Car Free Street
We have promoted and organised traffic-free street events since 2001, having being inspired by the car free day movement with the aim reducing the impact of vehicles on our lives.
The events give people a chance to enjoy their street as a social space, sometimes just for the social fun of it, and often to think about non-car travel choices.
The more traffic and parking, the less liveable our towns and neighbourhoods are. Key research that we supported shows that friendships on busy traffic streets are a quarter of quiet streets.
Enjoying the simple pleasure of a road without vehicles is a wonder for all ages. In addition to street parties, larger ‘Car Free Day’ events are more ambitious, like Streets Alive used organise.
There are 3 scales of events that we have supported:
Neighbours’ Street Parties
We are the national group that promotes these iconic events.
Our detailed work with the Government and many councils has ensured that residents can organise them with limited paperwork etc.
Our Traffic and Roads Guide gives residents ideas for reducing traffic in their streets.
A practical idea to have less cars is to share car use with a neighbour as in our special car share guide. This involves you being a named driver on another’s insurance.
Community Street Events
Community events, festivals, fairs, carnivals etc. bring people together.
There are good reasons to hold them in a traffic-free street:
- Streets are open and ‘owned’ by everyone and so very accessible
- Communities normally suffering from traffic can be opened up
- Neighbourhood shopping centres can be revitalised by a traffic-free event
- They provide new sites for local street markets which are very popular
Once the traffic is cleared the space opens new possibilities for community activities, particularly in areas needing regeneration – their image can be improved. Communities of different ethnic origins sometimes use streets in different ways, drawing on their own culture.
Town Centre Events
Streets Alive, the group that originally set up this website, used to organise and promote culturally based traffic-free events in town and city centres.
Our approach is to attract a wide range of the public with enjoyable and relevant activities and then engage them in local and wider issues such as non- car travel options. The events create positive feelings about the town in the context of the street, rather than being a commercial event or a carnival.
Our model has worked successfully in Bristol in annual events since 2001, with an average of 6000 people attending. 7 streets in Bristol’s old city centre are closed to traffic for a day, in partnership with Bristol City Council. More recently this was part of Bristol’s Make Sundays Special.