When I heard that Sept 22 was International Car-Free Day, I thought to myself, “Well this’ll be the third day this week that I can choose a car-free day.” I have a lot of privilege when it comes to having a car-free day: I can afford to live in close proximity to my job and necessities like a grocery store, I have a flexible work schedule so am not penalized financially for transit delays, and am physically able to walk and cycle decently far distances. I also can choose to be car-free, as I own a reliable vehicle and drive to shops, appointments, and friends who are further afield. All that said, here’s a recap of my mostly car-free week (Sept. 18-22).

Monday (not car-free)

Morning: I drive to an appointment and stop at the grocery store on my way home.

Afternoon: I walk to a coffee shop to work, and walk home.

Tuesday (mostly car-free)

Morning: I cycle 2.5 miles from my home to a work meeting near the hospitals. I catch the campus shuttle bus from the meeting to main campus.

Afternoon: I cycle home from work.

Evening: I drive .7 miles to a friend’s house to babysit; they’ll be home late and I haven’t found my bike lights yet.

Wednesday (car-free)

Morning: I have another work meeting on campus, so I cycle there. My next destination is Southern Village: I zoom down the big S Columbia St hill to the Fan Branch Trail.

Afternoon: I retrace my cycle route: Fan Branch Trail to S Columbia Street. When I get to the hill I walk/cycle my way back up to campus and then home.

Thursday (car-free)

Morning: Off to campus again!

Afternoon: A regular cycle commute.

Evening: I’m attending the Carrboro Candidates Forum at MLK Park. I think about driving but decide that it’ll be just as quick to cycle, and parking will be easier.

Friday (car-free as of this writing)

Morning: I walk to a coffee shop to work for a few hours.

The ability to live car-free if I need or want to is a top reason why I chose to live in Carrboro when I moved here from D.C. five years ago. I feel so free knowing that I can get where I need and want to go with just my two feet, a bicycle, and a well-timed bus ride up hills. I’m thankful I can live in a place where this is possible. And, there is still lots more work to be done to make a car-free life more accessible and equitable for all folks whether they are car-free by necessity or by choice.

Happy International Car Free Day 2023!

In the last municipal election cycle, we helped increase turnout by over 20 percent. We're all volunteers who care deeply about Chapel Hill and Carrboro, and we're working to make Chapel Hill and Carrboro more vibrant, accessible, fun, and sustainable.  Please consider a small donation to help us keep our digital lights on, host events, and hire students to do data deep-dives.

Nancy Lovas lives in Carrboro and is a firm believer in being local. She volunteers at the Carrboro Farmers Market, works as a business and entrepreneurial librarian, and enjoys porch hangouts with neighbors.