SEATTLE(NO CAR DAY)

SEATTLE - The city's second "car-free Sunday" - this time in the Rainier Valley - went a lot more smoothly than the debut event a week ago.

Last week's event didn't go quite as planned. Dozens of local drivers were ticketed and towed - and the city ended up paying the towing fees and turning the tickets into warnings.

But this time, the city made phone calls, beforehand, to people who live and work along Rainier Avenue South - warning them to clear the roads.

So by the time the city shut down the street to traffic, between Orcas and Alaska streets, there was only one car on the road - a toy one being driven by an enthusiastic youngster. No one gave him a ticket.

The car-free day is part of Mayor Greg Nickels' campaign, to "give your car the summer off." City leaders are trying to encourage people to get out and walk, ride their bikes or use other ways of getting around.

This Sunday, along Rainier Avenue South, local businesses and families saw the closure as a perfect opportunity to have some fun.

"We were walking on the sidewalk and a guy said, 'Please get off the sidewalk and walk in the street.' So we did," says local resident Staci Sprout.

Fred Mcdowell, another local, said he was enjoying the absence of cars and traffic in the neighborhood.

"That's a great thing, it'll save a lot of money, won't it?" he said. "Save a lot of money for a whole lot of people. Wish I had a bike right now, I'd ride a bike."

This was the second of three "car-free Sundays." The third will be on Sept. 7 at Alki Beach.

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