Parkes Way will not be closed at 8am on any given Monday. Motorists will not be turned back at the ACT border. Fines will not be issued to anyone who turns a key in their ignition.
But Emissions Reduction Minister Shane Rattenbury wants Canberra's first car-free day to have an impact and give people the opportunity to see what a life less reliant on car travel might look like for them.
"The way we want to do it in the ACT is to create an event where people come and experience a different set of possibilities," Mr Rattenbury said.
"Whether that is they try an electric scooter for the first time, they try an electric bike, potentially see an electric vehicle - these sort of range of options that are outside of people's usual thing."
A car-free day could be held this year, with Mr Rattenbury eager to hold the event in spring.
Mr Rattenbury in September disagreed with a recommendation of the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate to stage a series of car-free events to promote different types of travel.
The directorate said a large-scale, festival-like, car-free day would cost about $200,000, and would take significant time to plan the closures of a large road or multiple roads.
"There is significant risk of further compounding negative community sentiment regarding construction/disruption if not adequately scoped," a brief prepared for Mr Rattenbury said.
The Emissions Reduction Minister said his impression was that a series of small events would not generate the level of community interest.
Mr Rattenbury said he was confident the government could put enough resources into a car-free day and hold an event with more impact.
"It has got different connotations around the world. In some places, you do see cities where they do close large swathes of the city down on a Sunday on a regular basis," he said.
"I think in the ACT, you know, I'm cognisant that we are a really car-oriented community. And so what we're trying to do is help people have alternatives to that."
Mr Rattenbury said he hoped a car-free day would help people who are used to jumping in a car to go everywhere living in Canberra see what changes they could make for some of their journeys.
"For me, I lived in Amsterdam for five years where I didn't own a car at all and you just cycled everywhere, and that becomes your habit," he said.
"But if you don't know how to do that or no one's ever shown you or you're not sure about the technology, it's pretty hard to break through."
MORE A.C.T. TRANSPORT NEWS:
Car-free days were outlined as a possibility in the 2019 ACT climate strategy, and have been promoted by Greens backbencher Jo Clay.
A 2022 paper in Current Environmental Health Reports noted the impact of car-free days was highly variable, depending on the scope of the events.
"The organisation and execution of car-free days and events, as well as public support and stakeholder engagement, greatly influence the level of success and the sustainability of such initiatives," the paper said.
World Car Free Day is marked on September 22, with early car-free days in Belgium and the Netherlands dating to the 1956 Suez crisis.
We've made it a whole lot easier for you to have your say. Our new comment platform requires only one log-in to access articles and to join the discussion on The Canberra Times website. Find out how to register so you can enjoy civil, friendly and engaging discussions. See our moderation policy here.