Everyday, people in Indian cities are being squeezed out of spaces meant for walking or cycling by the sheer pressure of cars; whose numbers are growing exponentially each year. Footpaths have either been eradicated or completely encroached upon by other uses.
In order to provide better and safer walking and cycling infrastructure, EMBARQ India has partnered with NGOs, cycling groups and residential welfare associations in a number of cities to introduce the ‘open streets’ concept. Every Sunday morning, a part of the road is closed off for cars and residents are given access to these open spaces. Activities like yoga, zumba and street dancing are conducted and people of all age groups are welcome to participate and interact with the community.
The purpose of this movement is to address the mobility and safety concerns for pedestrians and cyclists, by seeking the provision of continuous and well-maintained footpaths and non-motorized transport-specific infrastructure. Through this movement, EMBARQ India seeks to make our roads more inclusive, for the benefit and safety of all road users across cities and to correct the fundamental imbalance in India’s urban planning priorities.
Cycle Day was the first of its kind to be launched in Bangalore in October 2013. What started off, as a couple of Sundays every month has now become a weekly event conducted in different parts of Bangalore. Raahgiri Day was first launched in Gurgaon in November 2013 and subsequently in New Delhi, Bhopal, Navi Mumbai, Dwarka and Indore. Mumbai launched Equal Streets in November 2014 closing a stretch of 6.5 kilometers to vehicular traffic, witnessing a turnout of almost 50,000 people in the first two months. Happy Streets was launched in Ahmedabad in November 2014.
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