Great community feeling as people spilled onto streets

Dear editor,
On Sunday, Courtenay and Cumberland took part in a global movement, closing a few streets to cars and opening them to the people.

Dear editor,On Sunday, Courtenay and Cumberland took part in a global movement, closing a few streets to cars and opening them to the people.I was with my family in downtown Courtenay and it was incredible.Despite the torrential rain immediately before and after the event (the weather gods smiled on car-freeness), the good people came out and celebrated. Joggers, scooters, motorized wheelchairs, strollers — all the people usually stuffed on the sidewalk spilled into the street.At first as we walked down Fifth, we hugged the sidewalks. It just felt weird to breach the barrier and enter the roadway. Our two-year-old made the first excursion, joyously riding his little no-pedal bike into the street. I was surprised at how liberating it was to follow him.We danced with the people, ran into our next-door neighbours, drank Broken Spoke coffee and just revelled in not being confined to the sidewalk by rumbling 4x4s.My dad was up visiting from Victoria over the weekend, and he raved about the community feel of Car Free Sunday. If it happened every month, word would surely spread around the island, we reasoned.The chance to spread out in the heart of a city without any noise or exhaust would be a big tourist draw.  People would stumble upon it by accident and be delighted, and they would come back again and again.Bogotá, Colombia opens the entire city once a year to pedestrians and bikes. Portland does the same on Alberta Street once a month. This isn’t a bizarre concept – it just requires some political will.I’ve got the will now, and I have a hunch that everyone who attended feels the same.Alex Dunae,Courtenay

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