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Civic leaders urge participation in city’s inaugural Car Free Day

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Standing before of an array of alternative transportation options, Eskenazi Health CEO Dr. Lisa Harris and Angie’s List Senior Director of Business Development Steve Hood today encouraged Central Indiana employers and individuals to participate in the city’s first-ever Car Free Day Indy celebration on Sept. 22.

Launched in 2000, World Car Free Day was created to encourage people to be less dependent on cars and try alternatives. Harris and Cook urged Central Indiana workers and residents to join the Sept. 22 celebration by pledging to ride the bus, carpool, vanpool, bike or walk instead of driving alone in a car. To underscore local options, Harris and Cook issued the challenge near an IndyGo bus stop, a Commuter Connect-branded vanpool van and Pacers Bikeshare bikes.

“We all win when we choose alternative transportation options,” Dr. Harris said. “Our health improves, our air gets cleaner, traffic congestion is reduced and, I believe, we find ourselves connecting more as a community.”

Area residents who sign an online pledge before Sept. 22 will be registered to win prizes and can receive a free pass for an emergency ride home in case something comes up. The civic leaders at today’s event have already signed the pledge to go car free or car lite at www.carfreedayindy.com – both because they support the campaign and because they believe it fits with what their organizations stand for.

Dr. Harris said, “At Eskenazi Health we encourage staff and patients’ families to carpool by providing more than 130 of our best parking spots for carpools only. Plus, we work closely with IndyGo to help promote access to their buses at all our facilities. Many of our employees carpool, bike, walk or ride IndyGo to get to work, and we hope to see even more on Car Free Day, as well as the future.”

“Angie’s List has always been green at heart, and we’re proud of the many sustainability efforts we’ve had for years,” said Hood. “Car Free Day is one of those things that fits naturally into our everyday lives here, and we’re happy to be recognized as a regional sustainability leader.”

Commuter Connect, a service of Central Indiana Regional Transportation Authority (CIRTA), is hosting Car Free Day Indy to attract attention to its services, which include everything from programs that connect would-be carpoolers and vanpoolers, to tips for employers wanting to ease the impact commuting has on their workers.

“The biggest reason people are hesitant to try other transportation options than driving alone is concern about being stranded if the unexpected happens,” said Andrew McGee, assistant director of Commuter Connect. “The Emergency Ride Home pass addresses that concern because it’s a free cab ride home in the event of an emergency.”

Commuter Connect will be at the following locations on Sept. 22 with free food and music. The public is invited to attend and those who have signed the online pledge can receive a free emergency ride home pass.

“We’re announcing Car Free Day early in order to give people time to plan their car-free and car-lite commutes,” said Lori Kaplan, executive director of CIRTA. “We’ll have greater impact for actual Car Free Day and all the days before and after it.”

Commuter Connect is a federally funded service designed to reduce air pollution and traffic congestion. There is no charge for employers or employees to use Commuter Connect’s services. To learn more, visit www.CommuterConnect.us.

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