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City urges commuters to leave cars at home

by Archives September 14, 2005

On Sept. 22 Concordia University will join the city of Montreal and cities around the world to celebrate International Car Free Day.

Concordia’s Sustainability Project (CSP) will lead students by foot, bike and bus in the sixth annual event. The CSP also detailed Concordia’s new Transportation Demand Management program called allego Concordia.

Allego Concordia aims to promote alternative ways of getting to and from campus in order to achieve a sustainable university atmosphere. The program is working to support the development and use of fuel-efficient vehicles and bicycles, as well as encouraging the efforts of participating students.

“Essentially we want to promote the culture of sustainability and highlight the many benefits of alternative [transport] to single-car commuting,” says Melissa Garcia-Lamarca, Concordia’s sustainability coordinator.

Allego Concordia’s mandate includes a number of programs to achieve these goals. They plan to develop a comprehensive website, transportation information stations, a carpooling program, and an initiative called the Guaranteed Ride Home Program.

Each year, people from around the world gather to celebrate International Car Free Day to show alternatives to the automobile. Although the official Car Free Day is Sept. 22, many cities hold activities all week long or on the weekend. With ever-expanding interest, the idea of dedicating at least one day a year to promoting alternatives to car use seems to be catching on.

According to the Sierra Club, an estimated 100 million people from 1,500 cities will participate in International Car Free Day this year. Despite its slow start, the car-free movement is growing in Canada. Last year more than 22,500 people participated in Montreal alone.

On Car Free Day, traffic will be prohibited from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. between de Maisonneuve West and Rene-Levesque Boulevard. Both McGill College and St Urbain Street will be car-free and also packed with activities for the whole family.

At Concordia, Car Free Day volunteers will be on hand at the Sir George Williams and Loyola Campuses to distribute information related to transportation and allego Concordia’s different programs.

Allego started off at Concordia this summer when the Sustainability Coordinator formed a multi-stakeholder committee to guide its development. A large study of Concordia’s commuter habits was completed as well as an investigation into university bicycle security and access to bike racks on both campuses.

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