Dhaka is renowned for its heavy traffic all around the world. It is impossible to imagine a day without any vehicle plying the city roads. But something of this sort has been made possible by Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority (DTCA) in association with Surf Excel Bangladesh.
On the first Friday of every month, a part of Manik Mia Avenue is blocked by the Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority (DTCA) to create space for people of all ages (children to be particular) to run, play and carry out a range of other fun activities. The initiative known as ‘Car Free Street Dhaka’ began in November 2018 with the help of 51 government and private organizations and in association with Surf Excel Bangladesh. The main aim of the organizers is to create more open, recreational spaces in Dhaka, and ease traffic congestion, environmental pollution and fuel expenditure.
On that particular day, no traffic is allowed between 8:00am and 11:00am on the north side of the avenue. During the programme different cultural activities take place as well on the avenue including painting, cycling, yoga and meditation.
Banker Aminul Islam was one of those fortunate people who came to enjoy with his family (wife & two children). He shared, “It’s really a nice initiative. My kids are looking so happy after visiting this place.” Johurul Islam, a retired service holder, also voiced the same kinds of feelings. He said, “I have heard about this initiative from my friend. Really, it’s a great initiative. Next time I will visit this place with my grandchildren.”
There is no denying that this initiative has drawn huge response from all corners. That’s why the organizers are extending the program. The same kind of initiative, of late, has been taken for another street in the capital (Uttara’s Sonargaon Janapath Road). A part of Sonargaon Janapath Road will be made car-free on Fridays (from 8am to 11am). Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) Mayor Atiqul Islam made such declaration in the presence of cross-sections of people. People living in this region have appreciated such an initiative and are eagerly waiting to participate in such an event where they will get the opportunity to let their children have fun.
(The writer is a PR professional, currently working in an international development organization.)