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Honk if You Hate Cars l

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  • C. Kenneth Orski
    The Wall Street Journal REVIEW & OUTLOOK Honk if You Hate Cars September 22, 2004; Page A28 You may not know it from all the traffic, but today is officially
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 22, 2004
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          The Wall Street Journal
       
      REVIEW & OUTLOOK

      Honk if You Hate Cars
      September 22, 2004; Page A28

      You may not know it from all the traffic, but today is officially "World Car-Free Day." As for all those environmental enthusiasts who intend to mark the moment by parking their Beamers and hybrids for the next 24 hours, the Competitive Enterprise Institute is issuing a little challenge.

      Car-Free Day started with local activists more than a decade ago and has since grown into an official event for governments world-wide. The goal is to hang up the car keys for a day and contribute to building a fossil-fuel-less paradise by biking, walking and rollerskating about town. Many European cities will offer free or reduced-rate bus and commuter train service, while some U.S. places (Berkeley, California, for one) will shut down a section of the city to cars for the afternoon.

      And yet promoters have been perplexed to discover that several hundred fewer locales are taking part this year than did the 1,300 in 2003. Maybe it's because one test drive with a car-free world is inconvenience enough. Which gets to CEI's request that supporters of Car-Free day take part in a little "sincerity test." How hard is it, after all, to hide the garage door opener for one sunny afternoon when you've had months to plan?

      The real test, says CEI, is for all those participating in today's experiment to make it as real-world as possible. The group suggests that participants make their car-free trips today come rain or shine, carrying several bags of groceries, toting a baby if they have one, and to be sure to include a nighttime trip. This is, after all, how the world's love affair with the automobile began.

       
       
    • Charles Komanoff
      Thanks to Ken Orski, I learned this evening that today was World Car-Free Day. Until then, today had been an ordinary car-free day. I biked to work and back,
      Message 2 of 2 , Sep 22, 2004
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        Thanks to Ken Orski, I learned this evening that today was World Car-Free
        Day. Until then, today had been an ordinary car-free day. I biked to work
        and back, lugging the family cat to the vet in a huge cat carrier I bungeed to
        my rear rack. In mid-afternoon I picked up my 6-yr-old at home in TriBeCa and
        biked him to and from his eye-doctor apptmnt at 2nd Ave and 54th St. Our
        conversation, which was possible over the traffic din 'cause he sat within my
        arms, on the little kiddie seat fastened to the top tube, ranged from the loveliness
        of the Hudson River seen from the W Side bike path to the atrocious noise
        of the sightseeing helicopters alighting at the W 30th St. helipad, from the
        abundance of cool license plates ("Look Daddy, 'beautiful British Columbia!'")
        to the question of what was more responsible for the Rockefeller Center
        gridlock -- the big buses or the SOV SUV's. The 10-mile round-trip, and
        the welcome absence of a car radio, gave us lots of time to chat.

        So without knowing about it I seem to have passed two of CEI's four tests.
        We got home well before dark, but there's always tomorrow, when my older
        boy (he's almost 10) and I will ride home from his early-evening Hebrew
        School lesson in Greenwich Village. And I guess the Hudson River spray
        churned up by the helicopter blades that briefly soaked us today doesn't
        qualify as rain, but we have the ponchos ready just in case.

        Like I said, just another ordinary day in our happy car-free life. So there, CEI!

          -- Charles


        At 04:02 PM 9/22/04 -0400, C. Kenneth Orski wrote:
         
        The Wall Street Journal
         
        REVIEW & OUTLOOK
        d0b577.jpg d0b5b6.jpg d0b5ee.jpg d0b627.jpg

        Honk if You Hate Cars
        September 22, 2004; Page A28

        You may not know it from all the traffic, but today is officially "World Car-Free Day." As for all those environmental enthusiasts who intend to mark the moment by parking their Beamers and hybrids for the next 24 hours, the Competitive Enterprise Institute is issuing a little challenge.
        . . .

        The real test, says CEI, is for all those participating in today's experiment to make it as real-world as possible. The group suggests that participants make their car-free trips today come rain or shine, carrying several bags of groceries, toting a baby if they have one, and to be sure to include a nighttime trip. This is, after all, how the world's love affair with the automobile began.
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