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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Towns without cars?

Did you also read this in the newspaper? In 20 years' time, the town of Hamburg (Germany) should be car-free. Instead of 4 lane highways there should be parks and gardens. Something that would look like this:


The highway should go underground and this way nobody could enter the town by car anymore. Highways should only be used for through traffic.

More and more towns see the necessity of banning the car. Next to the fact that is is not good for the environment, a car is also (very) costly and there are way too many of them around. In the old days, only the doctor or the mayor of a town had a car, now everyone has one or more.

Could you live without a car? I can honestly answer: yes, I can.

My sister and I decided to sell our last car five years ago. Before that we had two of them. I sold mine already ten years ago, because I knew my eyesight was not too good anymore and when you can't distinguis a distance rightly, you're a danger on the street. One car was enough, anyway, as my sister could work at 5 minutes' distance from where we live.

We did not sell our car because we needed money. No, we sold it because we had no more use for it. Do you really need a car to go shopping (in Dendermonde, only a twenty minute walk to the farthest shop) or to drive to the coast? The train is faster when you want to go to Knokke and it has the big advantage of being able to read or just chat away.

We got ourselves two caddy's and now we go shopping and load our stuff in them.  Walking is good for your health and we have to go regularly.

I can only see the advantages of not having a car. You don't have to pay for its upkeep, you don't have to wash it, you don't pay insurance (and other taxes), you don't have to buy petrol, ... Can you believe, we can make a trip to England or another country in Europe for the money we paid for the car?

So I'm all for banning the cars out of towns. But I also realize this won't go easy. Here in Dendermonde the city council wanted to make some streets car-free. But the shop owners protested because they're afraid nobody will want to visit town when they do. So a change of mind will be necessary.

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