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Pune Car Free Day 2008

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Event report Edit

September 22nd, the world car free day, was celebrated in Pune with a bicycle rally. The rally, organized by different civic groups such as Parisar, Janwani, Pune Cycle Pratishthan and Rotaract Club, emphasised the importance of non-motorized transport as an integral element of sustainable transport planning for the city.

Enthusiastic cyclists numbering about 200 cycled down four different routes – from Aundh, GPO, Karve statue and Shaniwarwada – chanting slogans in support of non-motorized transport and sensitizing citizens along the route, before converging on Sambhaji Park. The cyclists included citizens from all walks of life – students, activists, IT sector employees, Government servants, businessmen, housewives and senior citizens – indicating that the concern for sustainable mobility cuts across the social spectrum. The participants included the Municipal Commissioner, Mr. Pardeshi, and Mr. Dario Hidalgo and Mr. Madhav Pai, sustainable transport experts from Embarq who were visiting Pune in connection with Pune’s BRT. The Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic), Mr. Manoj Patil also showed his support for the event by joining the rallyists at Sambhaji Park at the end on a bicycle.

The rally ended with a demand by the citizens that the city should provide for better cycling facilities, better walking facilities and better public transport rather than spending money on infra-structure that will primarily benefit cars and two-wheelers such as flyovers and bigger roads.

The citizens’ groups hope that this successful rally is a significant step towards demanding more sustainable solutions to transport planning in the city. They also said the world car free day in 2009 would be celebrated on a bigger scale with a visible impact on the city’s traffic.

Video gallery Edit

Interview with Dario Hidalgo, transportation expert from Embarq/WRI (1:50)
Interview with Dinesh Girolla, PMC Engineer and member, NMT cell (0:38)
Cycling down the E-square flyover (0:58)
Crossing Bal Gandharva Chowk (0:48)
Interview with Mr. Baljit Singh, a rickshaw driver (Hindi) (0:27)

Picture gallery Edit

Event details Edit

Date: Monday, 22nd September 2008

Time: 7.30AM - 9.30AM

The rally will be held on Monday, 22nd September 2008. It will begin at 7.30AM from four different locations in the city, and all four groups of cyclists will converge at Sambhaji Park on J.M. Road. It is expected that the rally will be completed around 9.30a.m.

The rally routes are given below:

Starting point Route
Aundh: Pulse/Ozone, ITI Road Pulse/Ozone - Parihar Chowk - Bremen Chowk - University chowk - Agriculture College/Mhasoba Gate - F.C. Road - Ghole Road - Balgandharv Bridge - Sambhaji Park
Camp: Near GPO GPO - Moledina Road - Sassoon hospital - Maldhakka chowk - Juna Bazaar Chowk - Old Sangam Bridge - Sancheti Hospital - Modern Cafe chowk - Sambhaji Park
Kothrud: Karve Putala Karve Statue, Karve Road, SNDT main gate, via Canal Road, Bhandarkar Institute Road, Goodluck Chowk, J.M. Raod, Sambhaji Park
Old city: Shaniwar Wada Old City: Shaniwar wada, City Post chowk, behind Mahatma Phule Market (Mandai), Shivaji Road, Swargate, Tilak Road, Alka Chowk, Garware Chowk, Goodluck Chowk, J.M. Road, Sambhaji Park

And here is a map of Pune with the routes shown (you can zoom in/out using the +/- buttons to see the route in greater/lesser detail):

Loading map...

Frequently Asked Questions Edit

1. Why have the rally on Monday morning? Will this not impede traffic?

This rally stems from the need to reduce the dominance of cars, and in the Indian context, 2-wheelers on the roads. You will have noticed that cyclists and pedestrians have almost no space left on the roads. Not just vehicle operators, but even authorities increasingly look at cyclists and pedestrians as "impediments" to the flow of traffic. However sustainable transport policy is based on giving primacy to public transport and non-motorized transport, meaning cyclists and pedestrians. What this means is that there is not much point in having a cycle rally on a holiday or during non-peak traffic hours. The intent is for cyclists to say, "hey, I need my fair share of the road space too!".

Of course that having been said, we will finish by 8:30 am, so we are not completely stopping traffic, but we need not be apologetic about it.

2. Even if I ride a cycle today, I'm hardly likely to ride again, so what's the point?

You would want to cycle if Pune were like this!
Cycling Friendly Cities16:03

Cycling Friendly Cities

True! The rally will be pointless if it merely gets a few or even thousands of cyclists out on the road on just this one day. If we want more people to ride a bike on a regular basis then we must have a cycle-friendly city, one where I would want to bike, want to leave my vehicle at home. Pune just isn't like that right now, but we want it to be. The rally is a way to emphasise this and hopefully get more people demanding changes.


3. I don't have a cycle, how do I join? Is it possible for you to provide a cycle?

Unfortunately we cannot provide a cycle. See if you can rent one (and post here locations and contact of such cycle stores) or borrow one for the day. There is sure to be an unused cycle in disrepair somewhere that you could get fixed up before the rally. You still have time!

A Bicycle shop at Khadki (perhaps the biggest at Khadki) placed in the same complex of where the Guruprasad Gas Agency is (Indane LPG Gas Distribution Agency), lends Bicycle on rent at a very nominal price (may be Rs 3/- per hour).

4. Is it legal to have a cycle rally?

Yes. As long as one gets the permission of the Police. We have already sent such a letter to the Commissioner of Police.

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