Car Free Day is here again!

This year, the DC community is encouraged to drop the car keys any time over a three-day period from September 20-22 and try a little taste of the car free life. The DC region has participated in World 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.

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 are the top three:

  • Traffic Reduction - DC is notorious for its congested roadways and was reported to be holding steady in the number one position nationally again in 2013. Commuters in our area waste an average of nearly 70 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 in getting 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.

This year, we’re celebrating Car Free Days on September 20-22. That gives you three whole days to enjoy a break from your car! 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 the Car Free Days website and follow the instructions. 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 $250 gift certificate from BicycleSPACE or an Apple iPad. Then, once you know what your plans are for those days, visit our interactive 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!

Don’t have plans yet but want to get out and enjoy the weekend, car-free style?

Visit the Car Free Days website for an extensive list of events going on in our region.

Enter to Win More Prizes in goDCgo's Car Free Days Giveaway

Tell us how you plan to get around on Car Free Days and you'll have the chance to win even more great prizes! Click here for more information and to see all the great prizes you could win, such as $250 in free groceries from our friends at Relay Foods!

September 20 is PARK(ing) Day

For the first time, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) will participate in the annual PARK(ing) Day on Friday, September 20, 2013, to highlight the District’s sustainability efforts and kick off Car Free Days activities in the region. PARK(ing) Day will be open to anyone seeking to sponsor a six-hour temporary park. The parks will be limited to metered parking locations without time-of-day restrictions, and should be located in the middle of blocks for safety reasons. DDOT has developed a simple application form to be able to track and review potential locations. Event applications are due by Wednesday, September 11. For more information about participating in the District’s PARK(ing) Day and/or to request an application please contact Stephen Hurst at 202-671-4580 or stephen.hurst@dc.gov.