Commercialised nature of the event is a moot point, some liked it, others didn't

Bengaluru loved MG Roads Open Street but can we make it less commercialized please
news Urban Culture Tuesday, February 23, 2016 - 19:55

Bengaluru’s MG Road resembled a fair as the city celebrated Open Street day – when dances, crafts, and shops replaced the noisy vehicles in the city’s business district. The day was a success and loved by those who attended it. However, it is precisely this atmosphere which some of the city’s residents want to do away with as plan their own open street day

On Sunday, a stretch of the MG Road was closed to vehicles from 9am to 9pm in a bid to promote public transport and urban tourism in the city. The event was jointly organized by Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT), the Tourism Department and the Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL).

 

WITNESS THE FIESTA AT MG ROADTraffic movement has been banned on MG Road starting from Anil Kumble junction to Cauvery Emporium junction from 9am to 9pm. Vehicles have been banned for Open Street program initiated by the Transport Department, in an effort to promote public transport and pollution control. The public has been requested to use the Metro train or public transport service to avoid congestion. Various activities have been organized to create awareness in the general public about the benefits of using public transport, cycling, walking which are sustainable modes of transport, and the positive effect it has on their lives and the overall health of the city. There will be pro skateboarders showing off their high flying moves, mime acts, stilt walkers, street magicians, and caricature artists engaging the audience on the open street. Programmes ranging from drum-jams to stand-up comedies have been organized. There will be a drum jam by Vasundhara Das, Piano Accordion, Hindustani vocal music by Ustad Hussain, story telling, threatre acts and stand-up comedy acts. There will be showcasing of a dance act by Sai School of Arts, along with other Karaoke, Hip-Hop acts. There will also be a break dance by Black Ice Crew. Street activities like archery and zip-lining will also be held. Surprise guests are also expected at the venue. There will be a variety of stalls selling curated handmade art and craft products designed by local crafts-persons, as well as other best-selling products that appeal to the shopper of today, like the famous Channapatna wooden toys. A flea market will also feature in this edition of Open Streets. There will be food trucks and hawkers serving delicacies from all over the country and cuisines of the world stationed across the venue. BMTC and BMRCL will extend their bus and metro services respectively on Sunday to encourage people to use public transport when commuting to the event. Special arrangements for free and secure parking for bicycles will also be made around the venue.

Posted by Liveday Karnataka on Sunday, February 21, 2016

 

The concept of having roads closed to traffic for a day to promote the use of public transport has been gaining popularity in the city. Open Street day comes on the back of “Happy Street Day”, which was held on nearby Commercial Street last month with similar fanfare.

Now the organizers have approached the Indiranagar Residents’ Welfare Association to organize a similar event in that area.

Sneha Nandihal of the Association, who participated in the Open Street event on MG road on Sunday, says the whole point of an open street was lost on account of the way the event was organized.

“Although the objective of such an event was to encourage better community participation, it ended up being very commercialized – there was a whole range of overpriced shops selling things,” Sneha said.

There was also an irony in the whole affair.

“Yesterday plastics were also widely being used at the event despite BBMP being one of the organizers. The BBMP had repeatedly urged for citizens to ban the use of plastic, so this is ironic,” she says.

She says that when the event is organized in Indiranagar, the association would do it differently.

“BMRCL has already approached us for an Open Street event and we’re already in talks with the CMH Road traders association with regard to the same. But when we organize it, we will make sure it is less commercialized and more community-based,” said Sneha.

She added that they would ensure that the event would to be eco-friendly: no plastic would be used and any garbage generated from the event would be disposed of in an appropriate manner. “It’s going to be more on the lines of the Open Street event held at HSR layout,” she added.

 

A group of residents of HSR layout had organized an Open Street Day last September, possibly Bengaluru’s first. 

Apart from the carnival and Zumba dancers, the event featured a play on waste segregation which is a major civic issue in the city. A petathon – a marathon for pets – was also held, with 40 pets seen walking together across HSR layout.

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