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Mumbai’s car-free experiment spawns a movement

Car-free Sundays inspire people in Mubmai to take to the streets. (Mumbai Car Free Day)

Two years ago, a scenic, ocean-side road in Mumbai was temporarily shuttered to vehicular traffic on an experimental basis. Today, car-free Sundays in Mumbai are a movement that aims to take back more streets for the masses, writes Carlin Carr, Mumbai Community Manager for Urb. im.

On Sunday mornings, a stretch of road that’s normally congested, polluted and noisy offers a serene escape. Families take leisurely strolls, children ride bikes and residents catch up on exercise. The successful experiment has spurred transportation advocates to champion other ideas, such as bike-share programs and cycling to work, the article says.

Mumbai’s limited Sunday ban contrasts with the reality of roads that can be lethal for cyclists and pedestrians. Some lack sidewalks. Where they do exist, obstacles such as vendors and parked cars abound. Gurgaon, a satellite city near Delhi, launched India’s first car-free initiative in 2013.

The concept has its roots in Bogotá, where legendary mayor Enrique Peñalosa introduced the Ciclovia — a weekly shutdown of major streets to vehicles. (Peñalosa is a member of Citiscope’s board of directors.)


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