After just 24 hours of a petition going online seeking car-free Sundays in Dublin, over 1,000 people have backed the campaign.
The petition, started by the Dublin Cycling Campaign, seeks to create “just a few car-free streets every Sunday [so that] we could enable people of all ages and abilities to walk, cycle and enjoy themselves in the heart of Dublin City.”
Similar car-free street events happen all around the world, including yearly in Belfast. One of the more popular brands of events are Ciclovías, which started in Colombia and are now held across north and south America and in Australia and New Zealand.
Ciclovías usually involve closing a long route of at least a few kilometres allowing a large number of people to cycle, walk, roller skate, etc along it from close to their homes. Bogotá’s weekly Ciclovías stretch to over 120km long, while Belfast’s is 2km.
On the petition, the Dublin Cycling Campaign said: “Car-Free Sundays have been trialled successfully in cities around the globe including Paris, Mexico and Singapore. The ‘Paris Sans Voitures’ (Paris Without Cars) initiative was started by the city’s Mayor to tackle chronic air pollution. The first car-free day in Paris resulted in a 40% drop in air pollution and a 50% fall in noise pollution.”
It added: “Each year in Ireland, up to 1,600 premature deaths are linked to air pollution, with motor vehicle emissions making up a substantial proportion of that pollution.”
The group said the concept can also be combined with free public transport for the day to encourage people to leave their cars at home.
“We are calling on Dublin City Council to realise the potential of Car-Free Sundays and to begin trials of the concept in the summer of 2018,” they said.