This City Bans Cars Every Sunday and Everyone Loves It

Every Sunday, the streets of Bogotá, Colombia, are emptied of almost 2 million vehicles and motorbikes to make room for cyclists, roller skaters, scooter riders, and skateboarders.

On Sundays in Bogotá, Colombians may relax and unwind without dealing with the stress of traffic, blaring horns, or exhaust fumes.

Since 1997, at 7 a.m., the city council has barred all cars and trucks from the municipal borders. To 2 p.m. as the years passed, it became a day for festivities and rest.

The 1.5 million Bogotanos who take time out of their week to enjoy the festivities each Saturday night consider the event, which began as an ecological experiment, to be a precious gift.

Ciclovia, which means “Bicycle Way,” is a global phenomenon that has already taken hold in cities throughout Europe, China, and New Zealand.

There’s more to Ciclovia than simply bicycles. The idea is to take things slowly and bond with your neighbors. In addition to biking and rollerblading, other activities such as walking, jogging, dancing, Zumba, and even tai chi are available.

Another option is to get some of the world’s greatest street food and kick back. Onlookers observe. Pay attention to a salsa band performing in a concert.

One of the things Sarmiento appreciates about the program is how it brings people together and eases tension in Colombia, a nation ripped apart by war and deeply divided along class lines.

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