Mr John Gormley, TD, Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, John Tierney, Dublin City Manager and Michael Phillips, Director of Traffic, Dublin City Council are inviting motorists to leave their cars at home on Saturday 22nd September and support European Car Free Day in Dublin by using public transport to get around the city.
Dublin City Council is organising family-friendly entertainment at three locations - Parnell Square East, Merrion Square West and the main road through Herbert Park - to encourage families to come into the city by trying out public transport options. These roads will be closed between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Parnell Square will host two 2-hour performances of opera and gypsy music outside Hugh Lane Gallery from 12pm to 4pm. Two art workshops - 12pm and 1.15pm - and three public tours- 12.30, 1.30 and 2.30 - will be held at the same venue. Families can wind down in the picnic area and enjoy the snacks provided and a magician for children, before setting off by ecocab to Merrion Square.
Merrion Square will host a mixture of urban and traditional events to suit children of all ages, starting at midday. An extreme sports display of skateboarding, BMX skills, rollerblades and long boards - as well as a break-dance workshop - will appeal to older children, while the younger children can join the fun on the bouncy castle, attend a magic show or learn circus skills. A picnic area will be provided for families to relax during the activities before they make their way by horse-drawn carriage to the next set of events in Herbert Park.
Herbert Park will host an exciting programme of activities from midday, with The Great Exhibition of 1907 being the focus of the event. Visitors can enjoy music from brass bands and the Fire Brigade Band while admiring the different vintage vehicles on display. Characters dressed in period costume will be on hand to help and direct families to the various attractions.
The Lambert Puppet Theatre will perform their Punch & Judy show for the children, while adults can relax and enjoy traditional afternoon tea free of charge.
"It's never been easier to get public transport in and out of the city" - said Lord Mayor, Cllr Paddy Bourke - "and we hope people will make the effort to come and support Car Free Day on the 22nd Sept. The City Council is making a big effort to provide events on the day, to entertain people of all ages and there will be free public transport running between the three venues" - he added.
"If you've always used your car, Car Free Day is just the opportunity for you to try other alternatives on a weekend day" - said Michael Phillips, Director of Traffic and City Engineer at Dublin City Council. "There are 8 free cycle taxis available in the City Centre area. You can just flag one down in the usual way."
Three new Quality Bus Corridors have come on stream in the last year - The North Quays, Lucan and Swords Road Quality Bus Corridors - getting more commuters to their destinations in less time. The new Pearse Street Quality Bus Corridor will come into operation, for the first time, during Mobility Week.
Dublin Bus carried 150 million passengers in 2005. 41% - just over 60 million - travelled on Quality Bus Corridors. The Dublin Bus projection for 2008 is 162 million passengers, with 59% - 95 million will travel on QBC. Projections for 2011 show 185 million passengers, with 63% - 120 million - travelling on QBC.
"A commuter who drives a 10km journey to work every day - and back, will emit 5 kilos of emissions each day - that's over one tonne per year. By walking or cycling to work, commuters can burn between 300 and 700 calories every day, protect the environment and save up €3000 a year in insurance, fuel and car maintenance costs" - said Cllr Bourke.
European Car Free Day takes place during European Mobility Week - September 16th to 23rd - which aims to encourage people to adopt new approaches of getting to and from work, school and other daily activities, through car pooling, cycling and walking.