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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 09-03-04, 10:28 PM   #1
randya
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September 22, 2004 is International Car Free Day

I'm reposting this from another thread:

If you want to get the cars out of your city, even if for starters it's just in a small area for one day, September 22 is Car Free Day all over the world. Participate or organize an event in your city. Portland has organized a street fair during which we're going to reclaim some public space for a day with workshops on how to be car-free, art, music and bike fun.

Portland: http://shifttobikes.org/carfreeday/
Seattle: http://www.thinksmall.org/car-free/
Canada: http://www.carfreeday.ca/
Europe: http://www.22september.org/
Somewhere in the UK: http://www.lbwf.gov.uk/index/news/car-free-day-04.htm
Int'l index: http://www.ecoplan.org/carfreeday/cf_index.htm
History of Car Free Day: http://ecoplan.org/carfreeday/general/origins.htm
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Old 09-04-04, 09:55 PM   #2
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Everyday is carfree day for me.
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Old 09-04-04, 11:12 PM   #3
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Old 09-05-04, 06:21 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Chris L
Everyday is carfree day for me.
Darn it, you beat me to it.

Be seen to be car-free everyday and set an example.

Believe me, in my experience, one-day-a-year events like this allow the arm-chair greens/ conservationists/ environmentalists to feel all warm and fuzzy and to assuage their consciences, then go back to their destructive lifestyles for another 364 days.
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Old 09-05-04, 06:42 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rowan
Be seen to be car-free everyday and set an example.

Believe me, in my experience, one-day-a-year events like this allow the arm-chair greens/ conservationists/ environmentalists to feel all warm and fuzzy and to assuage their consciences, then go back to their destructive lifestyles for another 364 days.
I generally agree with being car free by example, but I also think that Car Free Day street fairs and celebrations have more traction than you acknowledge. How many people do you think an event like this needs to reach to be worthwhile? 3, 5 or 10% of all attendees? On the other hand, if your city isn't already working to make itself bike, transit and pedestrian friendlier, probably no amount of Car Free Day celebrations will change anything (it's probably unlikely to be a big event someplace like Detroit or Dallas, anyway...).

IMO, the downside is not that hypocritical 'destructive' environmentalists will turn out just to feel warm and fuzzy, but that most attendees will already be car free and you will only be preaching to the choir...
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Old 09-05-04, 07:05 PM   #6
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,,,it's probably unlikely to be a big event someplace like Detroit or Dallas, anyway...
Down here in the Lone Star State, 'car free' means you only have a pick up truck.
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Old 09-05-04, 09:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by randya
... most attendees will already be car free and you will only be preaching to the choir...
Agreed.

The main thrust of my original post was that we have seen a substantial increase in my part of the world for bicycle commuters (and riders generally) not because of so-called car-free days, but because people see others out on bikes and then think "I can do that too". By comparison, car-free day or sustainable transport promotions, where cycling is competing against other modes such as public transport, have not shown similar significant success.

For what it's worth, I found at the Velocity conference in Paris last year a consensus that cycling was taking participants from public transport, rather than converting drivers and passengers from motor vehicle transport.

Last edited by Rowan; 09-05-04 at 09:12 PM.
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Old 09-05-04, 09:47 PM   #8
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For what it's worth, I found at the Velocity conference in Paris last year a consensus that cycling was taking participants from public transport, rather than converting drivers and passengers from motor vehicle transport.
Interesting! Are transit systems in general picking up motorists, for a net gain, or are the transit ridership numbers going down in general? In Portland, the transit system is good and lots of people use it; there are also many more cyclists than in most other US cities. Maybe transit is the intermediate step; i.e. motorist --> transit rider --> bicyclist?

IMO, a local transit system needs to be pretty decent in a lot of ways before it's taken seriously as an alternative by motorists, but I'd almost always rather ride my bicycle if possible than use even a good transit system...

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Old 09-05-04, 10:09 PM   #9
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I think more helpful than car-free days, would be to start putting car-free (better known a pedestrian zones) in more and more cities and steadily expand them over time. They are just so popular, with shoppers, people in cafes, etc. I might add they are bike free zones as well, so you don't have to worry about clocked by delivery boys and speed freaks.

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Old 09-05-04, 10:46 PM   #10
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Interesting! Are transit systems in general picking up motorists, for a net gain, or are the transit ridership numbers going down in general?
Unfortunately, in my reading of it, there was little to no net gain caused by motorists transferring to public transport.
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