Car Free Frenzy

Sunday 22 September was "European Car Free Day", also known this year as "In Town Without My Car Day". For last year's event, Manchester Friends of the Earth persuaded Manchester City Council to close Exchange Street for the day. Boosted by that success, the group lobbied all of Greater Manchester's councils to hold an event this year with the result that Bury, Manchester, Rochdale and Stockport all did something over the appointed weekend.

Rochdale marked the weekend by running a led cycle ride in and around Heywood & Middleton townships. Bury and Manchester both closed a road. Stockport held their event on Saturday and opened the "Fred Perry" walkway around the town and held a street festival which was attended by many environmental and green transport groups. On the following day, Manchester City Council had closed part of Deansgate replacing the rush of polluting traffic with the sedateness of shoppers visiting dozens of arts and craft stalls (amongst which were interspersed stalls by FoE, Greenpeace and cycling groups).

On the Manchester FoE stall at both the Stockport and Manchester events, they asked passers by to complete a "transport carbon dioxide emissions" questionnaire. By answering 3 simple questions, people were able to gauge the environmentally friendliness of their means of transport and then put a green (good), amber (moderate) or red (bad) sticker on a set of "climate traffic lights". The group found that there was an even spread from those asked but hope to extend the questionnaire and survey more people.

Manchester FoE welcome the closure of Deansgate (the first time it has ever happened for green reasons as far as they can tell) but are calling on the council to consider green transport measures in every aspect of their day to day planning.

Michael Bane, Manchester Friends of the Earth (0161 832 8221, transport@manchesterfoe.org.uk)


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