Cardiff makes its first attempt at going ‘car-free’

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Cardiff encourages its residents to leave their cars at home

To celebrate World Car-Free Day and to encourage more people to leave their cars at home, Cardiff’s city council has approved the closure of Park Place until midnight September 22.

Cardiff is following the likes of cities like Paris, which held its first car-free day last year on 27 September. In early 2015, smog in the French capital which so prevalent that the Eiffel Tower was temporarily hidden from view and the city topped the charts as the most polluted city in the world.

Some critics have commented that closing just one street in Cardiff isn’t enough and that there could have been much more done in order to have a bigger presence. Others, however, say that it’s a great start.

Rachel Maycock, manager at Living Streets Wales, one of the largest supporters of car-free days in Cardiff, explains, “It’s really fantastic that Cardiff wants to chime in with this international event. It runs in New York and Paris so it’s really exciting that Cardiff is seeing itself as a city that can do something like that as well.”

Additionally, Living Streets Wales and similar organisations will be encouraging people to sign up to walking pledges, like parking slightly further away or walking the kids to school once a week. An exhibition will be held near Park Place as well, and will offer a range of cycling and sustainable transport-themed attractions.

“Cardiff is a really pleasant city to walk around and we have got a lovely pedestrianised city centre which people really enjoy. Cardiff isn’t just about retail, but leisure, food and people enjoy the space here. We have got to start somewhere. It’s the first time and this is the start of the process.”

For more information on how to get involved, check out Keeping Cardiff Moving.

Quick facts about cars in the UK

So how have cars and their impact on the world changed over the decades in the UK? To promote Car-Free Day, the ONS has also pulled together some telling facts about cars and how they've changed in the UK:

  • Cars were the most used mode of day to day transportation in 2014
  • In 2014 alone, more than 40% of drivers used cars for journeys that were less than 2 miles in distance
  • Over 20 years, the number of petrol cars on the road has decreased, but the number of diesel cars has increased
  • Between 1990 and 2014, the two major toxic air pollutant emissions realised from cars, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide, fell from 91% to 76% in the UK
  • Over a quarter of households actually do not own a car

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