Toronto Complete Streets Forum a Hit
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
The 2011 Toronto Complete Streets Forum was a resounding success, says the Toronto Coalition for Active Transportation. Despite an uncertain political climate and a very rainy start to the day, over 200 delegates from communities in the Toronto region came together April 28-29 to learn, share and connect with leading active transportation experts at the Coalition's fourth annual conference. It was a diverse crowd, with about half representing the public sector, and approximately 20 percent each from the private and non-profit realms. More telling, perhaps, is that one in five came from beyond the Greater Toronto Area to join this important conversation.
The keynote speakers offered an inspiring and insightful look into the struggles and success stories of cycling, walking and transit-friendly cities from around the world. Mia Birk (Alta Planning + Design) told how Portland, Oregon, shook off its car-dependent roots and transformed the city into what it is today. Roelof Wittink (I-CE, Utrecht) from the Netherlands shared his approach to marketing a cycling culture drawn from his vast his experience in international advocacy. Michel Labrecque (Société de Transport de Montréal) brought his unique perspective as the chairman of Montreal's transit authority to showcase what he has coined the "Transportation Cocktail”.
Senior city staff led workshops the next day that gave delegates a first-hand look at a downtown main street revitalization in Kitchener, Ontario, as well as walking and cycling tours of recent public space and infrastructure developments in downtown Toronto.
For those who could not attend, the Coalition continues to update its website with photos, video and speaker presentations from the event. Mainstream media as well as urban-minded blogs have picked up the story, and can be viewed along with the event multimedia at http://torontocat.ca/completestreetsforum2011/media.