The sun is out here in Vancouver and so are all the people! Pretty much the minute the sun peeps out from behind the clouds, we’re all instantly in shorts. With more people walking and cycling in the not-rain, I was reminded this week that Car Free Day season is almost upon us!
Car Free Days were originally meant as anti-car protests but these days, they’re more like street festivals, where cities block off a major street for a day and pedestrians can roam freely, checking out live music and street food and other vendors. We have several in Vancouver every summer, staggered all over the city. Many car free days happen in conjunction with the annual World Car-Free Day, when drivers all over the globe are encouraged to leave their cars at home and use public transit, bikes or foot power to get around. This year’s event is on September 22, so mark your calendars!
The first time I encountered a Car Free Day in Vancouver, I was trying to run an errand on Commercial Drive and arrived there to find the street blocked off and pedestrians gamboling about in a festival-like atmosphere. It was novel to be able to walk on the road without fear of being run over – and liberating to not have to wait for the light in order to cross. Plus, the store I was visiting was giving out free samples. Winning!
The second time, we were having a dog emergency and were driving the dog to the vet. We didn’t know that the vet’s neighbourhood was having a car free day that day, so we had a take an enormous detour and park several blocks away in order to get there – carrying a 45lb sick dog up a hill was NOT the highlight of my week. So while I love the idea of car free days, I can see where they could really be problematic when you absolutely have to get somewhere by car…and can’t.
What do you think? Are car free days the greatest? Or do they drive you a little nuts? Take our poll below!
Do you have car free days in your city? Do you plan to attend…or stay away? Let us know in the comments!
- Rose R.