August 16, 2015
Following the overwhelming response to the ‘Happy Street’ event that was held last Sunday at RS Puram, the Coimbatore Corporation, along with some service and residents welfare organizations, has celebrated it again this Sunday (August 16) at DB Road and Thiruvenkatasamy Road (West). Enthusiastic young and old started to gather at the venues early in the morning.
Residents Awareness Associations of Coimbatore (RAAC) Secretary, R. Raveendran, who was spotted on his bicycle at RS Puram, told Covai Post that it was an innovative effort by Coimbatore Corporation which would pave the way for the people to use the street by playing games, skating, performing yoga, displaying martial arts, and what else not. Even some women were seen squatting on roadsides with children, telling them stories.
This time, residents assembled at RS Puram as early at 6 in the morning to take part in the ‘Happy street’ celebrations. College and school students were seen practicing hockey in the middle of the road at the main hub of RS Puram. Suresh Babu, a First Year student at GCT and a resident of DB Road, said that events like these inspire youngsters to make better use of the streets. He recalled playing in the streets as a lad, amidst vehicular traffic. But now it’s the other way round, with streets sans any vehicles. Many of the youngsters expressed happiness and wished that ‘Happy Streets’ be conducted in every street in Coimbatore in a phased manner.
Programmes were chalked out by organizers sponsoring the event. Lions Allaudin, a long-time resident of RS Puram, said that the novel concept would definitely give some relief to residents and the children to make good use of the road for three hours. Running, cycling, skating, and other recreational activities formed part of the event on Sunday. Children and elderly persons, who have been confining themselves at their homes, breathed fresh air. While the kids played, the elders strolled leisurely on the main road.
Car-free days were first introduced in India in Gurgaon on November 7, 2013. The concept was first launched in the world at Ciclovía, an event that began in Bogotá, Colombia in 1976. During the event, cars were banned on the streets and the roads were thrown open for the exclusive use of people for running, cycling, skating, or other recreational activities. Today, up to 2 million Bogotá residents from all walks of life still
enjoy over 70 miles of car-free streets every Sunday. This concept has now inspired several cities around the world to promote sustainable transport, and facilitate social integration while highlighting environmental issues.