Car-Free Day: A good idea, but not without its difficulties

Yesterday was Car-Free Day. Couldn’t you tell? Some 1,500 municipalities, the vast majority in Europe, participated, but the idea hasn’t really caught on in the U.S., outside of a few scattered cities. Reading the European news does not give one great hope that it ever will. Hundreds of cities blocked off streets or entire districts to non-essential traffic. However, the bicyclists and pedestrians that descended on said districts complained that too many commercial and residential vehicles were allowed in, while streets outside the car-free areas were, ironically, clogged with traffic jams. Still, car-free advocates say the day has merit and hope the idea will spread. As Gus Yates of CarFreeCity USA says, “Asthma, the obesity epidemic, oil wars in the Middle East, traffic congestion, global warming — there’s a whole litany of problems for which decreasing the use of automobiles is a major part of the solution.”