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What happened to Montreal's jaywalkers?

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I’ve been noticing some very un-Montreal behaviour by Montrealers. Don’t tell anyone, but I think our city’s notorious jaywalkers are jaywalking less.

As a person known to cross on a red when the coast is clear, I find myself increasingly alone. Some pedestrians even stare at me from the curb, reminding me of my days in Toronto where I felt like a street outlaw.

What’s changing? For decades the Montreal jaywalker was a fierce, omnipresent creature who weaved between speeding cars like a slalom skier — because crazed Montreal drivers practically had bumper stickers saying: “I don’t brake for pedestrians.”

Like many Montrealers, my parents taught me road safety when I was old enough to walk. ”Josh! Look both ways, then run! — when everyone else does!”

Slow-footed families with poor traffic genes were gradually winnowed out decades ago, while the rest of us adapted to our survival-of-the-fastest environment.

But things might be changing. Wandering along Ste-Catherine St. after Christmas I conducted an informal survey on a day Montreal was colder than the North Pole — and I figured no one would stand still.

Yet I saw surprisingly few people crossing on reds. At the corner of Ste-Catherine and Crescent St., I counted 84 people waiting patiently for the green light,........

© Montreal Gazette