Associate Professor & Progam Director, Department of Geography and Program in Planning, University of Toronto
Recipient of TCAT’s 2011 Active Transportation Champion Award
Last night at the City of Toronto’s Bicycle Friendly Business awards, Nancy Smith Lea was pleased to present TCAT’s third annual Active Transportation Champion award to Professor Paul Hess. This award is for an individual or organization that has worked to raise the profile of cycling or walking and its relationship to a high quality of urban life.
Paul Hess is well known and loved by students in the Department of Geography & Planning at the University of Toronto. As a Professor, and new Planning Program Director, he goes over and above the call of duty to inspire and guide students to become professionals in the field of active transportation.
But it is Paul’s work in the community that pushed him to the top of nominees for TCAT’s award. Most notably:
- The hard-hitting comprehensive report he co-authored in 2006 titled Making Toronto’s Streets that laid bare what happens behind the scenes at City Hall resuling in our car-dominated streets. The report was researched and written in close collaboration with pedestrian advocates Janice Etter and Rhona Swarbrick who were instrumental in Toronto adopting the first pedestrian charter in North America.
- His role as an advisor on TCAT’s Bike Lanes, On-Street Parking and Business reports to assess business and community support for reallocating space on Bloor Street to bike lanes or widened sidewalks.
- His close working relationship with Jane’s Walk resulting in several excellent research studies about walkability in suburban high-rise neighbourhoods.
It’s uncommon for academics to reach out and make links with community groups and advocates yet Dr. Hess makes it a regular and ongoing part of his work. By building these cross-sector alliances, Dr. Hess extends the reach and impact of the work of both the university and the non-profit sector.
He is an inspiration and a true active transportation champion!