By Somali K Chakrabarti
Ciclovía, is a weekly city-wide, car-free day in Bogotá, when more than 2 million people come out to cycle, hang out and eat on the streets. It has been successfully running since 1974.
Ciclovía keeps cars off the streets in the Colombian capital and brings rich and poor together – if only for a day. ~ theguardian
The concept of Ciclovía has, since then, spread far and wide beyond Columbia, and walking events are now organized in different cities around the world.
Walking festivals in India
The concept is no longer alien to India either. Known by name of Raahgiri, a similar event started in Gurgaon in 2013, and has been continuing for over a year. Such events are also organized at Connaught Place in Delhi, in Bhopal, Ludhiyana, Pune, Navi Mumbai and have lately started in Mumbai as the Santacruz – Bandra festival, as the result of collective efforts of NGOs, think tanks, citizens’ associations and cycling groups
Living in Mumbai, one of my main grouse has been the lack of open spaces to walk. So when I heard of Santacruz – Bandra Walking Festival that is organized every Sunday from 7 am to 11 am, with two of the busiest streets of Mumbai – Linking Road and SV Road, being closed to traffic to allow people to walk, there was no way I could keep away.
So, there I was walking at Linking Road with hoards of others who were out on the road strolling, briskly walking, prancing or jogging. What a sight it was to see the traffic packed roads of Mumbai completely devoid of traffic! Children with roller skates whizzed past in glee, there were others on cycles and push bikes, and a few were trying to balance on a segway.