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For Some D.C. Residents, Every Day Is Car-Free Day

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Monday marked Car-Free Day worldwide. But D.C. may be ahead of the curve when it comes to getting around without a vehicle.
Katie Harbath: http://www.flickr.com/photos/katieharbath/3733299538/
Monday marked Car-Free Day worldwide. But D.C. may be ahead of the curve when it comes to getting around without a vehicle.

Monday, many commuters left their cars at home for Car-Free Day. But for many residents of Washington, every day is car-free day.

Ann DeSanctis is 26, works in the nonprofit sector, and move to D.C. a couple years ago. She does not own a car. Instead she rides her bike six miles to work every morning. "One of the reasons I came was because I could live without a car," DeSanctis says.

Eighty-eight percent of the increase in D.C. households was car-free, according to the U.S. Census. Each weekday only about a third of D.C. commuters drive alone to work. For residents like DeSanctis, leaving your car at home is an easy decision.

"Yeah, if you are in a 9-to-5 and at your desk all day, and not taking trips throughout the day that require a car or if you have company vehicles you can use like I do, then absolutely. I don't see why not," DeSanctis says.

But outside the District, especially in the outer suburbs, options are limited. Many commuters have no choice but to drive, says Lon Anderson at AAA MidAtlantic. "We've got to remember we are one of the leaders in the nation for long-distance commutes," Anderson says.

A forecast by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments says the percentage of single-driver commute trips is expected to drop from 61 percent now to 57 percent in 2040 in our region. But because of expected population growth, the total number of drivers will increase.

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