Car-Free Day Lets Europeans Breathe Easier

Millions leave their cars at home

| September 26, 2003


On September 21, millions of people breathed easier as Europeans and others in over a thousand communities in at least 20 countries observed the sixth annual international 'car-free' day. Started in France in 1998, 'car-free' days have spread around the globe as a way for local activists and officials to demonstrate the impact of private cars on air quality and showcase sustainable transportation alternatives. According to the European Mobility Week web site, nearly 40 percent of all transport-related carbon dioxide emissions come from private cars in cities. On this 'car-free' day, cities from Athens to Paris to Dublin closed off major roadways, allowing only pedestrians, bicycles, buses, emergency vehicles, and trucks powered by clean alternative fuels or electricity. British organizers even prepared a humorous Car User's Survival Kit on bus etiquette, reports TerraDaily, including helpful phrases like 'Is that seat free?' and 'Is this the correct bus stop for...?' Canadians got in on the act as well, shutting down major streets to auto traffic in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Victoria.
-- Leif Utne

Go there>>European Mobility Week web site

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