The ‘voluntary’ car-free day on Tuesday – the first to be held on working day - had to be made compulsory as many motorists did not seem willing to comply.
According to residents, volunteers spent the morning talking to drivers and urging them to leave their cars behind.
“The day began with considerably less traffic. There was no regulation on public transport, very little honking and the morning seemed almost peaceful when compared to other days,” said Mani Ram, 46, a resident of Laxmi Nagar.
“This is a good initiative and should happen more often. Although expecting no cars to ply on roads seems impractical, a reduced number will help boost use of public transport,” said Museer an auto rickshaw driver from the area.
The regulations on the traffic, however, only managed to reduce the number of cars on Vikas Marg during the early hours. As the day progressed and the road was reopened, an endless stream of traffic poured in.
Also, for various residents, car owners and those driving by, the event brought nothing more than unnecessary stress and increased jams.
“The section of the road from the red light at Ganesh Chowk to Madhuban Chowk had been blocked and cars were being diverted. There were huge traffic jams and chaos in the surrounding areas which only annoyed the residents, whatever the government’s intention may have been,” said Akbar Khan, 30, a local businessman.
The previous two car free days — on October 22 and November 22 — had coincided with holidays and the density of cars on the roads was minimal.
“We had to drive our children back from school and were made to take an unnecessarily long route. We were stuck in traffic for an hour, for a distance that can usually be covered in fifteen minutes. I don’t see what the government achieved by making things harder for us,” said Neelam Sondhi, a thirty five year old resident of Laxmi Nagar.
The police personnel on duty also kept receiving an endless stream of complaints. Many officers on duty during the initiative stated that one car-free section led to multiple traffic jams on other adjacent roads.
According to a constable, the number of people who participated in Tuesday’s event had gone down considerably.