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.
And just in case you may not happen to know . . . back in early 2005, the City of Lyon, in close partnership with the firm JCDecaux (street furniture, outdoor advertising) , got together in a lively partnership and for the first time ever in a city anywhere on the planet decided to dump a couple of thousand “public bikes” onto the streets of a city, keep them working and see what happens. And they never looked back.
We often hear that transportation reform is going to require massive public investments, large construction projects, elaborate technology deployments, and above all and by their very nature are going to take a long time before yielding significant results. This is quite simply not true. This approach, common in the last century and often associated with the “American transportation model”, no longer has its place in a competitive, efficient, democratic city And we can start tomorrow, if we chose to.
To get a feel for this transformative learning reality let’s start with a quick look at a first lot of ideas for Slow Street Architecture as a major means for reducing traffic related nuisances, accident prevention and improving quality of life for all. These approaches are not just “nice ideas”. They have proven their merit and effectiveness in hundreds of cities around the world. There is no good reason that they cannot do the same in your city. Starting tomorrow morning.
(For further background on external sources feeding this listing, see Sources and Clues section below.)
Subject: Help wanted to bring Africa Streets to Dar es Salaam for the 26-28 June 2018 ITDP MOBILIZE events
Dear Friends of sustainable transport, sustainable cities and sustainable lives, greetings,
Here is what I want to do for our common cause and that just may interest you.. It is a long shot, but after half a day of turning the ideas around in my mind I decided to give it a try and seek counsel on this from our 10k plus international readers.. Let’s have a look.
From the editor’s desk: If you get it, New Mobility policy reform is a no-brainer in 2018. However, while the New Mobility Agenda is a great starting place, it is not going to get the job somehow miraculously done just because it is the only game in town when it comes to sustainable transport. There is plenty of competition for your thin wallet, all that space on the street, and especially for that space between our ears. We have a few potential sticking points here that need to be overcome first.
Let’s have a quick look. After some years of talking with cities, and working and observing in many different circumstances, here is my personal shortlist of the barriers most frequently encountered in trying to get innovative transportation reform programs off the ground, including even in cities that really do badly need a major mobility overhaul.
To get a better feel for this from the perspective of day to day reality when it comes to trying to get wherever you want to go during morning rush hour in Tallinn, let’s have a look at a report by two Estonian researchers, – by Helen Poltimäe and Mari Jüssi, under the title . . .
Factors Affecting Choice of Travel Mode in Tallinn