Imagine a Car Free City Centre every month…
Leeds Cycling Campaign are asking Leeds City Council to commit to holding a car free Sunday event in the city centre at least once a month in order to demonstrate the benefits on air quality and the environment.
Car free days have been used in other cities to demonstrate that cities actually function better when they are not dominated by the noise, fumes, and space constraints associated with private motor vehicles, with many cities going on to propose large scale removal of cars from city centres.
Now I am in total agreement. I got a sense of what this would feel like and the immediate contrast of how awful it felt to then be surrounded by cars at Light Night a few years ago. In the festival, they only closed the roads off for a few hours and ONLY a few roads mind. The difference in how pedestrians used the space was phenomenal: people were wondering across main roads without a glance; using the width of the road/pavement area; laughing with friends; walking at a leisurely pace; slowing down to looking into each others eye – real communication, engaging, breathing, relaxing. They were not walking in lines or with that usual brisk, heads down and closed-in protective postures. It was just beautiful! What kind of world would I love to live in? Well this would be step toward it. Think how it would improve wellbeing, make the spaces in the city safer for people walking and cycling. As well as demonstrate cleaner air and the environmental benefits to our very dirty choked up city. So if you’d like to do more than imagine regular days without cars in the city, then here is your chance.