MONTREAL – A city where people can go to work, do some shopping, go play fifteen minutes only: this is what sucks the mayor of Montréal, Valérie Plant.
The concept of “city in 15 minutes” is being promoted in a recent report from the C40 on the recovery post-pandemic, advocating a raise ecological and fair. In this city of the future, it is envisaged that the townspeople can get to work and access essential services in a few minutes walk or bike.
Mrs. Plant was part of the working group that produced the report was established at the end of April by the C40, a network of global cities wishing to fight against climate change.
“There is an idea that I found fabulous, and I think we will push more to the C40, it is the idea of 15 minutes (…) to go to work, shopping, entertainment. Which is close enough to a concept of English that is called work, live and play. It is a district and a city on a human scale”, argued Ms. Plant.
“In Paris, the mayor (Anne) Hidalgo decided that she was going to push this element and I look at it very closely, it is very interesting”, adds the mayor of Montreal.
Despite the rigours of winter, Mrs. Plant believes that the concept could apply here, provided you build on the network of active and public transport.
“15 minutes could very well be effective with a public transportation that is really comprehensive, with a lot of offers, because for now, 15 minutes is quite impossible in transit,” she said.
The “15 minutes” in itself is largely symbolic, ” explains the mayor. It may be that in some cities, we are talking about 20 or even 30 minutes depending on the local situation. The goal at the end, these are shorter trips.
Measures taken in Montreal during the pandemic-they have attracted attention from other cities?
“They were very impressed by our ability to deploy pedestrian streets and bicycle paths safe in so little time,” says Mrs. Plant.
The quick installation of active routes safe during the pandemic has not made the happiness of all, merchants criticized the initiative and the lack of consultation.
The active routes, safe places have first been installed in order to “support the distancing,” says Mrs. Plant.
“Now it is temporary, then after that, if we decide to move forward, we will consult, we will adapt, but I said from the beginning : the COVID it was an extraordinary crisis and it was necessary to have exceptional measures.”
According to the mayor, it is better to experiment with new ideas that maintain the status quo.
The report of the C40 is a link between the pandemic and the climate emergency, featuring also warned against “a return to business as usual (business continuity)”.
Fighting climate change goes through the cities, insists Ms. Plant, and “if the Quebec government wants to achieve its targets, it is Montreal that it’s going”.