Media Coverage

The Hindu - Bangalore, 4 April, 2014     'Only an integrated development of cities with transport can infuse discipline in urban spaces'. People tend to travel more when economies do well and living standards improve. Whatever election rhetoric might have us believe, the last decade has seen phenomenal rise in travel demand across the country. There could be argument over this demand being limited to certain sections with disposable incomes, but the fact remains that not much thought has been given to put in place a transport policy that could take care of the needs of the entire populace.   Last year 15 million vehicles were sold in India. The amount spent on new vehicles was of the order of Rs. 3.50 lakh crore. The Government of India spent Rs. 75,000 crore on roads. Another Rs. 7-8 lakh crore were spent on fuels to run the vehicles. Cumulatively, the... Read More
Times of India - Bangalore, 13 March, 2014   Imagine a Sunday in Bangalore when main roads are off-limits for cars and open only to walkers, runners and cyclists. And artists and musicians stage plays and make sweet music. It's called Ciclovia and a reality every week and on public holidays in Bogota, Colombia, home to over 2 million people. Parents take their children out on such days and youngsters enjoy the vehicle-free streets. Gil Penalosa, Parks Director, Bogota, popularized it in 1997 and in many other countries including Australia, Belgium, New Zealand and Israel.   Gil was here on Wednesday to participate in a conclave organized by EMBARQ India. His initiative called '8-80 cities', dedicated to transforming cities into places where people from an 8-year-old child to an 80-year-old person can walk, bike, access public transit and visit vibrant public places. Gil told TOI we can't call ourselves a civilized society if people can't walk safely. Excerpts:  ... Read More
Bangalore Mirror - Bangalore, 15 March, 2014   Gil Penalosa, the creator of 'Ciclovia' concept, is shocked by the disrespect for pedestrians in a city like Bangalore. Gil Penalosa is a former parks commissioner of Bogota, Colombia. He is celebrated for his unique concept of Ciclovia, or 'Open Streets' on Sundays. It was a huge hit in Colombia and many countries have emulated the same. As he told Bangalore Mirror, "During Ciclovia, we close streets for cars and open it to the public for 10-12 hours, and they can do whatever they want. Bogota is almost the size of Bangalore and on every Sunday, about 7 million people occupy about 121 km of open street and just walk, skate, or cycle around. Having concepts like these would change the mindset of our leaders and bureaucrats."    Currently working as executive director of... Read More
My Big Red Bag - 19 March, 2014     In Alice Albinia’s Empires Of The Indus: The Story Of A River, the writer describes a journey by bus from the affluent coast of Karachi to a Christian slum on the city’s outskirts, an excursion that begins when it is not yet dusk and ends when the sky has turned into a speckled band of black and silver. Traversing the length of the city, over a shrunken river and then past a forlorn plain, the bus finally deposits her at the doorway of a dirt street – during which it seems “as if we have fallen off the edge of the world”. More recently, the Delhi Walla took a ride on the Outer Mudrika, a 105 km, 6 hour journey that makes 56 stops as it snakes around Delhi – from Uttam Nagar in the west, across the Yamuna and all the way to Anand Vihar in the east, and back – all for a princely sum of Rs.15.   We all... Read More
DNA - Mumbai, 9 April, 2014   It is a pity that there was such little attention in Mumbai to the presence, for a day, of one of the world's public transit and open spaces messiahs, Gil Penalosa, a Colombian who works with the 8-80 Cities initiative in Toronto. He is less well-known than his older brother, Enrique, who introduced the renowned TransMilenio Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS), in Bogota, Colombia after its birth in Curitiba, Brazil.   Penalosa is a tireless advocate of much greater emphasis on public transport — buses, cycles — and, by no means least, walking, in cities throughout the world. The 8-80 initiative has worked with as many as 150 cities in the last eight years and Bangalore and Mumbai were chosen for decision-makers and activists (separately!) to hear his views. It may appear that the traffic... Read More