A Year On, Raahgiri Day in Gurgaon Results in Improved Cycling Infrastructure
Last week, the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) initiated its much-discussed plan of installing cycle tracks in the city of Gurgaon. In this first phase, the tracks will run from Huda City Centre to Golf Course Extension Road, covering an area of 8 km. This is a welcome development for people in the city who have been lobbying for safer streets and better infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians. Raahgiri Day, a weekly open-streets initiative, has played a significant role by highlighting the need for cycling tracks as well as generating the demand for roads that are designed keeping in mind the safety of non-motorised transport modes. “Over the last year, the success of Raahgiri has shown us that if people are provided with safe, high-quality infrastructure, they will cycle” says [Amit Bhatt](/abhatt), Strategy Head – Urban Transport, EMBARQ India, who has been instrumental in the Raahgiri movement, not only in Gurgaon, but in New Delhi and other cities as well. Recognizing that the citizens of Gurgaon have influenced this progress, the organisers of Raahgiri have decided to host a cycle track painting event so that the community can be involved in creating the tracks for the city. “We will do it on a Sunday so that people taking part in Raahgiri can witness the event and be a part of it. We hope that the residents will help us in painting the first cycle tracks in Gurgaon” says Sarika Panda Bhatt, EMBARQ India. EMBARQ India launched Raahgiri Day in Gurgaon on 17 November 2013 as India’s first sustained car-free day, in partnership with IamGurgaon, Pedal Yatri, Heritage School and Duplays in association with Gurgaon Police and supported by The Times of India. Every Sunday, from 7:00 am to 11:00 am, 4.5 kilometres of major streets are closed to vehicular traffic and opened up for recreational and community activities. Since then, other cities like New Delhi, Ludhiana, Navi Mumbai, and Bhopal have taken this concept and implemented it in their cities with great success. The event has created significant buzz in the media and amongst the general public. Raahgiri Day has demonstrated that given safe infrastructure, urban residents are willing to walk and cycle, and that roads are not for cars, but for people. It is hoped that the impact of Raahgiri would translate into reforms in urban infrastructure as well as changes in behaviour, and make Indian roads safer for all people.