Article by Ms. Lea Müller, appearing in the Reykjavik Grapevine of Sept 19, 2019. The article is presented here below, and followed by historical background information and context on the Car Free Days phenomenon in which the city of Reykjavik and Iceland turned out to play a key historic role.
September 19, 2019, Reykjavik
To celebrate the annual Car-Free Day in Iceland, some of the main roads will be closed in the Reykjavík city centre this Sunday, September 22nd. The Reykjavík Mobility Parade will start at 13:00 and move through Miklubraut and Hringbraut to Lækjartorg, where festivities will take place.
Starting in 1996, the Car-Free movement has a long history in Iceland. The idea originated from the Accessible Cities Conference held in Spain two years prior to Iceland’s first festivity and the event has significantly grown in size since. Its main objectives are to promote public transport, bikes and walking and give people a chance to reflect on motorisation and how traffic can be improved in cities.
When, where, who?
This year, the Reykjavík Mobility Parade will put traffic on hold from 10:00 to 17:00. It sets off at 13:00 with people walking, skating, and biking down the streets of the town. It is supported by two e-buses from Strætó that can give people a ride if needed.
The parade for the Car-Free Day ends in festivities at Lækjartorg. There Jum Walker, the founder of Walk21, will give an opening speech, and Minister of Environment Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson will discuss environmental transportation issues with Sigurborg Ósk Haraldsdóttir from the city transport council. Apart from this, people can enjoy live music and visit different promotional and food stands. If you need your bike repaired, they will even set up a workshop for that purpose.
For anyone who has no choice but go somewhere by car on Sunday, we get it. Getting stuck in redirected traffic is not fun—so maybe take the Car-Free Movement’s ideas to heart and only head out if you really have to.
And please don’t get upset: if we can close roads for Mike Pence’s safety, we surely can do so for our environment.
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World Streets archives note: Back to Toledo Spain, 22 October 1994
As it happened a lady from Iceland was in the audience in Toledo on that day, and after the talk strolled up and asked a few questions of the keynote speaker (Eric Britton) and inventor of the concept of a citizen day without cars, and upon returning to Reykjavik set out carefully to prepare the world’s direct CFD ever, in Reykjavik (followed within a few weeks by two other pioneer cities celebrating their own CFDs in Bath (UK) and La Rochelle (France) — and a quarter century later literally thousands of cities in all corners of the world . The power of a good simple idea.
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Homework: More on CFDs when needed:
* Original World Car Free Days/New Mobility Agenda website at http://ecoplan.org/carfreedays/ (Opened in 1995, good resource/archive needs updating. Top menu now up-to-date and a useful resource in itself. Rest to follow shortly.)
* World Streets on Car Free Days at https://worldstreets.wordpress.com/tag/car-free-days/ (coverage by World Streets of Car Free Days since 2009)
* World Car Free Cities coverage at https://worldstreets.wordpress.com/category/car-free-cities – as above but broader coverage
* VTPI Online TDM Encyclopedia on car free days and car free planning– at https://goo.gl/wZGnJ5
* Our historic (1998-present) YGroups Car Free Café at http://goo.gl/SqPhPD
* Interview with editor of World Streets by Jane Harding of Carbusters magazine here.
* World Carfree Day page at Worldcarfree.net – http://www.worldcarfree.net/wcfd/
* Wikipedia on World Carfree Day – – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Car_Free_Day
* European Mobility Week (EC) – http://www.mobilityweek.eu/
* YouTube Car Free Days video library – http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=2120657BD0B30397 (informal and in need of work)
* xCars: Taking the issues from another angle, xCars: New Ways to Own and Use Cars
* And the latest car free day news here.
1. A good starting place – Thursday: A breakthrough strategy for reducing car dependence in cities.
2. Historical timeline (since 1958) of CFD events and trends at http://goo.gl/DE0BZH
3. The prize-winning collaborative Bogotá Car Free Day in 2000 – http://goo.gl/bg0IXJ
4. Very strong reference is the three-part series on “Rethinking Car Free Days in Taipei” – at https://worldstreets.wordpress.com/2011/10/12/rethinking-car-free-days-in-taipei-city/
* Finally *World Streets: the Politics of Transport in Cities at https://worldstreets.wordpress.com/ provides a comprehensive introduction and reference source to our work and approach.
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About the editor:
13, rue Pasteur. Courbevoie 92400 France
Bio: Founding editor of World Streets (1988), Eric Britton is an American political scientist, teacher, occasional consultant, and sustainability activist who has observed, learned, taught and worked on missions and advisory assignments on all continents. In the autumn of 2019, he committed his remaining life work to the challenges of aggressively countering climate change and specifically greenhouse gas emissions emanating from the mobility sector. He is not worried about running out of work. Further background and updates: @ericbritton | http://bit.ly/2Ti8LsX | #fekbritton | https://twitter.com/ericbritton | and | https://www.linkedin.com/in/ericbritton/ Contact: email@example.com) | +336 508 80787 (Also WhatApp) | Skype: newmobility.)