Imagine, if you will, a Westside world where the sun shines, the onshore breezes refresh and the din of traffic is almost nonexistent.

That world could become a reality this week when the city of Santa Monica kicks off its Car Free Friday (#CarFreeFriday) campaign. The idea is to think outside the automobile to reduce smog, improve health and provide cheaper ways of getting around, city officials say.

The weekly initiative was born out of “strategic goals” approved by the City Council in August, said Santa Monica mobility manager Francie Stefan. “The new model is about transportation choice and linking health and mobility,” she said.

“We all need cost-effective ways to get to school and work,” she said. “At the same time, there are other ways of getting around that are more relaxing, fun and cheaper for you.”

Organizers will give away “swag” at bus stations and Expo Line stops; participating retailers will offer discounts; and businesses can get custom window decals that show how close customers are to bus, rail and bike-share stations.

“Santa Monica residents, workers and businesses will kick off the very first Car Free Friday by giving cars a day off and using sustainable ways to get to work, school or happy hour,” according to a city statement. “By providing incentives, tips and support for people to walk, bike, train or bus once a week, the city of Santa Monica hopes to make it easy and safe for people to make the shift to being car-free and carefree more often.”

The 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. kickoff this week comes as Santa Monica is enjoying the new Expo Line extension to the beach. The city also enjoys the Breeze Bike Share program.

Stefan said Friday is ideal for the exercise: Saturday isn't a typical workday, and getting around on foot in downtown Santa Monica is a little more normal on weekends. The idea is to change our petroleum-guzzling habits while taking advantage of a laid-back weekday.

“Friday is important in that people loosen up their ties a little bit,” she said. “People feel most comfortable trying a new thing when they have a little flexibility in their day.”

If you want to try it, here's more information.

Credit: City of Santa Monica

Credit: City of Santa Monica

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