Nearly 1000 towns and cities throughout Europe and other parts of the world will be enjoying In Town Without My Car Day (1) on Monday, but unfortunately this year Birmingham will miss out once again. Over the last week Birmingham City Council have been staging a series of events for Travelwise Week to promote alternatives to using the car, but unfortunately was unable to participate in In Town Without My Car Day.

Martin Stride of Birmingham Friends of the Earth said:

“Its encouraging to see Birmingham doing so much for Travelwise Week. We can see they are serious about promoting more environmentally friendly transport, but it’s a pity they weren’t able to go the whole hog and have an In Town Without My Car Day. This special day is a great way to drive home to people the benefits of using alternatives to the car and it would really have been the icing on the cake for Travelwise week.”

He continued:

“Birmingham City Council told us that they could not consider doing anything this year because of the upheavals associated with the new road layout and ongoing road works. However we feel they will give serious consideration to participating next year once the new road layout had been given time to ‘bed’ in. We feel, reasonably optimistic that it will happen next year. Really ITWMC is for Brum Transport what The Artsfest is for Brum Arts.”

Thirty-one towns and cities throughout the UK have signed up for ITWMC including Manchester, Liverpool, Bristol, and also nearby Redditch. Public reaction has been favourable all the time. To get a flavour of what In Town Without My Car Day is like, Martin will take the train to Redditch to see what their event will be offering. A short length of Evesham Road will be given over to a variety of activities as well as stalls promoting environmentally friendly transport.

Mr Stride went on to say:

“It sounds like it will be a splendid day of street music, food tasting and children playing in the closed road. It should prove very popular and as it’s such a high profile event it will be very effective at showing people the benefits of leaving their cars at home. I really look forward to seeing a similar thing in Birmingham next year!”

Editor’s Notes

[1] The In Town, Without My Car! (formerly known as ‘Car Free Day’) on 22nd September each year has two principal objectives:

    1. To encourage people to consider using an alternative form of transport to the car for their journeys into and around towns and cities
    2. To offer citizens a chance to rediscover their town or city, its inhabitants and its heritage.

[2] 991 European towns and cities are taking part in the event

[3] The European Mobility Week and “In town without my car!” initiatives arose from a finding: today almost 40% of the transport sector’s CO2 emissions are produced by the use of private cars in cities.

[4] The event has become even more internationally recognised with a few towns in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia and Taiwan now taking part.