Thursday, September 22, 2011

World Carfree Day : Are We Ready For It?

First off....World Carfree Day is not to be mistaken for World Carefree Day (none yet) or World free Car Day (none yet either...).

A little bit from its website:

"Every September 22, people from around the world get together in the streets, intersections, and neighbourhood blocks to remind the world that we don't have to accept our car-dominated society.

But we do not want just one day of celebration and then a return to "normal" life. When people get out of their cars, they should stay out of their cars. It is up to us, it is up to our cities, and our governments to help create permanent change to benefit pedestrians, cyclists, and other people who do not drive cars.

Let World Carfree Day be a showcase for just how our cities might look like, feel like, and sound like without cars…365 days a year."

So today, we're supposed to do that. You know, get by with our lives, our routine sans those smoke-spewing vehicles we call automobiles.

We can either stay at home (lucky you if you could!), cycle or take public transport. However, in order to do that on this day, we need some months of planning to actually make it work for ourselves and everyone else.
In fact, we're supposed to also organize activities in our neighbourhoods.

Are neighbourhood residents' associations aware of this Day?

I bet they are not.

Are our transport and traffic systems ready for this? Well, not where I'm staying and working. No.

The reality is, this Day ain't working.

In fact today, especially today, the roads were congested. Could the heavy rain in the morning be the cause?

It seems Malaysians in this part of the country are just not bothered. They need their cars. They do. And I don't blame them.

Take me: cycling to work or to the nearest LRT station is out of the question. Apart from the distance, I'd get killed on the very busy LDP, celebrating World Carfree Day. No thank you.
(I have two kids who need me, you know).

Without the bicycle, I'd have to depend on RapidKL to get to the LRT station or to get a connecting bus to Bangsar.

I'd need walk to the bus stop which is a five-minute walk (near the school) or a 15 minute-walk (at another location) just after Subuh because the entire journey takes two hours, what with the rain and traffic.

(Note: In my neighbourhood, we have security guards manning entrances at certain roads. Despite this, there have been reported burglary and robbery cases committed early in the morning.)

So. How?

In other countries, people have been celebrating it on a wide scale. They started small - in neighbourhoods or sections of the towns or cities - and grew from there as people realize the benefit of going about their lives without automobiles.

It's all towards having a greener world.

So we - the people, the government, everyone-lah -- should do our groundwork if we want to take it seriously and celebrate it.

Certainly, we will all benefit from this.

I'm all for the cause. But with present circumstances, it just ain't happening.

I'm not alone, mind you.

Read THIS in the Malay Mail.

What about you? Are you ready?


Dr. Bentara said...

not ready!

el-Barokas said...

I'm seventy and ready for free day-care.

Seriously, if we can't possibly join the rest of the world who can, we can at least substitute it with a Sunday (Friday for some states).