Mass. gov. caught driving during ‘car-free week’

C.J. Ciaramella Contributor
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When Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick declared this week “car-free week,” he apparently didn’t mean for everybody.

Boston media caught the governor driving in his SUV on Monday, despite his urging citizens to use public transportation, biking, walking or carpooling this week.

Thursday is “World Car-Free Day,” with more than a thousand cities in 40 countries taking part. Massachusetts decided to be extra green and extended the event to a whole week.

“Massachusetts Car-Free Week enhances the Green DOT mission by raising awareness about the environmental benefits of reducing vehicle emissions in our communities,” said Massachusetts Department of Transportation Secretary and CEO Richard Davey in a statement.

For his part, Patrick acknowledged he had been caught red-handed, but he said the event was still a worthwhile initiative.

“Look, it’s a great initiative for people who can make the most of it,” Patrick told reporters. “I hope they will and I hope during the course of the week to make the most of it, too.”

Some criticized the event as an attempt by environmentalists to restrict car use.

“The automobile is one of the most liberating technologies ever developed,” said Sam Kazman, general counsel of the Competitive Enterprise Institute. “Walking and biking certainly have their advantages, and some may find that’s all the transportation they need at certain points in their lives. But the sponsors of World Car-Free Day go beyond advocating lifestyle changes — they are urging politicians to restrict car use and instead promote mass transit systems that require ever-expanding taxpayer subsidies.”