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Car Free Tucson: Ride your bike, win swag

Many of you probably don’t need any extra convincing to get out of a car and onto a bicycle  (or other alternative mode of transportation) but the city is promoting its Car Free Tucson day on Thursday and you can win prizes just for writing about your commute.

The Car Free Tucson day is in conjunction with the World Car Free Day.

Here’s what the World Car Free Day organizers have to say about the event:

Every September 22, people from around the world get together in the streets, intersections, and neighbourhood blocks to remind the world that we don’t have to accept our car-dominated society.

But we do not want just one day of celebration and then a return to “normal” life. When people get out of their cars, they should stay out of their cars. It is up to us, it is up to our cities, and our governments to help create permanent change to benefit pedestrians, cyclists, and other people who do not drive cars.

Let World Carfree Day be a showcase for just how our cities might look like, feel like, and sound like without cars…365 days a year.

To entice Tucson commuters to get out of their cars, local organizers are giving away prizes including a Kindle. Here’s how you enter:

To enter the Car Free Tucson contest, visit www.884RIDE.org or Sun Rideshare on Facebook and write a story describing your Car Free Tucson Day “car-less” commute.  For extra contest points, be creative and include a picture or video taken during your commute to download on Facebook, or post your written story on www.884ride.org.

Additionally, organizers will have a commuter station with snacks set up at Country Club Road and Third Street from 7 a.m. until the food runs out.

Here are a few facts about car commuting from Pima County:

  • The majority of air pollution in Pima County is caused by our motor vehicle use.
  • We drive about 29,000,000 miles a DAY in eastern Pima County.
  • Every 41 miles we drive puts 1 pound of pollution into the air we breathe.
  • Personal vehicle use creates 99% of eastern Pima County’s transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions.
  • We make more than 2,000,000 trips in our vehicles each weekday in Pima County.
  • People who use transit, walk, or bicycle to work get more exercise than those who drive alone.

I’m curious as to whether these kind of events work. What do you think?

My goal is to compare the ridership on SunTran on Thursday to previous Thursdays to see if there are more people who used the bus. Any other ideas for gauging whether there are fewer cars on the road?

4 comments
Martha Retallick
Martha Retallick

I'm thinking that having this event a few days before Saturday's Connect 2 Tucson might not be the best idea. If you want your event to get some space of its own, it shouldn't be so close to another.

zz
zz

Do city planners, traffic engineers or coordinators really believe Tucson drivers will ever accept riding the bus? The social factors may be outside of their purview, but almost zero is done to increase the attractiveness to drivers. The new paint jobs have not influenced my sense of temperature. OK, so where you direct the money is where you get the effect and I think almost all of it is still directed towards cars. And maybe connecting a politician's name to a bus transfer station isn't such a tribute. I believe people think riding the bus is worse than it actually is-like they think riding a bike is harder than it actually is- as a rationalization to keep doing what they like to do. My choice is to bike, but use the bus sometimes. Or drive and regret it. I'll commit to a project for tomorrow and the 350 thing on Saturday. I will ride along the proposed street car route and make a tally of the number of parking spaces that exist within a few feet of it and report the results here.

Tom Thivener
Tom Thivener

I don't think you will see any difference in trying to count bus riders tomorrow.  There was no marketing budget on this event locally, just some email blasts,  a couple face book postings, and a press release.  If we want to convince more people to leave their cars behind and take the bus we would need a big marketing effort.  Events like Bike Fest which typically have a marketing budget do get some converts during the events.  What's more important though is the hidden value of increased awareness by the general public of bicycling in Tucson.   Drivers in Tucson are more aware of bicyclists and our streets are statistically safer than other places in the state that don't make these kinds of investments. 

Red Star
Red Star

" If we want to convince more people to leave their cars behind and take the bus we would need a big marketing effort."  ( Tom Thivener) Apparently it is a relatively simple, albeit costly, matter of big marketing, like an infomercial in the dead of night. Marketing will fix things.   No mention that RTA and Sun Tran would actually have to make some huge and costly changes to integrate bikes and buses to get people to change behaviors, no exploration of that...it's a simple matter of marketing... Given that the Old Pueblo is once again owned by Roy Warden and the hack mayor and the obedient city attorney, and all the emotional distractions that go along with this,  it's difficult to see how any sensible can action be taken...lame marketing, for bikes or anything else, may be the best Tucsonans can get.