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Every September 22, the world celebrates world car free day. The celebration includes activities to defend the environment and the continued quality of our lives. The amazing part of the activities is to see the usually very crowded cities without any cars in the street.
The event promotes walking, cycling and using public transit for transportations rather than using cars. This is for environmental reasons as well as the idea of reducing the expenses associated with using individual cars for transportation.
Having clean air is one of the main aims of the initiative. Cars emit a lot of poisonous gases into the air such as Carbon, carbon dioxide and monoxide gases.
In many European cities, they have extended the activity to be for a whole week, known as “The European Mobility Week” from 16 to 22 of September every year. The idea of the European Mobility Week was created in 2002 after the successful event “In Town Without My Car!” which had been held since 2000.
This year there will be 1172 cities participating in this event, and although it has a “European” tag, some countries outside of Europe are participating such as Canada, Brazil, South Korea and Vietnam. The cities that promotes alternative methods of transportation rather than using the private cars will have the opportunity to be awarded.
Portugal is participating on this day with activities in 41 cities, including the two major cities Lisbon and Porto. Although Lisbon is well structured with a transit system that includes a large network of public busses, metros and trains, some of the metro stations in Lisbon are for example not supporting passengers with wheelchairs. There are also issues with the pedestrian crossing buttons around the city, which seem to be out of order most of the time.
To be fair, even a city such as Lisbon still has a way to go before becoming truly committed to public transit. Cycling lanes are not covering the whole city as another example. Also, carrying the bicycles within the metro is only permitted after 8:00 pm while it is not allowed in any of the busses at all. Some of the public busses in Lisbon are fueled by compressed natural gas, which is environment friendly, while the others are still depending on the fossil fuel.
The activities in Lisbon will include exhibitions in different parts of the city, meetings, lectures, film festival, conferences, parties and workshops. “ARTE NA MOBILIDADE” is one of the main exhibitions during this week although it started on the September 3. The exhibition is to show illustrations of Lisbon city in the public squares. Every two days the exhibition is moved to a new square in the city to fulfill the title of the exhibition which is literally means “ART IN MOBILITY.”
The big hope the infrastructures in Lisbon and Portugal in general will be improved for sustainable green transportation permanently.
Image credit: European Mobility Week via Facebook