As it happens, I've had a car-free week, not touching the steering wheel from one Sunday to the next. And today, International Car-Free Day, an idea I completely admire, saw me driving a car. Doing one's weekly shop without a car is not easy. Yesterday, I walked back from our local Lidl carrying over 15 kilo of groceries in a rucksack and in my arms. But then Lidl is just over one kilometre from home. Today I needed to go to Auchan for the heavy stuff - cat food, cat litter, mineral water, tins, washing powder. As Auchan is nearly three kilometres, it becomes difficult, even on a bike fitted with panniers. The real answer is either a Danish-style long-wheelbase carrier bike, or to buy all the heavy, bulky items (six-packs of 1.5l bottles of mineral water etc) online and do the delicatessen shopping in person, without car.
I must say, I was rather surprised at the low number of cars in the Auchan car park this morning; it would be wishful thinking on my part to believe that this was due to car-owners seeing the light and deciding to abandon their vehicles for ideological reasons... but then the economy is coming right, retail sales are up (latest figures: 4.3% up in the year to July), consumer sentiment continues to improve (up 7.3% in the year to September); shoppers are back in action. Maybe... just maybe... a little nudge has shifted behaviour just a little bit?
|Ticket validating machines across the Warsaw public transport system were switched off for the day: Praca zakończona, it reads - 'Task completed'. Taken on a 715 between Trombity and PKP Jeziorki.|
Next years' International Car-Free Day falls on Monday, 22 September. I hope the build-up to the day will be considerable, and that may car-use addicts will seek alternative ways to commute to work. Nice weather will help too. Let all those who can cast off the shackles of auto-addiction.
This time last year:
Water in the Vistula at a record low level
This time four years ago:
Car-Free Day in Warsaw, 2009-style
This time five years ago:
The official end of summer
This time six years ago:
Potato harvest, Jeziorki