Mayor A C Wharton's office is urging residents to give up their cars in favor of buses, bicycles, and other forms of alternative transportation for the month of April.
The 30-Day Car-Free Challenge begins today, and residents can pledge to take the challenge on CarFreeMemphis.wordpress.com. Although the challenge lasts all month, those who sign up can aim for just one day or the full 30 days. Weekly prize drawings will be made for those who have signed up. The site contains tips and resources to help residents go car-free.
Additionally, the mayor's office has asked 18 Memphians to act as ambassadors for the Car-Free Challenge. They were given "car-free survival kits" with bus passes, bicycles, and other items, and they have been asked to blog about their experiences — good and bad — living without a car. Flyer associate editor Bianca Phillips and editorial intern Alexandra Pusateri are among those 18 Memphians. You can follow our stories and others here throughout the month.
“We know that an increasing number of residents are choosing to live in Memphis and get to the store, to work, to school, and to other places without a car.” said Wharton. “We also know that reduced automobile use leads to improved air quality, reduced traffic congestion, and a reduction in the public costs of road infrastructure, parking, and health care. This challenge will helps us to showcase these possibilities in a fun and safe way.”
Memphis was named "Most Improved City for Cycling" in 2012 by Bicycling magazine. In 2013, Memphis became the 500th city to pass a Complete Streets policy, which means future street projects must be designed with alternative transit in mind. Memphis bike and pedestrian coordinator Kyle Wagenschutz, who organized the Car-Free Challenge, has pledged that the city will focus more on protected bike lanes, or "green lanes," for future projects.