Friday, December 5, 2008

India gets first car-free city

Daytime ban on vehicles in city center expected to put pressure on other Indian cities to reduce pollution.

A small town in Punjab has become the first place in India to restrict vehicles from the city center during daytime hours.

Fazilka, near the India-Pakistan border, announced the 12-hour-a-day ban around its clock tower for motorized four-wheel and heavy-duty vehicles.

Officials wanted to make the area bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly while reducing pollution, estimating that nearly 80 percent of its air pollution is attributable to the transportation sector. The officials based their opinions on findings in a weeklong case study last year by the Graduates Welfare Association Fazilka.

"The aim to create car-free zone and also to promote NMV mode of transport within city to build bridges between the prosperous sections of society in the city and the less well-off," Fazilka Municipal Council President Anil Sethi told Asian News International.

Similar efforts in Beijing are estimated to have removed 800,000 vehicles from the road each day the rule is in effect (see Chinese cities set car bans)

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