In a first, Commercial Street to be fully off vehicles on Jan 3

In a first, Commercial Street to be fully off vehicles on Jan 3

For the first time ever, the bustling Commercial Street will be off vehicles on January 3 (Sunday). No vehicles will be allowed between 10 am and 10 pm as the Commercial Street Traders’ Association and the traffic police have decided to observe No Vehicle Day and make it a festive day.

The association has taken permission from the traffic police for the event, its secretary Ajay Motwani told Deccan Herald. “We met Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) M A Saleem and made the request. He welcomed it and said January 3 is fine with the traffic police. Now, we will begin to make arrangements for the event.”

Motwani said colourful events would be held that day. “We want people to have a feel of the street as a bazaar street. We will have cultural events like folk dance or play and events to attract children. There will be colourful handicrafts, too. There will be different kinds of food available. People should feel a different atmosphere.

We want to make a small change. The day should feel different from the normal days and make people desire such a day every month. Essentially, it should be a pedestrians’ day or pedestrianisation. Every day people are tired of vehicles moving up and down. Now, we want them to walk the entire street freely.”

On any given day, 70 car parks are available on Commercial Street. Motwani said cars could be parked in a building just next to Commercial Street which had space for 200 vehicles. Cars can also be parked at the Shivajinagar bus stand and at the RBANMS grounds. The association is working to get permission from both the bus station and the RBANMS authorities. The association members themselves would arrive at their shops by cab or car which will be driven back home. The shops have welcomed the initiative.

Motwani said: “This is the first time that a ‘No Vehicle Day’ will be organised in the central business district. People should get to know the difference between the two types of settings. There could be a lot of technical issues which we may not be aware of. That is why the role of the traffic police is crucial. They will be manning traffic on that day and hopefully everything will pass off in an orderly fashion.”

On whether this would be a practice every month, Motwani said the association had an open mind. “We have to see what ups and downs we encounter. The first time will be a learning occasion. Depending on how the first event goes off, we will decide on whether to have it every month. All options are open.”

On his part, Saleem said that the police didn’t anticipate any trouble on January 3 in terms of traffic congestion.

“We have had something similar to ‘No Vehicle Day’ in the past on Commercial Street. Parking facility is available at the Shivajinagar bus station. We will ask people to park their cars there. There is also parking facility at RBANMS grounds. So there is not much to worry. Our personnel will man the traffic and ensure everybody follows the norms on that day. We will take care of everything,” he said.

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