Yesterday was World Car Free Day.  Events observe this world wide.  Many of us, myself included, pledge to live a car free life every day.  It is NOT always easy.

The built environment in Chapel Hill, and in most places around the world, are stacked against us bike or transit-riding devotees: the transit system is currently hobbled by pandemic-related staffing and supply chain issues. Our current built bike infrastructure is spotty and often lacking the last mile or even the last couple of hundred yards needed to make getting places by bike possible for all.

But we are not going to give up on the planet.  I encourage urge all of you to take the car-free pledge. Here is a good one from the folks in Metro DC.

Even if you can’t ditch the car entirely, there are some easy  things you can do to improve our transportation ecosystem for bikers, walkers, and drivers:

  • Support the towns’ initiatives for separated bike infrastructure.
  • Ride the new separated bike lanes on Franklin Street! They are great!
  • Support and advocate for more connectivity across town, for example this Next petition to fix Cameron Ave for better and safer cycling.
  • Use transit. Chapel Hill Transit is FREE.  It’s also great for many trips. Have you wanted to ride the bus but aren’t sure? Ccontact me, I can coach your through it!
  • Ride a bike, join a cycling group.  Carrboro has the Carrboro Bicycle Coalition and Chapel Hill has the Bicycle Alliance of Chapel Hill 
  • Support greenways.  Greenways , when connected, offer an awesome, safe and car free experience to get around town.  Very few are well connected.  Yet, plans exists to build more and get them better connected.  Astonishingly, there are people who OPPOSE this! I know, seriously???

Try getting to a destination without your car. Walk, bike, bus or take a scooter. It’s fun and you see more of the world.

More background on car free days:

John Rees lives in Chapel Hill. His day job is an enterprise architect for a big IT company. He was, until very recently, a member of the Chapel Hill Planning Commission and former chair. He serves on...