Everyone has a narrative in their brain that justifies decisions they have made and habits that have been formed. It’s no different for driving alone in a car even when the “convenience” is challenged by traffic or parking headaches. Our narrative remains that driving is really the only “convenient” option. Car Free Day is all about making a mental shift to allow yourself more choices in how you travel. We are pretty confident that a lot of people will like having more choices, if they just try them. It could be as simple as walking to the store instead of driving, or going “car-lite” by carpooling to meet friends instead of each of those people driving alone. When you leave the car at home, you may be surprised how much trouble you’ve learned to accept while driving (frustrations with traffic, noise, bad drivers). This is also a great opportunity to reduce your carbon footprint and be more active when traveling around Austin.
Car Free Day started in 2000 and has become an international event celebrated by 1,500 cities in 40 countries. This year local non-profits and civic leaders have joined together for the inaugural Car Free Day, on September 22. This is a great opportunity to challenge yourself with two special events encouraging people to sign a pledge (more info).
Today the Alliance for Public Transportation is hosting a Car Free Happy Hour with free appetizers and drink specials from 5:30pm-8:00pm at Tacos-N-Tequila. This a “rally the troops” event to promote Car Free Day on Saturday and Tacos-N-Tequila will be donating 20% of sales from the event back to the Alliance for Public Transportation to help benefit future grassroots and educational events. Please RSVP here.
Car Free Day ATX will take place this Saturday, September 22. Pledge to go car free or car lite (just don’t drive alone). Come out to the SFC Farmers’ Market in Republic Square Park 9:00 am – 12:00pm. Volunteers will be giving out prizes to people who have pledged to be Car Free or Car Lite (for example: longest car-free commute, carpooling to group activity, planning and/or hosting a neighborhood event, and most unusual way of commuting).
Surprise yourself! Most people can get everywhere they need to travel leaving the car at home for the day and using the train, bus, a bike, or just walking/wheeling. Make the Pledge, then spend Saturday playing, learning, working and shopping. Just leave the car at home (it will be OK) or, if you do drive, travel in groups.