World Car Free Day Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Montréal prepares its second edition: A larger zone and slightly longer hours for an even more impressive urban festival
Montreal, 16 June 2004 – Montréal is actively preparing for its second edition of World Car Free Day, which will be held simultaneously in almost 1,500 cities around the world on Wednesday, September 22, 2004. For an even more impressive urban festival than last year, the zone closed to traffic has been moved and expanded, and the schedule of activities has been extended. This was announced by the representatives of the agencies organizing the event: Joël Gauthier, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Agence métropolitaine de transport (AMT); Claude Dauphin, Executive Committee member and head of transportation at the Ville de Montréal, as well as chairman of the board of the Société de transport de Montréal (STM); and Robert Laram�e, councillor for Saint-Jacques and chair of the advisory committee on urban development for Ville-Marie borough.
Persuasive results for the 2003 edition
Montréal’s first experience, the 2003 edition of World Car Free Day, was a resounding success. At the high point of the day, over 15,000 people were wandering the streets of the traffic-free zone to enjoy the activities that were on offer or simply to stroll quietly, away from the noise and pollution created by cars.
Furthermore, many of the residents of the Montréal metropolitan area responded to the appeal that they should leave their cars at home that day and take public transit instead. On this day alone, the STM’s metro system experienced a 10% increase in ridership, the intermunicipal transit councils (CITs), the Société de transport de Laval and the Réseau de transport de Longueuil saw an increase of between 8% and 15%, while the AMT’s commuter trains had an increase of approximately 13%.
According to Joël Gauthier, “This is an unmistakable sign that citizens are aware of the environmental and public health issues directly related to transportation, especially in urban areas. Like the other participating cities around the world, we want to use this entertaining and informative event to educate and sensitize the public.”
On September 22, 2003, Montréal recorded an immediate decrease in pollution, with 40% less carbon monoxide (CO) and nitric oxide (NO) within the traffic-free zone, compared to regular Mondays. The recently published annual report of Montréal’s environment division dedicates considerable space to the results of World Car Free Day, which stands out as a major event in the battle against urban pollution.
“As the person responsible for transportation at the Ville de Montréal, I am delighted that Montréal has become the leader of the World Car Free Day event in Canada. It’s good for Montréalers but it’s also good for Montréal’s image internationally. May I add that the STM is proud to be associated with the 2004 edition and to contribute to promoting public transit,” said Claude Dauphin.
The 2004 edition of World Car Free Day
The program will be issued in early September. Our teams are already working to make this day another success. The zone and the operating hours have already been decided on.
“This year, the event will take place on a Wednesday, which may make life easier for merchants for whom Monday is often delivery day. Moreover, the traffic-free zone has been moved slightly east, to include the Place Ville Marie, Phillips Square, Complexe Desjardins and Place des Arts sites, which are typical downtown sites that are appropriate for urban festivals,” said Robert Laram�e. He added, “I encourage the merchants in question to occupy the sidewalk facing their businesses and expand their business activities by serving food and drinks or displaying their goods for sale.”
The technical details: Zone, closing hours and parking
On Wednesday, September 22, car traffic will be prohibited between 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., between de Maisonneuve Boulevard West and Ren�-L�vesque Boulevard (open), and McGill College and Saint-Urbain streets (open). The STM’s bus routes 15, 61, 80, 129 and 168 will be modified accordingly.
Parking lots will be accessible before 9:30 a.m. and after 3:30 p.m. No cars will be allowed into the zone during the street closing hours. In order to free up the zone completely, street parking (meters) will be prohibited from 12 a.m. (midnight) to 3:30 p.m. on September 22.
If you would like more information, the AMT’s website www.amt.qc.ca/sansvoiture is dedicating a whole section to World Car Free Day. The results of the 2003 edition are presented in detail. The section will be updated regularly to keep citizens up to date on the various activities available.
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