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Montréal Offers Learning Opportunities for Managers Outside the Convention Center

The 2009 ICMA Annual Conference is a perfect laboratory for learning about sustainability, urban transformation, mass transit, and more!

Montréal is a culturally rich, historic, cosmopolitan destination. It’s also a remarkable city that offers you (and ultimately your community and residents) hundreds of examples of leading practices in sustainability, urban transformation, and community viability. This article focuses on just a few of the educational opportunities you can take advantage of (at little or no cost) as part of the 2009 ICMA Annual Conference.

BIXI Bike-Sharing System Encourages Public Transit
In May 2009, the city of Montréal launched BIXI, a public bicycle-sharing system that makes 3,000 bicycles available to residents through 300 pay stations located throughout the city. The system is accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, between May and November.

Users can go to any BIXI pay station, accept the usage contract, pay by credit card to get an unlocking code, pick a bike, and peddle away. When finished, users return the bike to any BIXI station and push the front wheel into any empty dock. Pay periods are in 30-minute increments, and the first 30 minutes of any trip is free. A trip that lasts longer than 30 minutes costs $1.50 to $6/CN for each subsequent 30-minute period. (The increasing price scale is intended to keep the bikes in circulation.) Subscribe to the system for a year at $78 CN/$68 US, and you’ll get a BIXI key that you can insert directly into the bike dock of your choice without using the pay station.

Test drive the BIXI system yourself while attending the ICMA conference and see if it offers potential transit solutions for your community.

Transforming Neighborhoods: Conference Field Demos Highlight Urban Reuse
Quartier International de Montréal was an inner-city neighborhood characterized by beautiful, historic architecture and an aging and outdated infrastructure. Bringing the neighborhood back to life while preserving its unique sense of place presented a real design challenge for the city. During the complimentary field demonstration/walking tour, “Transforming a Neighborhood: Addressing Design Challenges in Quartier International de Montréal” on Sunday, September 13, 12:45 to 2:15 p.m., you’ll learn how the city addressed those challenges and transformed this aging neighborhood into a modern home for several UN agencies and other residents.

A second field demo/walking tour, “Transforming a Neighborhood: Creating an Urban Space in Quartier des Spectacles,” focuses on Montréal’s creation of a new urban space that will serve as a permanent venue for the dozens of festivals that attract tens of thousands of visitors to the city each year. The state-of-the-art facility will provide improved access during festivals, enhanced public safety and security, and quick cleanup after events. This complimentary field demo also takes place on Sunday, September 13, 12:45 to 2:15 p.m.

Transportation 102: Walkers and Bikers Welcome
After attending the ICMA Results Networks Program session, “Transportation 101: Designing for Walkers and Bikers,” on Monday, September 14, 9:45-11:00 a.m. (see page 10 of the conference preliminary program), come see this type of planning in action during the 12:45–3:15 p.m. field demonstration. The Island of Montréal is home to 16 municipal governments, and coordination and collaboration are keys to making transportation planning work. During this field demo, you’ll learn about the regional governance structure used for transportation planning and how Montreal has incorporated alternative transportation routes, such as public transit lanes, bike lanes, and multiuse trails into future transportation plans. The cost is $20.00.

And there’s lots more! See page 21 of your 2009 Annual Conference preliminary program to read about “Westmount’s Kitchen Collection Composting: Working toward 0% Waste Stream (Monday, September 14, 9:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.) and the “Lachine Canal: From Waste to Wow!” (Tuesday, September 15, 12:45 to 3:15 p.m.). Then register for ICMA’s 95th Annual Conference, September 13–16, in Montréal!

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