It’s going to be a biking, walking and gaming Sunday morning again on the usually congested roads of Powai when it morphs into a picture of calm as Equal Streets supported by The Times of India helps Mumbaikars reclaim 1.1 km stretch of this suburban neighbourhood.
A campaign that started in 2014 replaces cars on the road with activities like yoga, jogging, dance, roller skating, aerobics, cycling, badminton and football every Sunday morning, result of a group of fellow urban activists, architects, and designers taking measures into their own hands to improve non-motorised transport, road safety, public transport, urban green cover, accessibility and mobility in the city.
After playing out on the Bandra-Santacruz stretch for several weekends, Equal Streets moved to Central Avenue Road in Hiranandani Gardens in May. “The turnout at Powai and engagement of families reconfirms our commitment to altering plans and improving quality of life in our neighbourhood and reinforces our objective of making Equal Streets an instrument of socio-environmental change,” said PK Das, chairperson of Equal Streets.
This Sunday will see a spread of activities as diverse as origami, yoga, carom, chess, football, cycling and wave-boarding to tug-of-war, karaoke, laughter club and chalk art challenges, the focus being social interactions. “We’ve divided the stretch into three sections – a quiet zone for fitness and meditation on one end and outdoor games on another but the centre of the pocket will be longer and host family games and activities like singing, plays, tug of war. The idea is to alter the perception of people standing on the sides and watching. Instead we want to encourage the neighbourhood to come together and engage freely,” explained Gurukrishnan, coordinator for Equal Streets activities in Powai.
“We’re now trying to develop collaboration with local communities to carry out and prepare a plan for long-term changes of the roads in Powai, make them more pedestrian and cycle friendly, cut down on cars and humanise the streets. The idea of holding it in Powai is to develop a participatory framework that would enhance neighbourhood sense. Every Sunday we’re trying to build up our alliances to get to that stage,” explained Das