One of the greater disappointments of my professional existence and struggle to develop some creative and useful ideas to improve the quality of day to day life in our communities around the world has been the “Car Free Day” concept. Why? Well, I think we got off to a great start with the Thursday project and original announcement in Toledo back in 1994, and then the first round of little local projects in Reykjavik, Bath and La Rochelle, but then with the French In Town without my Car project, in my view the entire idea began to lose pace. It seemed as if quantity was supposed to be a good substitute for quality. What is it that they say about the best way to destroy a good idea: to organize it? Something like that.
But bad and boring and forgettable as most of them have been in the last few years, there have also been some great and original Car Free Days, and in every case it’s because local people seized the lead and made something of it which was their own. That’s way we moved a long time ago to the title of Car Free Days in the plural and have tried to support as much originality and local input as possible. People are smart. You just have to make sure that you don’t keep trying to tell them what to do. Toss out your best idea and then stand back.
All is not gray on the horizon however, and here is one idea that just came in over the transom here that I am pleased to share with you and which may provide an inspiration for your next Car Free Days – or indeed any old day at all. Let me not try to describe it to you or comment on it. I’ll just let them speak for themselves. The site address is http://www.rebargroup.org/projects/parking/index.html# Just be sure to give the video enough time to load and show its stuff.