“Instead of honking, we are enjoying laughter”

hsr-cycleHSR LAYOUT, Bengaluru: These words of Mr Ramakanth eloquently describe the mood of the residents of HSR Layout which observed Bengaluru’s first ever initiative of no-vehicles day or the Open Street Day concept last Sunday.

The mood in one of the city’s most sought after localities, which rallied around in support of Open Street Day to reduce pollution and promote public transport, was clearly festive. Children, of course, made the most of it.

They played cricket matches in the middle of the road and cycled without fear of being knocked down by a speeding two, three or four wheeler as they were all off the roads. The streets became an open playground for the children. Skateboarding and street games were some of the most common activities that children indulged in throughout the day.

“It feels good to cycle on the streets without any traffic problem. It is a good initiative and should be organised once a month”, said Faraaz, 17, who was cycling with his 12-year-old brother Askan.

Ramakanth was all praise for the concept. “We don’t have to go out to enjoy our Sunday. There are so many activities planned out for the children,’’ he said.

Street plays, storytelling, pottery, painting, street graffiti, enumeration of trees, sapling distribution were among many other activities organised by different local citizen initiatives to encourage the residents to adapt to the new concept.

The street play which was organised by Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) was to encourage the citizens to travel by public transport and reduce the use of private vehicles.

“Traffic problems can be solved if there are less private vehicles on the roads. This will curb accidents, road rage and other traffic related problems. This is a way to enlighten the residents to such problems”, said a BMTC official who did not want to be identified.

Storytelling sessions by the Bangalore Storytelling Society saw a huge participation by the children. The stories were centred around how to keep the city clean, know your city and they all received a huge applause.

Reasoned the storyteller and resident, Priya Muthukumar: “It is easy to share moral facts with the children through stories which are exciting and where the child can participate. In such sessions children imagine the story and can relate to their surroundings. ”

– Laxmi Pavani Kodati

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