Wednesday, September 22, 2004

World Car-Free Day

It is hard not to like the WSJ's coverage of today's big non-event, World Car-Free Day. The piece says it all. Here it is:

"Honk if You Hate Cars"

"You may not know it from all the traffic, but today is officially "World Car-Free Day." As for all those environmental enthusiasts who intend to mark the moment by parking their Beamers and hybrids for the next 24 hours, the Competitive Enterprise Institute is issuing a little challenge.
Car-Free Day started with local activists more than a decade ago and has since grown into an official event for governments world-wide. The goal is to hang up the car keys for a day and contribute to building a fossil-fuel-less paradise by biking, walking and rollerskating about town. Many European cities will offer free or reduced-rate bus and commuter train service, while some U.S. places (Berkeley, California, for one) will shut down a section of the city to cars for the afternoon.
"And yet promoters have been perplexed to discover that several hundred fewer locales are taking part this year than did the 1,300 in 2003. Maybe it's because one test drive with a car-free world is inconvenience enough. Which gets to CEI's request that supporters of Car-Free day take part in a little "sincerity test." How hard is it, after all, to hide the garage door opener for one sunny afternoon when you've had months to plan?
"The real test, says CEI, is for all those participating in today's experiment to make it as real-world as possible. The group suggests that participants make their car-free trips today come rain or shine, carrying several bags of groceries, toting a baby if they have one, and to be sure to include a nighttime trip. This is, after all, how the world's love affair with the automobile began."