MUPpets in the field: Laura
Alright… I’ve finally brought myself to reflect a bit on my internship and share a few thoughts, just as my classmates so generously have this summer. Cheers.
This summer I had the pleasure of interning with the transportation planning division at IBI Group, a large consulting company with 76 offices worldwide that is based in Toronto. While my background is not transportation related, I really enjoyed being challenged to learn about these issues for four months since the remainder of my course and project work at McGill will not be transportation related (though active transportation networks are of great interest to me). At the start of the summer I felt like I was in over my head with technical language and planning concerns I’d never considered, but by the time I was on the road back to Montreal this fall it really sank in just how much I’d learned.
While I spent most of my summer working in Toronto, I was lucky to be able to work from Regina for three weeks in July (family BBQs and hangouts in Vic Park? Yes, please!). As many RUE readers know, IBI Group is the consultant currently working on both the Downtown Transportation Study and the city-wide Transportation Master Plan (TMP) for Regina. While I assisted with a number of projects in other cities, my work this summer largely centred on the pedestrian and cycling aspects of the Regina TMP – documenting current walking/cycling conditions in the city, researching precedents and planning approaches in other cities that may be applicable, and helping develop draft recommendations.
While in Regina, I also took part in the TMP multi-modal workshops that brought together city staff, local stakeholder groups, and citizens to discuss issues related to walking and cycling (including walk/cycle tours to discuss the current conditions and opportunities as a group… see above photo). The workshops were extremely helpful with respect to the work I was doing – city staff were very open with their knowledge about the costs of installing and maintaining various kinds of infrastructure (a huge learning moment for me) as well as current policies and processes. The open discussion was productive and allowed everyone to actively engage in a conversation about what options could work best in Regina – and there have already been some good things come out of the workshops. As I posted about here, Regina cyclists have been contributing to a cycling map to identify obstacles and amenities in the city – information that is helpful not just to local cyclists, but to planners and policymakers as well.
Overall, I don’t think I could ask for a better internship. My bosses and colleagues were generous with their time and knowledge which made for a great learning environment, and on top of that, I got to take a fresh look at the city in which I grew up and look for ways to make it even better… one of my favourite pastimes.