This Sunday, the 21st of September, is car-free Sunday in Amsterdam. According to the HR department at my company, this means it will not be possible to enter the city by car from 10.00 am until 17.00, but it is possible to exit Amsterdam (you just can't come back in until after 17). Public transportation (buses, trams, metro) will be running, but there will be no taxis available.
I'm conflicted about this.
On one hand, I love the idea of pedestrians and cyclists taking over Amsterdam even more than they already do. It sounds amazing, and I completely intend to take advantage of it and ride in the middle of the streets and envision a world where cars don't exist.
On the other hand, Amsterdam makes it easier than anywhere else I've ever been to avoid being in a car. The public transportation system is easy and affordable, bikes have their own lanes, the entire city is very walkable, and I think I know about two people that own a car. This blogger makes a lot of really good points as to why something like car-free day doesn't really have any advantages in Amsterdam. After reading that, I thought about the day I arrived in Amsterdam this past April - I showed up with a big, heavy suitcase and a big, heavy backpack. It just made sense that I took a taxi from Central Station to the apartment where I was staying. I could barley lift my bags onto the curb, nevermind trying to lift them into a tram. And I would have really inconvenienced everyone around me had I been on a tram (by taking up too much room). So what if I was moving into Amsterdam in the same kind of way this Sunday afternoon, and I was told "too bad, we're doing something good here by not allowing cars around the city today." I could have made it work, but man, it would have sucked.
So while everyone who is leaving the city (ie: headed to the airport or wherever) can still load up their cars or taxis with luggage, anyone arriving this Sunday, between 10-17 is out of luck.
If I had my way, no one would own cars, but I've got to say, I wouldn't get rid of taxis. While car-free day sounds like great fun to me, as a car-free person, it doesn't change my life whatsoever.
Thoughts? Has anyone ever experienced a car-free day in Amsterdam (or your own city) before?