What Would Happen if an American Town Went Carless?

For a possible answer, look to Mackinac Island, Michigan, where cars have been banned for 115 years. Does chaos ensue when the island's population grows to 15,000 during the summer tourist season? Not quite, says Stephen Messenger.
July 1, 2013, 12pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"Although the small island is home to only around 500 people, in the summer, that number swells to 15,000 during tourism season; aside from a couple of emergency vehicles, there's nary a car to be seen," writes Messenger. "Transportation on Mackinac is limited to walking, horse-drawn carriages, and bicycling -- a pleasant departure from the car-centric society that exists beyond its borders."

"The air is cleaner and injuries are fewer," writes Jeff Potter, who published an article about Mackinac. "Island residents are healthier due to the exercise. There’s a cherished egalitarianism: everyone gets around the same way. They also save a tremendous amount of money that would normally go to commuting by cars."

"Visitors to the island have described the experience as like going back in time to a bygone era," notes Messenger, "one before the constant din of traffic and vehicle exhaust became a part of daily life in America."

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Published on Friday, June 28, 2013 in Treehugger
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