On a Saturday in mid-August for each of the past dozen years, thousands of classic and not-so-classic cars have taken to Woodward Avenue in Detroit and the northern suburbs for the Woodward Dream Cruise. Over the years the businesses in the area have raked in tens of millions of dollars from people and companies who descend on the area for the week before the cruise to party and celebrate the culture of cars that the region was built on.

Now retired teacher Joellen Gilchrist wants to stop the cruising. She is planning a protest to take place during this years cruise on August 18 but hopes to keep it friendly since most of the estimated 1.5 million people who apparently turn out for the cruise each year likely wouldn't be too happy to see it end. Gilchrist's opinion of the cruise isn't universally shared by environmentalists. Melissa Damaschke of the Sierra club says that most people who don't like the cruise generally just head north for the weekend anyway, or turn out for the Green Cruise they organize the weekend before for cyclists, walkers and skateboarders.

The reality is that although most of the vehicles in the Dream Cruise predate the Clean Air Act and modern emission controls, most of them accumulate few miles each year any more. They aren't used to commute to the office and compared to the bulk of the vehicle population, they contribute little to the problem of pollution. What really needs to be addressed is the millions of cars commuting every day. Getting people to carpool, or use mass transit on a daily basis will have much more of an impact than ending this one event which will probably fizzle out in the next few years anyway as the Michigan economy continues to sputter.

[Source: Detroit Free Press]

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