Car-Free St. Pete, in coalition with Open Streets St. Pete, hosted the City of St. Petersburg’s first-ever World Car-free Day event on Sunday, September 22nd, 2019. Though World Car-free Day is an international movement, the city’s rendition of the celebration kept the message local, highlighting some of the many advocacy organizations and resources dedicated to helping residents and visitors alike shift their transportation mode away from driving.
The event was hosted by Green Bench Brewing Co., one of the city’s certified Bicycle Friendly Businesses, and featured an exhibitor fair in the brewery’s outdoor courtyard. Attendees were invited to interact with more than a dozen exhibitors who provided information and resources to support getting around the city car-free. Some of the exhibitors included Coast Bike Share, the St. Petersburg Bicycle Co-op, and PSTA’s Downtown Looper, a free transit circulator bridging distances too far to walk conveniently. Even the city’s Bicycle Friendly Business program was in attendance to share how local organizations can support their car-free employees and patrons.
St. Petersburg mayor, Rick Kriseman, welcomed participants and reiterated the city’s commitment to address climate change by reducing 80% of the city’s CO2 footprint by 2050. As part of this goal, he highlighted some of the city’s strategies to help improve the navigability of the city for different travel modes, including the restoration of the Cross-Bay Ferry service between Tampa and St. Petersburg this fall, the upcoming installation of an electric scooter system, and the future bus rapid transit service that will connect the urban core to gulf beaches.