The District is asking its residents to leave their cars in park next Thursday to support green transportation efforts.
Car Free Day is an international movement to encourage sustainability, with 1,500 cities in 40 countries participating.
“We’re hoping Car Free Day will allow individuals who are driving every day to try something different: walking, bicycling, mass transit; basically just reduce the use of a private automobile,” Nicholas Ramfos, director of Alternative Commute Programs for the National Capital Region Planning Board, said.
More than 1.5 million commuters in the D.C. region drive themselves to work each day, Ramfos said.
As of Sept. 14, more than 7,300 people had pledged to eliminate driving or rely less on their cars this Thursday in D.C., a jump from the 7,000 who pledged last year. Ramfos hopes to garner 10,000 pledges by the end of the event.
GW will participate in Car Free Day as part of the University’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint. The Office of Sustainability will raffle off 50 discounted Capital Bike Share memberships to those who take the pledge.
“We look forward to rallying the GW community to leave their cars at home on Sept. 22,” Sophie Waskow, sustainability project facilitator for the Office of Sustainability, said.
Roughly 65 percent of GW’s faculty and staff drive to work, Waskow estimated according to data collected in 2010.
In addition to participating in Car Free Day, Waskow announced that GW will launch a discounted shower-pass membership at the Lerner Health and Wellness Center later this semester. The membership will allow commuters who bike or walk to work access to showers at the fitness center.
Nearby public transportation will facilitate the University’s participation in Car Free Day, Waskow said.
“We are committed to helping create a greener, cleaner and healthier community around us, and look forward to rallying the GW community to leave their cars at home,” she said.
GW sits alongside the Foggy Bottom Metro station and is home to two Capital Bike Share stations. The University offers shuttles between the three campuses and NuRide, a carpool matching service for faculty and staff. The Circulator and commuter connection bus lines also run through campus.