Namma Chennai Namakke
We, the citizens of Chennai, come together every weekend to erase cars from our streets and fill them with smiles.
This initiative aims to reroute traffic from certain roads in the city for a few hours every Sunday morning and transform them to safe and vibrant public spaces – where everyone can walk, jog and cycle safely, children can play and roam freely, elderly can sit and relax in public, teenagers can socialise with their friends, and families can spend time together – where a host of social activities can take place spontaneously and can also be planned.
Streets are one of the most valuable assets of our cities. They are not only a way to get from point A to B—but also public spaces where people meet and interact. Yet, presently, streets are designed primarily to move vehicles. This approach has led to increased congestion, growing air pollution, more road deaths and a lazy lifestyle where our children and we suffer from obesity.
By bringing the focus back to its people, this campaign aims to reclaim the streets from automobiles and transform them into vibrant public spaces, supporting a more active and healthy lifestyle.
A Global Movement: In India, a similar campaign was first organised in Ahmedabad in 2009, supported by ITDP. The movement, which is now spreading to Gurgaon, Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Ludhiana, Hyderabad, Bhopal and Ahmedabad, is inspired by ‘Ciclovia’, Bogota’s car free day which attracts over two million cyclists and pedestrians each week to 120 kilometers of main arteries closed to cars.
This campaign is initiated by the Institute of Transportation and Development Policy and Chennai City Connect Foundation.