Saturday, March 5, 2016

MG Road Open Streets

While everyone was busy drooling over the Bangalore weather or cribbing about the bad roads and garbage in our city, most people missed the amazing Open Streets that happened on MG Road last month. Yes, the ever busy MG Road was closed for traffic and opened up to people to do whatever they enjoyed the most. However the closure was only between Brigade road and Kumble circle and between 9am to 9pm.

I was able to go there only in the evening but from various social media posts I learned that kids were allowed to draw on the roads, roller skate and also cycle. I work on MG Road so I know how bad the parking is there so I parked my bike in Indiranagar and decide to take the metro. To my surprise there was a huge rush, the kind we could expect when metro becomes fully operational. The ministry of culture organized art exhibition, folk music and art forms throughout the day. 
On one side of the MG Road, there were various stalls setup for selling clothes and garments. Brands such as coffee day and chai point were on the streets selling beverages. There were food trucks parked serving amazing food throughout the day. Local delights such as Bisibelebath were made available. 
In the middle of the road, there were tables and chairs kept for people to sit and eat or rest. Oh also there were people offering "free hugs".

On other side of the roads, there were small stages created, which served as platforms for bands or artists to perform. Each of these stages were named after satellite bus stations and metro stations. In the few hours that I was there I heard folk music, rock, medley and also saw street dance that we usually only get to see in hollywood movies. 
The metro boulevard was converted into a art gallery. There were various paintings and photographs on display and on sale. 
The entire MG Road was decorated with lights and it looked amazing. There was too much crowd and you couldn't stay at a place without being pushed away. There were too many people with their fancy cameras trying to capture something candid. 
The organizers were all over the place asking to fill feedback forms to help them organize it better the next time. There were also white boards kept for people to write whatever they want. 

Bangalore now has something different to offer and these are not extensively covered by the main stream media. Watch out for such events announced on the social media and make sure to be a part of it. Let us make Bangalore a better place to live :)

A few things that needs improvement for next time:
1) A lot of friends who went there during day time complained of the heat and how there was no shade anywhere. 
2) The organizers underestimated the crowd numbers and there was no adequate parking. 
3) Metro was overcrowded and the schedule was not altered to handle it. 
4) The art exhibition was a narrow area and it should have been made one way. People were stuck in that area like the way traffic stops at silkboard.

Pranav for accompanying me and motivating me to attend this after a tiring trek that day.
In my next post I will write about Nammoora Habba that happened last month. Look out for more such events coming up in Bangalore. During the entire March of 2016, there is a food truck street fiesta happening near the Swami Vivekananda Metro station. Do check it out :) 

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