Bring it Back - Make Car Free Day a community event !

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Vancouver’s Main Street Car Free Day was founded as a local community event, an opportunity to celebrate the Main Street as a unique, diverse and walkable community with a dynamic home-grown business culture. This should be a day of sharing with others all that our neighbourhood has to offer; a day to reconnect to where we live through music, food, performances, art, events and activities.

But we feel that over the years, Car Free Day has become a commercial affair that has lost touch with its roots, the community it was intended to celebrate, and its local place in our City’s cultural calendar. Today, Main Street Car Free Day is a one-day open air mall, with big corporates and commercial vendors from across the Lower Mainland given licences from the City to ply their wares for the day.  Outside vendors, including large corporates, have taken advantage of the event, with several small local businesses, who are the mainstay of Main Street, eclipsed by the generic, or obscured by commercial ventures crowding the sidewalks. Several local businesses actually chose to close their doors for the day. Car Free Day is no longer a community event.

Ironically, this “car free” event attracts people from all over the Lower Mainland who drive to the neighbourhood, bringing excessive amounts of traffic and congestion to what is supposed to be a celebration of community sustainability. This traffic, congestion, and illegal parking undermines the very qualities the event is intended to celebrate.

We believe that as a celebration of community, Car Free Day should focus on what makes Main Street special: our walkable community and our great local business. Let’s use it as a platform to promote and support our wonderful Main St businesses, enabling them to use the sidewalks for showcasing their unique wares and encouraging customers to enter their establishments rather than having their shopfronts obscured by outside vendors.  Let’s free up the street space so that our kids can ride their bikes and trikes, do chalk drawings, and roller skate. Let’s really reclaim our local street for playing and wandering, ball games, sitting on the pavement listening to music, enjoying local performers and indulging in what our great local restaurants have to offer. Let’s restrict through traffic so that people who want to come and celebrate with us arrive by bike, on foot, and by transit and experience the real Main St.  This is the Main St we love and care about.

Please sign this petition if you support:

  • More consultation with local businesses about managing car free day
  • Restricting use of sidewalks to local business who own the frontage
  • Reserving the streetspace for wandering, kids’ games, performers, biking and triking  – not outside commercial ventures
  • Restricting licences to local vendors and small businesses only – in selected locations that do not block Main street business
  • Local traffic only between Fraser and Cambie Streets

BRING IT BACK - make Car Free Day a community event!