Saturday, July 07, 2007


My sister-in-law and her friend are in town, staying in a hotel downtown, and we made plans to brunch together on Stanley (that's a street, not a person).

Elvi asked me to recommend a route and I suggested the Ville Marie expressway, since there'd be no traffic Saturday at 11:00 a.m. There wasn't, but Rene Levesque (again, the street, not the man) was blocked off entirely. Police and metal gates blocked all traffic heading north, effectively isolating one half of downtown from the other.

Traffic was a mess. All the traffic that the eight-lane Rene Levesque would normally handle was diverted north and south - and in downtown Montreal, that means a heck of a lot of traffic on the other four east-west arteries.

Worst of all, there were no detour signs anywhere. Any driver who wanted to know how to try to get north had to stop and ask one of the cops - which backed up traffic even more, since the only place to stop is in the middle of the road.

We drove up University where a cop diverted us left on de la Gauchetiere and south back on Peel. Not knowing where to go, we headed west. Elvi got back on the highway, drove about 3/4 of the way home to the next exit, and we came back downtown from NDG on Ste. Catherine (not the actual saint).

A ten-minute drive took nearly an hour. The streets were blocked for the Carifiesta parade route, but there were no signs to that effect. The Gazette had a tiny article on the parade on page A7, but it didn't mention that downtown would be so cleaved.

It's embarrassing. I estimate that 10-20% of the cars stuck in the traffic were from out of province. This is how we promote tourism? No signs, not even advertising?

After our brunch, we walked down to watch the parade. I wondered if the wind would catch one of the giant winged costumes and whip it and the person inside it down the street. A minute later, we drove over to the jazz festival, which in mid-afternoon has children's activities and not a whole lot more.

Bonus fantasy baseball trade:

In the biggest trade I've made in years, I sent of Andruw Jones (and Anthony Reyes) for Matt Cain and Austin Kearns. I'm in fifth now, surging in home runs and RBIs, and I needed pitching. Kearns isn't chopped liver, either.


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