The First Car Free Days Challenge: Toledo Spain, October 1994
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.
Discussion document for policy makers & civic leaders
– Paul Chatterton, School of Geography, University of Leeds, UK. Full text HERE
This climate emergency is also a ‘city emergency’. Most of the world’s population will soon be urban. Cities are locked in to high energy throughputs, are responsible for about three-quarters of global GHGs and energy use, have ecological footprints larger than their city limits, and remain locked in to high-growth, high-consumption lifestyles.
In the context of growing awareness of the severity of climate breakdown, the central role cities play in this, and the lack of rapid action, municipalities around the world are declaring ‘climate Emergencies’. To date 40 municipalities in the UK have signed such a declaration. Worldwide around 50 million now live in cities that have declared emergencies. This is an exciting addition to city level action through, for example, the C40 Leadership Group and the Global Covenant of Mayors.
Every day is a perfect occasion for World Streets to announce publicly, loudly and yet once again our firm belief that the most important single thing that our society, our nations and our cities could do to increase the fairness and the effectiveness of our transportation arrangements would be to make it a matter of the law that all decisions determining how taxpayer money is invested in the sector should be decided by councils that respect full gender parity. We invite you to join us in this challenge and make it one of the major themes of sustainable transport policy worldwide in the year immediately ahead.
Sometimes it can be an advantage to be small. You can do things bigger and faster.
Icelandic Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir in an interview of 25 July 2019 with Ciara Nugent of Time Magazine. See https://time.com/5634790/iceland-prime-minister-climate-change-interview/ for full text. (Thank you Ciara and Time for these extracts .)
One of the only government heads from an environmentalist party, Jakobsdottir wants to make the country a leader in climate action too, with an ambitious plan to make Iceland carbon neutral by 2040, 10 years before the target set for Iceland’s neighbors in the E.U. “It can be an advantage to be small,” she says. “You can do things bigger and faster. You can actually change everything in a very short time.”
CLIMATE, SPACE, TIME, MOBILITY,
A quick shot from Reykjavik of a road at the start of a working day
That’s a good part of the challenge. Let’s go to work!
Source: Climate/Action/Plan Creating a New Mobility Ecosystem for Reykjavik 2020
FB Link: https://www.facebook.com/ClimateActionPlan-Creating-a-New-Mobility-Ecosystem-for-Reykjavik-2020-102044774511708/?modal=admin_todo_tour
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Solve this one and you are well on your way.
A LESSON FOR PENANG
The great weakness of the local political establishment to Penang’s transport planning and policy needs is that they have insufficient technical backgrounds and competence to solve the mobility problems the people of Penang . This was made clear by the recommendations of the final Halcrow report in 2013 and nothing has been done since to improve the situation.
There are other more effective approaches to dealing with these problems with a strategy of affordable policies, measures and tools capable of giving swift results and a fraction of the costs of the proposed massive infrastructure program, the PTMP.
Let’s have a look at the Canadian report “Rethinking Malahat Solutions: Or, Why Spend a Billion Dollars if a Five-Million Dollar Solution is Better Overall?” at www.vtpi.org/malahat.pdf
In the small fishing town of Ísafjörður, Iceland, an exciting development in road safety has just popped up – almost literally. A new pedestrian crossing has been painted that appears to be 3D by way of a cleverly-detailed optical illusion.