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Should Car-Free-Day Inconvenience City Life?

5 Min Read

To the policeman at the intersection. Yes! I am frustrated! Yes! I am furious! But please understand that I am not angry at you. You patiently explained that despite it being a few minutes to time, you were given an order, directions, if you will, to block out the road. 

So, let me tell you that, like I said and as you truly saw the emotions on my face, I am angry! Furious even. But, towards what? To whom? First, at myself for having not gotten ready way ahead of time and not working within the margins of “just a few minutes”. But majorly at the system my friend, at the system that has made Car Free Day a day that is for “working out” outside rather than at the gym or even made it all about working out.

A few years ago, when Car Free Day was introduced in Kigali, I remember how it was actually almost a full day! Phewks we are down to just three hours. One can plan to either, get ready, be out of their house and even by the intersection way in time for the policemen opening at exactly ten. In essence, one can be at a place at ten past depending on where they are going. That’s about time. 

My question is, what happens when one has to go somewhere after 7am but before 10am. Kigali is built in such a way that all roads lead to the main road, and when the main road is closed, you can only stay and wait.

Keeping in mind that there are some homes whose gates are on the closed roads and people are literally locked inside their homes. Is there something I am missing about a protocol? And, why am I being locked in my house?

Can we address the encouragement for people to work out on Car Free Day? I mean, the motive behind encouraging people to get out of their homes and walk, jog, ride their bicycles is amazing. But, am I presuming that to most of us who actually work out every day or at least three times a week, Sunday is actually the “Rest” day? The day, that you either sleep in, have a late breakfast, indulge if you will, and/or plan an outing as early as seven in the morning, and the big one; go to church, is this just me and I need to get with the program? Pondering! 

So, basically, why am I bringing this up, isn’t working out good? I mean, this is part of my lifestyle, so why the frustration girl? Well, the thing is, it steeps from the idea that I want to get somewhere before they close the roads for the workouts! It steeps from the idea that the addition of roads around Kigali have made it such that most people are blocked in from their gates! They can’t even get out of their homes with their cars.

Rationally, all that is good! We have to listen to what the system has planned and is planning for us is good! But, I feel that the blocking of the roads in order to make sure people are working out, has distracted us majorly from what Car Free Day is and should be! It’s supposed to be a day that we DO NOT USE pollution-inducing vehicles.

It is a day to help us think and ponder about alternative ways of how we can move from point A to B without polluting the air. Understand what pollution is doing to us, and fight it at all costs! You know? The cost of planning and going to a place, finding alternative routes that people are not using to work out. As if fuel isn’t already expensive, now one has to drive 30 minutes to cover a 5-minute drive if they are lucky enough to have feeder roads in their neighbourhood.

Yeah, if roads are closed, then they are closed to fight pollution! Not to work out! With that, then I am not angry at the policeman, rather at how we have distracted ourselves from what Car Free Day is.