Sunday, September 09, 2007

A Car-Free Town In Michigan

I didn't know that Mackinac Island, MI, is car-free until I read about it in last Friday's New York Times. They only allow bicycles and horses, not even motorized service vehicles!

Here is a picture of Mackinac's Main Street that I found on Flickr.

And here is what a couple of people who live there say about it:

" Steve: As most people know, vehicles are not permitted on Mackinac Island, something that makes it very special. I’m a fifth-generation Mackinac Island summer visitor, and I never get over the wonder of it. When I was a boy, after spending a summer here, I’d go home and it actually seemed weird to see cars and trucks. It still feels that way. During the summer, you see thousands of bikes. People nod as they bike past one another and say hello. And people of every age ride.

Anne: There are over one hundred miles of trails. Some are for mountain biking, others are paved. Still others are rustic for the more hale and hardy riders. We ride for recreation as well as for completely utilitarian reasons. Our house is just over three miles outside of town so we have to hook up a cart to get all our groceries to bring them back here. Our bikes have big baskets, too. This lifestyle is not for the lazy. It’s a seven-mile round trip just to get milk.

Steve: On the other hand, there’s nothing like going to a function or a party and then biking home in the dark. The moon is overhead, and as you glide along, the water is so blue, it doesn’t seem real. You sail along, slipping under the bridge and then, once home, hop off the bike, your feet finally on the ground. It’s simply unforgettable."

So why don't we have car-free neighborhoods in American cities (with motorized service vehicles, of course, instead of horses)? Then people could have this sort of experience year-round


Blogger Pirjetta Kesseli said...

That is wonderful. It really is so, as Steve, the summer-visitor says: You very soon get used to the carless environment, and when you go back it is weird (if not sick, somehow)to see motor vehicles again.

1:12 PM  

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