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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Dec 2014

Gurgaon to get vehicle-free Sundays à la Colombia

Snehil Sinha , Hindustan Times  Gurgaon, July 28, 2013
First Published: 02:30 IST(28/7/2013) | Last Updated: 02:32 IST(28/7/2013)

Ever fantasised cycling, jogging or simply strolling along the fast city roads without worrying about meeting with an accident? That might soon be a reality as Gurgaon residents plan to have stretches of vehicle-free roads every Sunday.

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The non-motorised transport (NMT) cell, a group of residents in Gurgaon, is planning a weekly event — Cycle for Change. It is designed on the lines of "Cyclovia" held in Bogota, Colombia, where some stretches of the main roads are made completely vehicle-free every Sunday.

Residents come out in large numbers to use the streets for healthy recreational activities like cycling, running, skating, walking and street cricket. Stages are also set up where instructors teach activities like yoga and aerobics. The event is recognised as the most important recreational activity in the country, with the route extending up to 50 miles.

"We are planning a similar concept in Gurgaon where we have wide roads. It is a good platform for people to spend quality time together. Many school children have worked on researching the logistics of the event and come up with a good plan," said Manit Jain, director, The Heritage School, who is working actively on conceptualising Cycle for Change.

Jain pointed out that Cyclovia or Open Street events are now organised in various cities of the US, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil and Chile.

The enthusiasts have already started communicating with authorities to work out the permission details for the event and have proposed it to begin by the end of August. The plan is to block some roads of the city for traffic on every Sunday between 6am and 2pm and organise various events for the recreation of the people.

"If logistics can be worked out, traffic arranged and areas identified, the idea of a vehicle-free road is a very good one. In the Ambala cantonment area, the Army blocks vehicular traffic every evening and offers the road to pedestrians and cyclists," Gurgaon deputy commissioner Shekhar Vidyarthi said.


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