In six days, MTD will bring a national conference to Champaign-Urbana. The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) awarded MTD the hosting honors for their biennial Public Transportation and Universities Conference March 29 through April 1.
This conference brings together transportation providers like MTD that provide campus and community service. Attendees will also include agencies that operate university-only systems as well as systems run by students (check out UC Davis’ Unitrans). Over 100 university community transportation professionals, university/college officials and faculty, students, planners, and businesses supporting these services are registered to attend.
Gil Penalosa of 8-80 Cities
Gil Penalosa is the Executive Director of 8-80 Cities and the keynote speaker for APTA’s Public Transportation & Universities Conference.
The keynote speaker for the conference is Gil Penalosa, Executive Director of 8-80 Cities. Penalosa’s non-profit organization is based in Toronto, Canada where his team is “dedicated to contributing to the transformation of cities into places where people can walk, bike, access public transit and visit vibrant parks and public places.” Through engagement, 8-80 Cities strives to connect across sectors to “inspire the creation of cities that are easily accessible, safe and enjoyable for all.”
And that’s where their name comes in. “If you create a city that’s good for an 8 year old and good for an 80 year old, you will create a successful city for everyone. This is an 8-80 City.”
Here’s an excerpt of Penalosa’s bio:
Gil advises decision makers and communities on how to create vibrant cities and healthy communities for everyone regardless of social, economic, or ethnic background. His focus is the design and use of parks and streets as great public places, as well as sustainable mobility: walking, cycling and use of public transit.
As Executive Director of 8-80 Cities for the past 8 years, Gil has worked in over 150 different cities in all continents.
Gil also works as Urban Expert on Mobility and Citizen Engagement for the renowned Danish firm Gehl Architects. He serves on the Board of Directors of City Parks Alliance, USA, and is a Senior Advisor to StreetFilms in NYC, American Trails and America Walks. Gil holds an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, where he recently was selected as one of the “100 Most Inspirational Alumni” in the school’s history. Last year he received the Queen Elizabeth II – Diamond Jubilee Medal, given by the Governor General of Canada, and was named one of the “Top 10 Most Influential Hispanic – Canadians.”
Penalosa will address conference attendees on Sunday and then it’s your turn! MTD is facilitating two talks that are open to the public on Monday, March 31. The first will be at the Champaign Public Library from noon to 1 pm in the Robeson Room. You do not need to RSVP, but it is appreciated. Please see our Eventbrite for full details.
Walking, Biking, and Public Transportation: Creating Vibrant and Healthy Communities
The second talk will be on campus at the ACES Library, Information, and Alumni Center located between Gregory and Peabody in Urbana, west of Dorner. Penalosa will give the same talk as at the Champaign Public Library but with a student focus. The event begins at 5 pm in the Heritage Room. Thanks to the Department of Urban & Regional Planning for helping make the event happen!
MTD invites community leaders, area developers, business owners, parents of school-age children, commuters, residents – EVERYONE – to attend one of these events. Creating vibrant and healthy communities with accessible options to walk, bike, or ride the bus stands to benefit everyone. Alternative transportation contributes to sustainable and healthy mobility that is often more social. It encourages parks and public spaces where pedestrians and cyclists feel safe to gather and travel.
Sold? Let us know which event you’re coming to in the comments and what you’re most interested in hearing Penalosa speak about.