Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Can You Do Entirely Without Your Car Today? Join Others around Planet for 'World Carfree Day'

Quite a number of Oahu residents will get along just fine today without using a car. Many of them don’t own one, or if they do, they’ll either use transit or their own two feet to reach their destinations.

Still others are hospitalized, are invalids or otherwise won’t have access to the “indispensable” private automobile. I have no idea what those numbers are, and if you know, leave a comment at the bottom of this post.

But here’s a guess about the future: Once Honolulu rail is completely built out along its 20-mile route, many many more Oahu residents won’t reach for the car keys to get to work, attend school, go to the movies, shop at a mall or any number of other activities. They’ll use the train.

Here’s what the World Carfree Network says about today:

“Every September 22, people from around the world get together in the streets, intersections, and neighbourhood (sic) blocks to remind the world that we don’t have to accept our car-dominated society.”

Who knew?

The site continues: “When people get out of their cars, they should stay out of their cars. It is up to us, it is up to our cities, and our governments to help create permanent change to benefit pedestrians, cyclists, and other people who do not drive cars.”

The World Carfee Network wants “city planners and politicians to give priority to cycling, walking and public transport, instead of the automobile.” We’re trying, folks, we’re trying. Honolulu rail will be one such project to reduce our collective dependence on the car.

There doesn’t seem to be a Honolulu event listed on the World Carfree Day website, but organizations in other cities across the United States have taken the pledge.

We can imagine the day a few years from now when September 22 will be celebrated as a day to eschew the private car here, too.

But getting used to living a quality life without our current near-total dependence on the car could take some getting used to. Maybe we should try working up to it every September 22nd during the decade.

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