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Long IslandTransportation

Annual LI Car-Free Day pledges top 3,500, officials say

Keith Mainhart, who walks home from his job

Keith Mainhart, who walks home from his job in Amityville, is seen in this photo from Sept. 21, 2016. Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

More than 3,500 people have pledged to get around without an automobile Thursday, Long Island’s fourth annual Car-Free Day, officials said.

The 3,584 people who took the pledge to go “car-free” or “car-light” already tops last year’s total of 2,963, said Rosemary Mascali, event co-chair and manager of the Long Island Rail Road’s Transit Solutions program.

Car-Free Day, to be observed Thursday by some 1,500 cities in 40 countries, was created in 2000.

The event aims to reduce traffic, conserve energy, protect the environment and promote fitness by getting drivers to consider transportation alternatives, including buses, trains, carpooling, cycling and telecommuting.

“Some people still think . . . ‘Oh, that’s stupid. You can’t be car-free on Long Island.’ But that’s not the point,” Mascali said. “The point is we have to do something. It might be different, because we’re suburban and we’re not New York City. But we can’t continue to increase our car driving on Long Island, . . . How are we going to grow?”

To take the pledge, visit carfreedayli.com.

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