I’m preparing for the Car-Free Cities conference in Portland all this week.  Given current events, it should be quite a gab-fest.  What were once fringe issues and ideas have moved to centre stage, and will be taken with a new seriousness.

So, what could be more appropriate to fill in the week when I’ll be gone than some pics of the Car-Free City celebration in the West End last Sunday. 

Denman

Denman Street was just one four streets closed to traffic, including parts of Commercial Drive, Main Street and numerous blocks in Kitsilano.   The sun sure helped to put everyone in a good mood, but the unquestioned success of the occasion is just another indication that our city has had a change of attitude.  We’re ready to think differently about how we use our roads.  They’re not just for moving traffic.

They’re also for singing.

Music

And dancing.

Dancing 1

Even square dancing.

Dancing 2

Local merchants and restaurants spilled out onto the asphalt to display their wares, serve their food and make more moolah than they ever could when the street was full of traffic.  All except the gas station.

Gas station

But this was my favourite entrepreneur.

Lemonade

The entertainment was great – particularly the chance to hear some local bands.  But the best enterainment was, as usual, people watching and checking out the scene.

Dog and dame

A chance, above all, to see ourselves.  The West End is full of the most eclectic mix of people.

Crowd

And this event was for us – the West End for West Enders.  As much as we may enjoy (or not) the closure of West End streets for fireworks and races, we don’t often get to use our own spaces just for us.  Today we did.

Crowd 2

Thanks, of course, to local organizers and volunteers, the city staff and police.  It really was well organized.  But special acknowledgement must go to the inspiration for Car-Free Days – Carmen Mills. 

Carmen Mills

No matter how great the resistence or oblivious our leaders, Carmen has always believed that society was ready to move towards real sustainability.  This time she may be right.

See you next week.

 

 

Comments

  1. Wow, it looks like you could actually move and do something on Denman and see people and socialize. Maybe we should have gone there.

    Commercial Drive where we live was so packed that it wasn’t fun for us this year. We often could not move nor see anything. Great sounds from the bands and smells from the grills, but no way to socialize or see friends or neighbors.

    Most of our neighbours found the same thing. It was too busy to enjoy so everyone seemed to hang out more in their own backyard or in the small, local parks.

    So, if Drive area residents were not there, who exactly was filling up Commercial yesterday?

    I guess it was the owners of all those cars blocking our streets and lanes. Wasn’t this supposed to be a “car free” festival?

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