Time to go Car Free

Guest Post by Patrick McDonough

On September 22, 2004, Orange County residents will join millions of others around the globe and celebrate World Car Free Day by leaving their cars at home.

Orange County residents who make a pledge to go Car Free for the day or go “Car Lite,” and reduce their number of drive-alone automobile trips will be entered in a drawing for prizes. Pledge forms can be picked up at Weaver Street Market, Whole Foods Market, Chapel Hill Town Hall, or Carrboro Town Hall. People can also pledge online at www.gocarfree.com . The EPA estimates that if 10 cars are taken off the road for only one day, 314 pounds of carbon dioxide are removed from the atmosphere.

The goal of Car Free Day is to have fun while reducing the overall use of cars in the community, and raising awareness of the social, environmental, and public health benefits of communities that are not dependent upon the automobile.

Whether you're someone who's been riding Chapel Hill Transit for years, or is contemplating walking or biking to work for the first time, everyone is encouraged to make a pledge and participate.

Car Free Day is sponsored by The Village Project, Inc. with the support of a host of community organizations. Visit www.gocarfree.com for lots of details. I particularly encourage everyone to talk a look at the "Personal Car Free Audit" page, which presents several strategies on how you can reduce your auto use.

Patrick McDonough is the Car Free Day Committee Chairperson



Patrick didn't mention it in his post, but he and James Carnahan are Robert Porter's guest on the Special Hour talking more about Car-Free Day. I only heard a small part of it this morning. I'm sure you'll be able to hear it over the web tomorrow at http://www.wchl1360.com/specialhour.jsp

I just spoke with WCHL staff. Normally, there would be a replay tonight at 8:10 but they have moved a local high school football game up one night to avoid the heavy rains.

Apparently, they also replay the Tues-Fri Special Hour programs of the week between 2 and 6 P.M. on Sundays.

Since Thursday is the 3rd Special Hour of the week, the show is most likely to air at 4 P.M. on Sunday. Check www.wchl1360.com for more information.

Since I am blessed to both work at home and live downtown, most of my days are already car free. I'm looking forward to sharing the pleasure of not driving with my neighbors on Wednesday!

I'm curious to hear from other readers. Are you going car-free? If so, how? If not, why?

"blessed" is a Christian term, I'm surprised you like the word.

I plan on burning up two tanks of 93 octane in my
V-8 SUV, on Sept. 22nd in support of Halliburton & VP Cheney.

I'll be using bike and bus if the weather's good, or feet and bus if the weather's bad.

My plans are to head to Durham in the morning to check out the event over there, then go on to work in RTP, then back to Carrboro for the evening event.

I'll bike into downtown Chapel Hill and then take TTA over to Durham. It's a short walk/ride from the DATA terminal to the Durham event at Parrish and Mangum.

TTA, DATA, and CHT buses can all carry 2 bikes on board. It's very easy to do if you've never tried it before.

After the Durham event, it's TTA to my office in RTP, then TTA back to Fetzer gym a few hours later, then back on the bike to Carrboro.

If it rains, I'll be using the F and J routes between Chapel Hill and Carrboro.

Personally, I think the easiest way to go Car Free or Car Lite is to look at what you can do locally. Recently, I've started walking and biking more often to Weaver St. Market, CVS, Harris Teeter, and the other downtown Carrboro retail establishments I frequent.

You can use Mapquest pretty easily to target walkable businesses and attractions around your address:

Being prepared helps. A quality, lightweight breathable rain jacket and a big umbrella go a long way. So does a water-resistant backpack, or even a shopping cart. We tried to look up some gear that helps people go Car Free (examples only-no endorsements implied!)



09/22/2004 6:30 AM

How ironic that on "Car Free" day all of the major news stories in this week's News of Orange County are about:

- The widening of I-85 through Orange County
- The traffic problems in downtown Hillsborough
- Elizabeth Brady Road Extension


Your name was drawn at the Car Free Celebration for a prize. With all the cheering, I missed what you won. It wasn't the bike. Might have been a month's free membership at SPA Health Club. Or maybe the really cool black bag. Anyway, you didn't have to be present to win.

Kudos to Patrick, James and all of their team for a great day and terrific party. The highlight for me (in addition to the music and talking to lots of folks) was the Segway. I never thought in a million years I would get to try one, and I loved it!

Awesome! I hope it has some TELEcommuter goodies in it. ;-}

Sorry I missed the celebration. I had walked to dinner with a friend and didn't get done in time.

Congrats Patrick and company for a great job on Car Free Day! I look forward to you doing it again next year.

Indeed, Ruby won the black bag with all the commuter goodies in it. (Pens, notepads, keychains, train whistles, etc.)

Drop me an email and we'll figure out how to get you your prize.

Thanks to everyone who participated. It was a great day- we set a goal of 1000 pledges to go Car Free or Car Lite and got 1,784.

We'll be leaving the website up (www.gocarfree.com) and probably adding some material and photos from the event soon.

When I gots home Wednesday,
I left my SUV idling outside to make sure the two tank objective was met.

I love the smells of progress!

I love the smell of sulfur burning (brimstone) because it reminds me where all the
LiBs in this town will eventually end up.


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