Torrens Street Party

The Torrens Street Party for World Car-Free Day was held on a sunny spring Sunday, 20 September 2009.

The project was intended to raise awareness and promote actions to combat climate change by reducing emissions from vehicles and consumption of fossil fuel. More broadly, it wanted to help catalyse a shift towards a ‘less-car’ urban transport paradigm – one with fewer car trips, fewer cars, better public transport, better infrastructure for bicycles, more pedestrians on the streets, lower air pollution and improved health and fitness. It was registered as both a World Car-Free Day event and a Wake-up Call (climate change) event and was supported by SGIC and local businesses and associations.

But its true essence was not to deliver a political message but express the pleasure and power of being in local community. And it was incredibly colourful, lively and diverse.

Our Car Free Day Street Party for 2009 was held in Torrens Street, College Park. It is a residential street, wide and tree-lined, low traffic flow and already well-developed neighbourly linkages and personality. The aim of the Car Free Day Street Party was to host a community event with friends, family, neighbours, local business, schools and community groups; and to promote three main messages:

  • Demonstrate the importance of cultivating a sustainable environment and community with residents, schools, local community groups and local business
  • Providing a safe and festive communal space to celebrate Car Free Day
  • Creating a fun community event for family, friends and residents who live in the Norwood, Payneham and St Peters.

We hope to repeat this event in 2011, and to inspire similar events in Adelaide. Contact Nadia McLaren nadia.mclaren@gmail.com

See Kathryn Calaby’s and  Alison Sarre’s photographic records of the day or Aaron Nielsen’s video (watch final portion).


22 September is World Car Free Day. See also World Car-Free Days Collaborative.

In Europe, entire residential streets exclude traffic (never forbidden but discouraged). Barbecues and trestle tables appear, with contributed food, drink, music and a lot of good neighbourly celebration. Car-Free Day has become a day of exploring and forming new habits. People are encouraged to walk, take public transport, cycle and use the streets and other public spaces convivially.

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