Go Car Free This September in DowntownDC

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

By Sam Mullins

If you normally find yourself behind the wheel of a car each day, take a break this month and explore the bevy of multi-modal transportation options offered in DowntownDC!

Between cycling, the DC Circulator, Metro, buses, Capital Bikeshare and all of the pedestrian-friendly and cyclist-friendly features in Downtown, visitors, residents and workers have a multitude of fun and sustainable transportation modes to choose from each day. Choose one on Sept. 22 and take part in Car Free Day

Car Free Day is a worldwide event that promotes greener travel beyond driving alone in a car. As the D.C. region consistently tops the list of the most congested cities in the nation, take the Car Free Day pledge and explore this opportunity to commute and travel utilizing a method other than driving yourself.

Many of you are already doing this! In 2013, 60 percent of D.C. commutes were non-auto, according to the 2013 American Community Survey.

So pick your favorite mode and join the DowntownDC Business Impovement District (BID) for Car Free Day September 22nd. Take the pledge today and enter to win prizes including a $250 BicycleSPACE gift certificate, tickets to Six Flags and more.

The DowntownDC Business Improvement District (BID) and the DowntownDC ecoDistrict, which encompasses the BID's 138-block area, support the goals of Car Free Day, which are in line with the city's Sustainable DC Plan to make 75 percent of all commutes in D.C. to be non-auto by the year 2032 and for 25 percent of commutes to be walking or biking. (In 2013, 60 percent of D.C. commutes were non-auto: 14 percent were walking and 5 percent were biking with the remainder40 percentpublic transit.)

When people choose to drive less, not only does it benefit the environment and personal health, but it also enables other unexpected things to take placelike turning a parallel parking space into a park for a day!

As part of international PARK(ing) Day on Sept. 18, a day in which parking spaces are turned into temporary mini-parks around the world, the BID is partnering with the Mayor’s Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs to activate a piece of public space normally occupied by vehicles. In a spot located at the corner of 5th and I streets, visitors will find a parklet filled with grassy turf and plants as well as free coffee, delectable delicacies from food trucks during lunch, and language courses in Mandarin, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese!

Also in the DowntownDC BID's 138-block area, the American Society of Landscape Architects are turning the pavement to park in front of their offices located at 636 I Street NW, and goDCgo will have a parklet at 12th and G streets with games, prizes and fun! Stop by Sept. 18 to check it out.

[Click here for an interactive map from the District Department of Transportation of all parklet locations in D.C.]

September means finding new ways to get around, so join us and explore the multi-modal transportation options that downtown offers! You might just find that biking in D.C. can be fun or maybe the Metro gives you time to finally read that book you purchased. Also, if you are looking for a fun break from the office on Sept. 18, head over the 5th and I streets for a preview of Asian culture and take a rest in the park—you don’t even have to pay the meter!