The First Car Free Days Challenge: Toledo Spain, October 1994
Short History: Whereas Car Free Days have been organized in cities around the world all over the year for the last two decades, there is inevitably a spate of high activity in the month of September, much of it the result of the European Commission’s continuing commitment to both the concept of Car Free Days and their own European Mobility Week. And each year we here at World Streets dig into our archives and dust off one or two of the classics as a timely reminder of the fact that the Car Free Day concept has been around and doing its bit since the first international announcement and challenge was made in Toledo Spain on 19 October 1994.
Why do we bother to do this year after year? After all, there is copious documentation and background available at a click, as a quick tour of Google of those three little words yields somewhat more than 55,000 entries, including a fair if distinctly uneven introduction in the Wikipedia article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Car-Free_Days. The problem is that most of this material seriously misses the point, and as a result often handicaps cities and groups wishing to organize a Day (a week or month close) to underestimate potential of this approach. The trick is that all of this is quite a simple as it may at first glance appear.
To this end, here we are once again minding the store with the original 1994 article announcing the concept, along with several others from our archives which would appear here in the coming days. A general reference which the reader may find of use is the general introduction which appears here – https://worldstreets.wordpress.com/tag/car-free-days/. You will find at the end of this reposting, three separate annexes which provide supplemental background on (Annex A) New Mobility – 1988-1994 Program Summary; (B) Other Tools to Get the Job Done; and (C) a listing of more recent references.
Dealing with good and evil (in traffic)
In 2010 a 38-year-old motorist filled with remorse entered a police station in the Netherlands to give himself up. Twenty years earlier he had run over a child and was ridden with guilt. The man explained that he slept badly since the accident, suffered from nightmares and could not find a decent permanent job. The approximately five-year-old child unexpectedly crossed the road and he could not brake in time. While another motorist took care of the victim, he drove away and since then he lived contrary to his conscience. Until it was too much for him that morning and he decided to surrender himself.
some say the world will
end in fire or ice but no
on a perfect day
Penang Institute welcomes this opportunity to provide comment on the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) proposals which have recently been shared with us. We hope that the following comments are taken in the spirit intended and we welcome an opportunity to discuss the issues raised further.
We commend the State for taking a bold and ambitious approach to the development of new transport infrastructure and would welcome an opportunity to help shape proposals so that they deliver optimal outcomes for Penang now, and far into the future.
The Penang Transport Master Plan provides an opportunity for Penang to significantly raise the development trajectory, but also offers an opportunity to leapfrog the mistakes of the West, and pursue a sustainable development path that will place Penang at the forefront of city development, making Penang a truly international and intelligent city.
The following analysis and recommendations for the PTMP were submitted by Mr. Stuart MacDonald, Head of Urban Studies of the Penang Institute on 21 December 2015. They are reproduced here in their entirety as submitted.
There are three “worlds” of cycling — and perhaps surprisingly they have very little to do with each other.
Two are much appreciated by those who practice them and are quite easy to do.
While the third often appears to be close to impossible. But it is far more important than the rest combined and multiplied by a thousand.
Let’s have a look. (And pleas also check out the critical comments that follow.)
Enjoy your trip
The following is a brilliant and important exchange on a topic that has a rich double meaning that is really worth getting across our idea-resistant noggins (heads, if you will) once and for all. If you believe that the most universal, the most fundamental, certainly the most responsible, even the noblest form of getting round is when we can make our trips safely by foot (or wheelchair if that is what we need to be independently mobile), than you as a responsible politician, administrator, planner or engaged voter, simply would not even for one minute consider engaging in this kind of folly.
So what you have here is an exchange that got started more than five years, and to which Syed Saiful Alam has so well stated in the last posting in this short series, when he stubbornly repeats “No footover bridges in the name of clean air!!”, “No footover bridges in the name of clean air!!”.
Let’s take their postings in chrono order.
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Dear Gatnet Friends and Colleagues,
When Priyanthi Fernando decided to invite an innovative month-long peer dialogue on Gender Mainstreaming in Rural Transport in November, I was fascinated by her idea on several scores. First, the topic itself and very curious to see what the 150 or so people from various corners of the world signed into Gatnet would have to share and create together on this subject. And second, I was intrigued to see how our somewhat sagging original Dgroups website package was going to be able to support these exchanges. So I decided to jump in with both feet and as the exchanges moved along, I was struck by two things in turn.