Don’t Buckle Up
Leave your Car at Home on Sept. 22
With 50,000 people choosing to leave their cars at home, Montreal’s eighth edition of En ville, sans ma voiture! will see the creation of one of the largest car-free zones in Canada on Sept. 22 .
“It is a great opportunity to show the change that we want,” said Allison Reid, the coordinator for Allégo Concordia. An initiative of Sustainable Concordia, Allégo’s mandate is to encourage alternative modes of transportation for campus members.
Car Free Day will be held as a part of the less advertised Car Free Week from Sept. 20 to Sept. 24.
As part of the week’s festivities, stilt walkers and the usual jumble of kiosks from the city’s transit organizations will be joined by Roadsworth, an urban graffiti artist who will practice his controversial craft.
Each day will have a theme, including the environment, public health and sport, active transportation, cycling and alternative vehicles.
Despite the positive press attention that Car Free Day receives, Reid warned that the media and city’s focus on one day could be distracting.
“I don’t think it would benefit the university very much to celebrate for only one day when we already know we shouldn’t use a car,” said Reid. “I want to promote a car free day everyday.”
On Sept. 22, Reid said she will walk around campus to convince people to switch away from cars permanently.
A cyclist herself, Reid explained that the installation of additional bicycle racks at the Sir George Williams Campus would do a lot to encourage people to cycle to class.
“The city is doing a pretty good job about promoting the day, like the [Société de transport de Montréal] giving free transit to people,” Reid said, congratulating the city despite her reservations.
Breathing will be easier downtown on Car Free Day, as sound pollution will be down nearly 35 per cent and nitric oxide levels will be off by 70 per cent in the 33 city blocks closed to traffic for six hours.
The area between McGill College Avenue in the west, St. Urbain Street to the east, de Maisonneuve Boulevard to the north and René-Lévesque Boulevard to the south will be closed to traffic.
This article originally appeared in The Link Volume 31, Issue 06, published September 21, 2010.