By Ruth Rosas, Program Manager for America Walks
Some of us started driving when we could and have never lived life without a car. Some of us never had the ability to drive so we know exactly how hard it can be to get around our communities. Wherever you are on that scale, when you go outside it is hard to ignore how much of our environment is built for cars.
The prioritization of driving in the United States has caused people without the ability, choice, or want to drive to face challenges that are not well understood or forgotten by those who drive. In many communities, there are few or no alternatives to driving. This makes it near impossible to get to school, work, run errands, and other daily life activities for the quarter of Americans who can’t drive. So if we want to create communities that are livable, equitable, walkable, connected, and accessible, we must include nondrivers in the conversations and decision-making tables to design all streets and roads. Their lived experiences are an invaluable resource to building and operating our transportation systems and slowly moving away from our car-dependent culture.
Take Part in the National Week Without Driving
We are firm believers that the inability or choice to not drive or own a vehicle should not diminish people’s quality of life. That is why this year, America Walks is hosting the inaugural National Week Without Driving, October 2-8, 2023. We’re working in partnership with the Disability Mobility Initiative at Disability Rights Washington, who started this campaign two years ago documenting and interviewing nondrivers across the state of Washington and uplifting their needs.
This year, we are taking that challenge nationwide because communities across the country have needs that have been ignored and silenced. Addressing the barriers for non-drivers requires a combination of policy and infrastructure changes. That is why one of the goals of the campaign is to get as many elected officials, public officials, and transportation professionals to participate and truly live through the challenges of navigating life without a car.
An essential part of our democratic governance is to have our voices heard. We need to mobilize community members and government officials to call for improved pedestrian and transit infrastructure that allows everyone to get to where they’re going, regardless of their ability to drive. Together, our advocacy has the power to make the places we live, work, and play more accessible for all.
Click on the PDF below to read our press release highlighting all the National Week Without Driving organizers and join us by signing up here. Organizations interested in hosting Week Without Driving in their communities will have access to resources, materials, and support to make this event possible. Individuals who are interested in participating will get updates and get connected to any local resources that are available.
If you have any questions, please contact Program Manager and National Week Without Driving Coalition organizer Ruth Rosas at email@example.com.