“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.” – World Carfree Network
The American Automobile Association estimates that ownership of a medium-sized sedan driven 15,000 miles per year costs an average of $8,946—and this year fuel costs rose 14.8 percent. Since more than one third of the cost of owning your vehicle typically stems from gas usage, owners of Nissan Altimas, Honda Accords and the like could save thousands of dollars each year by taking alternate transportation to work, and even to the grocery store, each day. For those who drive SUVs and pick-ups, that savings will be even higher.
While many cities in the US aren’t safe for bicycle and pedestrian commuters, Corvallisites are lucky to have bike lanes in 98 percent of the city’s major roadways—that’s 46 miles—along with 18 miles of dedicated bike paths. According to Public Works, “Corvallis is a community that prizes liveability and staying committed to being bicycle and pedestrian-friendly contributes significantly to that quality of life.” In 2011, Corvallis was #1 in The American Community Survey: Journey to Work Question, as part of the U.S. Census Bureau. Our city boasts the highest percentage of bicycle commuters and the second highest percentage of pedestrian commuters of any city over a population size of 50,000 in the U.S.
With nearly every Corvallis location within a 15-minute bike ride of every other location, there’s almost no reason not to bike, run, or walk more often than you drive—you’ll build muscle mass, burn calories, and improve your cardiovascular fitness, all while traveling between home and work. And of course choosing a non-polluting form of transportation is significantly healthier for your environment. Burning one gallon of gas creates 20 pounds of carbon dioxide, and the average car emits about six tons of carbon dioxide every year.
World Car Free Day, started in 2000 by the World Carfree Network, “is an annual celebration of cities and public life, free from the noise, stress, and pollution of cars.” This Saturday, Sept. 22nd, Corvallis will celebrate Car Free Day, organized by the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Central Park—check out bike swaps and sales by the Corvallis Bicycle Collective, and enjoy food, music, transportation information, free bike valet parking, and much more. According to the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition, “If you are unable to walk, bike, or use public transit, you can still participate by sharing a ride with a friend, hiring the local pedicab or Dial-a-Bus, or telecommuting for the day.” And this year, Car Free Day falls on one of the same days as Corvallis’ fantastic annual Fall Festival—so no matter how you get there, come learn about car-free transportation in Corvallis, and get inspired to leave that car in the driveway!
For more information, visit http://sustainablecorvallis.org
By Genevieve Weber
– Corvallis Sustainability Coalition’s World Car Free Day Celebration
– Corvallis bike programs via Public Works
– AAA Estimates Vehicle Ownership Costs in 2012