Monday, September 22, was Car Free Day. This worldwide movement promotes going car free (or even car-lite!) for the day to celebrate more sustainable forms of transportation and a greener environment. Who says it only has to be celebrated one day a year though? Try to incorporate sustainable transportation into your daily routine or even start at once a week and build up from that. Take the metro, telecommute, ride your bike to the store, or simply take a stroll through your neighborhood!
Growing up in rural Ohio, I didn’t have access to many transit options besides personal vehicles. Buses, subways, and taxis were things that I saw in movies, but never in real life. Walking to town was never possible, as there were no sidewalks and we lived many miles away from the nearest sign of civilization. In short, I grew up in a very car-dependent area.
Nowadays, I’m fortunate enough to live within a 5 minute walk to work, a metro station, multiple bus routes, trains, a town center filled with restaurants and shops, and both car and bike shares. Living in the metro DC area is like hitting the jackpot of transportation! I still have a car, but I don’t have to rely heavily on it for daily activities, and that makes a world of difference.
A Census report shows that over 75% of the nation’s commuters drive alone to work. These commutes vary in intensity and length, but most people are likely to encounter traffic and stress during their trips.
Time Magazine published an article earlier this year that describes how driving more than 10 miles one way to or from work is linked to increased levels of blood sugar, cholesterol, depression, anxiety, and blood pressure.
Why not take a day off from driving and save yourself the stress?
Car Free Metro DC has plenty of information to help make your day car free. They have posted a list of regional resources, as well as suggested transportation alternatives.
It may no longer be the official Car Free Day, but these sustainable forms of transportation are available year round! Start out small…rather than driving to get lunch, find nearby restaurants and walk, or take the bus to meet up with friends for coffee. From there, build up to finding alternate commutes to work or inquiring about telecommuting options at your office. It will not only benefit your well-being, but also contribute to a cleaner environment.
In the words of Car Free Metro DC…Put it away. Uncar for a day.