In many cities around the world – car free days have become popular in the fight against pollution and global warming. Cochabamba is car-free four times a year. Yesterday, was one of them.
I have been living in Cochabamba almost two years now. Most of the time I have been living up north in the mountains. Every day, I have been looking down on the exhaust covering up the city centre. Without doubt, a car free day (Día del Peatón), do the city and the citizens well!
I love these days without cars. It is much easier to breath. Less noise pollution. You meet many people, as everyone is outside. Walking. On their bikes. Skateboards. Roller-skaters. Toy cars. Because there are many ways to get around without cars.
However, bikes are seldom used in Cochabamba, besides on this day. This due to risks in the traffic, and the city is not very bike-friendly. But this day, everyone is out on their bikes. Meaning that it is also a risk if you are walking, as many do not have so well control over their bikes. I was almost hit by bikes five times yesterday.
Cochabamba is located 2500 meters above sea level. The sun is therefore very strong. Free water for drink is therefore given out. As well is a little shower to cool down.
If you were thinking there were many dogs in the city from before, like I do. This day, there are dogs everywhere. Everyone bring their dogs out for a walk. Seriously, I have to stop every 20 meters because I see a cute dog, dressed up in clothes. Saying to my husband, while pointing at the dog: “Ale, look!”.
It is not allowed to drive cars from midnight to 6 PM, this four Sundays in the year. The police are controlling, and the fine for driving is BIG! After six o’clock, the cars start running again. And this are back to normal.
Cochabamba have arranged these days, for several years. In the beginning the locals were angry because they could not use cars this day. Then they found to love it! Now, many other cities in Bolivia are implanting the same, and will have car-free days.
I wish we could have these days at home too. No cars, just people using their own body to get around.
Have you ever attended a car-free day in another city in the world?