Applaud City for Banning Cars

Mackinac Island streets

Target: City of Mackinac Island, Michigan

Goal: Applaud the “no car” policy in Mackinac Island

In 1898, when cars began to arrive on the streets of America, some cities moved to ban them. As time went by, though, restrictions were lifted and cars took over the country. Except for one place: a quiet town of 500 residents called Mackinac Island, Michigan. In the summer, more than 14,000 tourists invade the town, eager to take a break from busy lives spent next to endless roads and cars. Aside from a couple of emergency vehicles, Mackinac Island is a pleasant place for such a getaway. The city needs to hear a deep-felt “thank you” for its wonderful stubbornness.

When a Mackinac Island resident first saw cars, he called them “mechanical monsters” and soon after, on July 6, 1898, the Mackinac village council outlawed the automobile before these creatures had a chance to spread: “Resolved: That the running of horseless carriages be prohibited within the limits of the village of Mackinac.”

The city has the nation’s only carless highway, the M-185, which stretches 8.3 miles along the picturesque coastline and has no parking lots or gas stations. Jeff Potter in an article about Mackinac, “The air is cleaner and injuries are fewer.” That is true, not to mention the amount of money that residents save by not driving.

Sign below to let the Mayor Margaret Doud know how wonderful it is that they are standing up to the noisy monsters that rule the world. Perhaps Mackinac Island will give other cities and towns inspiration to do away with cars.


Dear Mayor Doud,

Thank you for being a carless community for 115 years. It is truly wonderful to know that there is a place in America where there is no car exhaust, endless parking lots and gas stations. The visionary Mackinac village council on July 6, 1898 resolved: “That the running of horseless carriages be prohibited within the limits of the village of Mackinac.”

Today that vision proved to be wise. Town residents enjoy cleaner air and save money by commuting by bikes or horses. They are healthier as the result. Undoubtedly, more than 14,000 tourists visit the island every summer because they want to take a holiday from cars and roads that rule their lives. Human has become the car’s property and surrendered his freedom to “mechanical monsters,” how one resident called automobiles in 1898.

Mackinac Island is a glimmer of hope for communities across the country. Please continue to be the inspiration for everyone who is considering trading a car for a bike. Congratulations on the 115th anniversary of a carless “village of Mackinac.”


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Borisvolodnikov via Flickr

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