Portland, Oregon has a Web site (http://carfreeportland.org/) promoting a movement to make the city carfree by emphasizing the city’s “bike-ability” as well as its effective public transportation. However, given that a carfree project is currently being planned in a small town near Oakland in California, it seems as if new, planned carfree communities might be more likely than transforming old cities into carfree areas.
There are many small towns that are built mainly for tourism that I believe could be car free. Solvang, California, for instance, is very small, and on visits there, my family has simply walked from our hotel to anywhere we need to go. In larger cities like San Diego that would not be plausible, but in Solvang, there were places to eat, grocers, and clothing stores all within a couple of block of each other, and one could walk down main street in around twenty minutes.
I would have to agree and disagree with rhathymia’s comment above. Yes obviously small towns are easy to get around simply because the entire town is only a couple miles at most.
However, large cities like New York, Chicago, and Portland are easy to get around without cars because the mass transit is so good, and the city is built well for walking and biking.
I actually lived in Chicago and never had a car. A lot of people in Chicago don’t own cars. Same with New York. The train system and busses can get across the entire city just fine.
I too live in a large city and have never owned a car. There are cities in Europe, that have sections that are closed to traffic entirely or require a special permit to enter. I would imagine that many cities in the US would be able to start first with this kind of a model in certain districts.
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