Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ganging up: TRANSIT

Serendipity, once again!

It must have been already up in the air for me to connect to it so accurately, akashic style.
Barely a month ago, I wrote a post, part bitchy rant, part serious analysis, at the end of which I recommended that cyclists should not to entrust their hopes and advocacy efforts to other "cyclists" but to any grouping of the following:
- Pedestrian associations 
- Health associations of all kinds promoting sound lifestyle policies and comprehensive disease prevention
- Child obesity concern groups 
- Child safety groups
- Lots of school administrations would love to see car traffic decrease in their areas
- Folks against sound pollution and urban noise (they exist)
- Elder leisure groups who like to walk and visit their towns
- Architectural heritage folks who like to preserve cachet and correct the mistakes from the 60s and 70s (like the movement for the removal of urban highways)
- Better living, livable environment folks
- Voluntary simplicity folks
- Those in the degrowth movement (stronger in Europe)
- Peak oil activists (those ones really rock the cashbah)
- Those for the empowerment of minorities, of people living in poorer neighbourhoods and for the integration of immigrants
- Student associations
- Political parties who are very clear on cycling infrastructure issues
- And of course urban planners of the new school type
 And I concluded:
"That's a lot of folks. Properly ganged up, there is no reason for the situation not to change fast."
You can read the whole post here.

Little did I know that merely a month later, such a gang would really get created for the specific purpose of lobbying for better transportation alternatives!

This group calls itself TRANSIT, "Alliance pour le financement des transports collectifs au Québec", i.e. alliance for the (proper) financing of collective transportation in Quebec.

It is composed of the following organisations:
  • Association des usagers du transport adapté de Longueuil, an association of disabled users of Longueuil's public transit service;
  • Communauto, of course, our famous, successful and much appreciated car-share program had to be part of the gang;
  • Convercité, an agency promoting the optimisation of the urban space and environment;
  • ENvironnement JEUnesse, an organisation focusing on sensitizing and educating youth about various environmental issues, including active transportation;
  • Équiterre, a well-known NGO active in organic farming, alternative transportation, fair trade and local consumption, climate change, green advocacy in general;
  • Fondation David Suzuki, a well-known environmental advocacy NGO that became pretty vocal recently on cycling issues;
  • Forum URBA 2015, a group ralated to the University of Quebec in Montreal, dealing and organising conferences on urbanism and tourism;
  • Greenpeace, well of course, everybody knows this one;
  • Mobiligo, a consulting company specialising in commuting and mobility management;
  • Mobili.T, a centre for mobility management and the promotion of alternative transportation in the Quebec City area;
  • Table de concertation des aînés de l’île de Montréal, an organisation focusing on the 55 plus group, on issues of well-being well-aging, agism and autonomy. This is very important to me, as I think the seniors will become a very powerful force in imposing the concept of livable, walkable and quiet cities in the future. Aging in the suburbs is simply bullshit. One cannot be reliant on a car past a certain age;
  • Vivre en Ville, an organisation supporting livable communities, alternative transportation, green urbanism etc.;
  • Voyagez Futé, a centre for mobility management and the promotion of alternative transportation in the Montreal area;
Some of them I already knew, others I discovered today.
These folks, whether individually or collectively have done and are still doing far more for urban cycling than any cyclist could ever dream of.
Cycling organisations overall have been complete failures at obtaining significant improvements in cycling conditions for their members. Political activism, better urban planning, green advocacy and image makeover (Cycle chic and others) have done far more in far less time.

I am still in shock due to the timing of all of this!
I wish this coalition all the best, and I hope we all reap the fruits of all these advocacy efforts.

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