Car Free Day is here again!
It's that one day a year when everyone in the community is encouraged to drop the car keys for a few hours and try a little taste of the car-free life. The DC region has participated in international Car Free Day since 2008 under the organization of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and has seen dramatic increases annually in the number of folks who are not only willing to give it a try, but also to make permanent changes in the way they travel.
This year’s Car Free Day on September 22 is just a little bit extra special –that’s because it’s on a Saturday! So if you’ve never participated in Car Free Day before because you thought it was only for the Monday-Friday commuting crowd, now’s your chance to get in on the action. And with all the transportation options available in the District and surrounding counties, there’s no excuse for not joining up this year!
Here's how it works!
To register, simply visit carfreemetrodc.com and follow the instructions to pledge. Remember, even if you’re already car free regularly, registration ensures that you’ll be counted – plus, you’ll be eligible to win fantastic prizes, like a brand new bicycle or iPad! Then, once you know what your plans are for the day, visit our map to plan the best way to get there. Take public transit, hop on your own bike or Capital Bikeshare, set up a carpool, or walk!
After you've taken the Car Free Pledge, take a few moments to share your car-free story with us and you'll be entered to win even more fabulous prizes from goDCgo, including $500 in free groceries from Relay Foods, free daylong bike rentals from Bike and Roll, annual memberships to Capital Bikeshare, a delectable 2-layer cake from Sweet Themez Cake & Cupcake, an Amazon Kindle and more! Just visit our giveaway page for details and tell us how you plan to get around on Car Free Day.
Don't have plans yet?
Get out and enjoy the day, car-free style! We've got some great car free- themed events and freebies going on that are sure to show you a good time!
Feet in the Street: The National Park Service teamed up with the District Department of Transportation to hold its fourth annual Feet in the Street event on Car Free Day this year. Explore Fort Dupont's 361 acres from 10am to 4pm as they close down all the park's street to motor vehicles.
Residents and visitors are invited to come put their "Feet in the Street" and run, walk, bike, skate and move along this 1.6 mile long corridor. There will also be organized activities and programs, including:
- 5K Walk/Run to kickoff the event
- Guided nature hikes
- Rock climbing wall
- Physical fitness classes
- Community garden tours and vegetable gleaning
- Health cooking demonstrations and farmer's market
- Face painting
- Free bike rentals, courtesy of Bike and Roll
- Capital Bikeshare test rides and free ride coupons
WABA 50 States & 13 Colonies Ride: Touted as “the most unique and challenging bike ride in DC,” the 50 States Ride covers 60+ miles of all 50 state streets throughout the District. This is the most advanced ride option and is recommended for experienced cyclists who are comfortable riding with traffic in city streets. The 13 Colonies Ride is a less challenging but equally enjoyable ride comprised of just under 15 miles of DC streets named after the original 13 colonies. Cyclists on this ride must also be comfortable riding with traffic. For additional information, visit waba.org.
Free Rentals from Bike and Roll!
For anyone looking to go without their car and bike on Car Free Day, Bike and Roll Washington DC will offer free comfort hybrid rentals (and kids bikes!) on September 22, 2012. Please call 202.842.2453 and mention code "carfree" to reserve your free rental.
Why go car free?
The benefits of reducing the amount of travel time via automobile, both for you and the community as a whole, are significant. Here the top three:
- Traffic Reduction - DC is notorious for its congested roadways, consistently making the top 10 list for the nation’s cities with the worst traffic, recently climbing into the number one position. Commuters in our area waste an average of 74 hours per year sitting in traffic. Just think of all the great things you could be doing with that time instead!
- Health Benefits - Numerous studies confirm that people who use modes of transportation other than driving alone to work and elsewhere tend to have fewer health problems. Obesity, diabetes and heart disease are frequently cited as occurring more in people who spend longer amounts of time in their car. Likewise, mental health problems such as stress and depression see improvement when people opt for other modes of transportation. The additional walking or biking required to get to public transit and the ability to relax on a bus, train or carpool instead of focusing on driving both play a role in improving one’s physical and mental well-being.
- Pollution Control - Automobiles are responsible for the vast majority of CO2 emissions as well as a host of other nasty pollutants which wreak havoc on the quality of the air we breathe and the environment as a whole.