- a collection of notes and reflections on urban living from the perspective of a family of five in Tokyo. My epiphany was many years ago, but being hit by a motorbike and seeing my life flash before my eyes caused a sudden change that slowly made me reflect on whether American style auto-centric urban transportation of the Roosevelt era really is a capital G "Good Idea" for civilized modern cities in the 21st Century. This blog explores the good and the bad in urban planning and design, here and elsewhere. The goal is simple - not "death to all cars," just more walkable communities, quiet tree-lined streets, good public transport, traffic calming, Velib style bicycle sharing and a bit of common sense. The bolg is mostly theraputic, so I don't go wanting to throttle every dangerous driver I come across, but partly also out of a real desire to see positive change. This blog explores how it can be done, the people who do it, and how, in many small ways, this very old idea may at last have found its zeitgeist. Comments and suggestions welcome.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Japanese City Joins Car Free Movement

信濃毎日新聞[信毎web] 松本「脱クルマ」先進地に カーフリーデー正式参加へ

My mother-in-law sent me a clipping of this article from the Shinano Mainichi. The front page headline of this local newspaper from the Nagano region states that Matsumoto City is officially working towards becoming Japan's first official city participant in the Car Free Day. The Car Free Day movement began in Europe many years ago and has slowly spread to many cities around the world. Once a year, on September 22, a large part of the old part of Matsumoto city (near the castle) will be blocked to automobile traffic. Other cities in Japan regularly block of certain sections of roads, including huge 6 lane roads such as Ginza in Tokyo, but this is the first time that a major part of the inner-city will be blocked to motor traffic.

Best news I have heard in quite a while. I have no doubt that once this kind of thing can only become more and more popular around the country as locals and tourists alike discover just how nice it is to be able to walk and play on the streets, free from the noise, pollution and threat of cars.


Anonymous said...

But once a year is not going to make a squat of difference. The tourists will not even notice.

Anonymous said...

Keep your finger on the pulse of the Japanese car free day movement here: