You know those Armageddon themed movies where the streets of the city are silent? Have you ever wondered what it would be like in a city with no cars? If you’re in a European city on 22 September you’ll find out – it’s Carfree Sunday!
European Carfree Day began during the oil crises of the 1970s. Car driving was banned on Sundays in an attempt to save fuel. Since then Carfree day has become an international day to celebrate walking, cycling and taking the train. The only vehicles allowed are Emergency Service Vehicles and buses; that’s when the cyclists and pedestrians take over.
Brussels embraces Carfree Day wholeheartedly and from early morning thousands of cars remain parked while their owners find other ways to enjoy the city. There’s standing room only on trains and buses and bicycles fill the streets.
From a vantage point looking over the city the atmosphere is eerie. The only sounds to be heard are birdsong, laughter and children calling to each other. Festivals in the parks attract large crowds and people take advantage of the empty streets.
It’s a strange feeling to be walking in the middle of a main road and instead of looking out for cars it’s bikes and rollerblades you have to avoid.
At 18.00 the prohibition on cars comes to an end and it doesn’t take long for the streets to become busy again. The utopian vision of life without cars comes to an end but hopefully more people have been inspired to find alternate ways of travel. Give the environment a break – don’t take your car!
For more on Carfree Sunday, click here.