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‘Car-Free Week’ promotes commuting alternatives in Amherst, Valley

“Car-Free Week is designed to have one day where you don’t use a car,” said Stephanie Ciccarello, Amherst’s sustainability coordinator.

Car-Free Week, which begins Monday, is a statewide initiative through MassRIDES, the travel options program of the state’s Department of Transportation. It seeks to have people walk, ride a bicycle, take mass transit or find other ways to make do without driving automobiles, such as working from home. The Pioneer Valley Planning Commission is collaborating with the town, as well as the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the city of Springfield, on the week, which promotes the environmental, financial, community and health benefits of not driving.

In Amherst, the main event will be a commuter breakfast, that will run Sept. 20 from 7 to 10 a.m. on the North Common in front of Town Hall. In Springfield, the commuter breakfast will be held from 7 to 9 a.m.

The breakfast in Amherst will feature information about green commuting from town officials, the UMass Campus Sustainability Initiative and the UMass Bicycle Advisory Committee. Ciccarello said Car-Free Week supplements the town’s promotion of NuRide, which has employees and residents sign up for car pools and other means of reducing the number of cars out on roads carrying just one person.

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