WINNER OF GOING GREEN CHALLENGE SELECTED FROM 1200 ENTRIES BY SMART COMMUTE NTV: Award Ceremony Marks Grand Opening of Smart Commute NTV’s New Home

After 4 months, 8 camp visits, 1500 youth submissions and 1200 community entries, Smart Commute – North Toronto, Vaughan (NTV) today announced the grand prize winner of its Going Green Challenge at the launch of its new high visibility office in York University’s York Lanes. Congratulations to Liesl Joson, for her thoughtful answer to the contest question: “How would you green Toronto’s commute?” Liesl’s answer: “The introduction of a single, affordable, refillable smart card useable across all transit systems may entice people to use mass transit.” Joson was present at the launch party to claim her prize: a trip for two to downtown Montreal, courtesy of Smart Commute NTV, Via Rail Canada and Best Western Europa.

Upon conclusion of the youth segment of its Going Green Campaign, which asked 1500 campers for a visual response to the question: “What’s your green way of getting somewhere, like school, camp, or the grocery store?”, Smart Commute NTV extended its Going Green Challenge to adults in the community. The contest question was designed to inspire a dialogue about green transportation and eco-friendly commuting habits. After receiving over 1200 submissions and generating a buzz about smart commuting, the community portion of the campaign has been deemed a total success.

Selecting the contest winner was a difficult task for Smart Commute NTV’s esteemed panel of 15 judges, including: Alan Shefman (Councillor, City of Vaughan), Ed Drass (Columnist, Metro), Eleanor McMahon (Executive Director, Share the Road) and Brian Shifman (Executive Director, Smart Commute NTV), among others.

“My Toronto is one where an individual can dramatically reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, not to mention their gas bill, by changing their commuting habits just one day a week. Based on the array of diverse, creative and intelligent submissions to our Going Green Challenge, I’m pleased to say that many Torontonians have already opted for a more sustainable commute and are inspired to take further action,” said Brian Shifman, Executive Director, Smart Commute NTV.

Smart Commute NTV was especially pleased to announce the winning submission at the opening of its new office in York University’s York Lanes. The location represents a milestone for Smart Commute NTV, which was formed in 2001 through a collaboration between the public and private sectors. It will allow the not-for-profit, the recent recipient of Toronto’s ‘Bicycle-Friendliest Suburban Business’, to enhance services available to its many business partners, which include Sunnybrook Hospital, Enbridge Gas Distribution, Powerstream, and York University. Members of the community are encouraged to drop in for assistance with carpooling, transit, cycling or walking to work.
Going Green Campaign Honorable Mentions (selected from 1200 community entries)…

  • Our unit now works longer days, but only 4 days a week instead of 5. This drastically cuts down on gas consumption and air pollution. – Brett
  • Make certain roads across the city bike and pedestrian-only, making it possible to safely bike or walk across the entire city. – Emily
  • Encourage roof-top gardens and forests on buildings or bus shelters to transform carbon dioxide to oxygen in cities.
  • Declare an official work from home day – pick one of the busiest commute days of the year! – Susan
  • We have to redesign our urban spaces so that pedestrian and cycling activity is more attractive than driving cars. – Scott
  • Put ‘green’ grass mats on top of TTC & other public transit buses. “Wheel Lawns” would clean the air, reduce temperature & absorb pollution. – Max
  • I would put carpool lanes on the 401 and charge people who drive large vehicles (for superficial reasons) a large tax. – Mark
  • I’d convince David Miller to declare a “Toronto Green Commuters’ Day”: a city-wide holiday for all carpoolers, TTC riders & cyclists! – Meghan
  • For those individuals who have to ride varying metro like GO, TTC, & Mississauga Transit, offer combo packages to increase ridership. – Unknown
  • Make re-useable travel mugs the only coffee allowed on Go Transit & TTC. Cushion the transition with free morning coffee with travel mug! – John
  • People owning cottages must leave the City by Friday morning at 6 am – lessens Friday traffic and idling time… Also, trucks on 401 only after 7 pm – Don
  • TTC Metropasses could be branded and subsidized by corporations…lowering the cost and increasing the riders. – Dave
  • The practical answer: Vastly expand covered, multilevel parking at all TTC stations with green-heated walkways to the station. Make it nice! – Berton

To read more submissions from the Going Green Challenge or to preview the youth submissions from stage one of the campaign, please visit SmartCommuteNTV.ca, or contact info@smartcommuteNTV.ca for more information.

Background:
The first Transportation Management Association (TMA) in Ontario, Smart Commute NTV was established in 2001 and now operates two projects in North Toronto, Vaughan and Northeast Toronto. On behalf of its partners, Smart Commute NTV represents approximately 90,000 employees and students. It functions as part of a broader network of TMAs across the Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton. It encourages individuals to Travel Smarter. Cleaner. Better. by
considering alternatives to single occupancy vehicle commuting including cycling, transit, carpooling, walking, and tele-commuting.

For more information about Smart Commute NTV, or to schedule an interview with Executive Director, Brian Shifman, please contact Jody Graydon jgraydon@smartcommuteNTV.ca or 416 650-8305.

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About Smart Commute
Commuter benefits program for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.

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