College - Author 1

College of Architecture and Environmental Design

Department - Author 1

City and Regional Planning Department

Degree Name - Author 1

BS in City and Regional Planning



Primary Advisor

Dave Amos, College of Architecture and Environmental Design, City and Regional Planning Department


This paper studies the accessibility of car-free areas to those with mobility impairments by examining three car-free and car-lite experiments in California. Whether slowly converted to car-free with long-term, careful planning, or expeditiously changed to car-free during the COVID-19 pandemic, these three car-free experiments show the shortcomings of planning for accessibility in car-free spaces, and how instead of improving accessibility, current planning practice often hinders it. This paper offers a deep-dive into the drawbacks and benefits of going car-free and the ethical and legal reasons why urban planners, designers, and policymakers must consider the accessibility of a space before planning a car-free space. The paper concludes with a discussion of successful current practices for accessibility and explores what new solutions are on the horizon.