frustrations on regarding the hellish road-work and repair for walking citizens, bikers and car commuters alike. According to the media reports , the frenzy ( yet mired by delays) of construction work is due to a dead-line ( imposed or set for March 2011) for both provincial and federal funding to expire on these the construction projects. This is causing infernal like chaos in the down core of the city. The various projects are proceeding in an uncoordinated manner. There is no overall city-wide authority overseeing this helter- skelter like hodge- podge.
St-Catherine Street under repair
St-Catherine Street under repair
Patrick F.
Here below is a view of the visual splendor of the on going construction in the "Quartier des Spectacles" area located near or next door to the main city intersection of St-Laurence and St-Catherine streets. As you can see this side- street is blocked off to all on -coming traffic and pedestrians have to perilously maneuver through an obstacle course of fences, narrow paths, piles of gravel, rubble, discarded plastic waste etc. to get through this site.
St-Catherine street and Clarke Street (
St-Catherine street and Clarke Street (
Patrick F.
These photos only illustrate one of the main downtown construction sites, which imply both major road- work, infrastructural repair of water pipes and underground electric circuits, along with actual building of new concrete structures. In some parts, the work has been halted altogether that is, temporarily due to funds being blocked or delayed. Meanwhile, this naturally prolongs the entire building and re-construction process.
Many Montrealers grin and bear this mess it seems with typical apathy and indifference. Yet the taxi drivers and and merchants I spoke with/to recently are simply irate as this mess has not only impeded their work but literally paralyzed the city as well. Yet they seem to be helpless or held hostage to the on-going mega- projects, which are transforming or morphing Montreal into a city beyond recognition for many locals.
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