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Car Free Friday returns on rainy day

The first Car Free Friday of the summer returned on an unusually rainy day.

The Downtown Stratford Business Improvement Area (BIA) kicked off the Car Free Friday program in front of KBD Law, the sponsor of the first event at 14 Erie Street on June 7. Car Free Friday is an initiative by the Downtown Stratford BIA that celebrates all forms of active transportation and encourages residents to walk, bike, skateboard, or take public transportation instead of driving their car during the summer months.

The Downtown Stratford BIA gave out free coffee and juice from Revel Café and had draws for a chance to win a 30-day Stratford Transit pass or a $25 Downtown Dollars voucher.

Kim Griffiths, membership and animation liaison at the BIA, said the turnout for the first hour was great. Then, a downpour happened. She said there are only a few Car Free Fridays throughout the summer, and normally the event sees sunny weather without a drop of rain.

Still, Griffiths was pleased with the overall turnout during the morning. The organization’s Car Free Friday events promote active transportation for residents to enjoy outdoor exercising such as walking or biking, and to reduce congestion from cars on the roads.

“I would say that the less cars downtown, the better,” Griffiths said.

Attendees of Car Free Fridays also learned more about the bicycle-theft prevention and recovery program, Project 529, from Stratford Police Service Const. Darren Fischer and took advantage of bicycle tune-ups by Totally Spoked owner Joel Curtis. Fischer said between Stratford and St. Marys, about 600 bikes have been registered with Project 529 since expanding to those municipalities two years ago. He also said there are benefits to more people engaging in active transportation and less people driving their cars.

“If you can engage in active transportation, it keeps less vehicles on the roadway and makes the roadway safer,” Fischer said.

The next Car Free Fridays will happen on July 5 at the Shoppers Drug Mart parking lot and Aug. 9 at the public-art barricades beside Chocolate Barrs.


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