Would you be able to get around Seattle for a week without driving?
This is the question being posed by the Disability Mobility Initiative at Disability Rights Washington. This past summer, Washington Governor Jay Inslee issued a proclamation declaring September 19-25, 2022 the Week Without Driving.
If you think you may like to participate in the week-long challenge or you’re just curious about the reasons behind it, read on for all the details.
What is the Week Without Driving?
This is actually the second annual Week Without Driving. In the first year, over 100 elected leaders and transportation professionals participated. You can read about the 2021 event here. This year, Gov. Inslee’s proclamation made the event official and more well-known.
The reason behind Week Without Driving is that nearly a quarter of Washington state residents don’t drive, many of them due to barriers such as disability and the cost of cars and gas. This forces one in four Washington residents to rely on public transportation to get them where they need to go. For those with the privilege of being able to drive, it can be hard to see what is lacking in the state’s public transportation. That is why Week Behind Driving specifically asks elected officials, transit providers, and transportation professionals to participate.
Who can participate?
Anyone can participate in the Week Without Driving! The challenge is mainly directed at those in a position to improve public transportation (i.e. elected officials) but Disability Rights Washington invites everyone to get a glimpse at the barriers faced by non-drivers in our communities.
As King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay said in the above video, “It’s really important that all of us, especially elected officials, experience the consequences of our policy decisions.”
How does it work?
The only rule is that from September 19 through 25, you cannot drive yourself in a car. To get around throughout the week, you can take the bus or other public transportation, walk, take an Uber or Lyft, or ask someone else to drive you. Participants are encouraged to note how much their alternative modes of transportation cost them throughout the week, as well as how much you feel you “owe” anyone who gives you a ride.
If you’d like to participate, you can register here. You can share your experience on social media throughout the week by using the hashtag #WeekWithoutDriving.