Sunday, January 30, 2011

The streets are for us, one way or another

To whom are the streets built for?
For us of course.

Who should then decide how do we use them?
Daaaaa, us.

Well tell me then why couldn't we make a good, car free day happen also in Helsinki, Finland? As I said, it is possible and doesn't require any super initiatives. No, it is not easy but if it would be - anyone could do it.

I hope you checked out the blog comments from last Saturday 22nd Jan. A gentleman who - according to Google search - seems to be THE man for the car free and sustainable environment stuff, gave few links to the topic and checking them out I became even more convinced that we should take this seriously over here too.

No, we don't need to do it all at once but let's stop fooling around with the wanna-be-car-free-days like we have had so far in Helsinki and let's make it real! It is fun to be stuck in a traffic lights like below.
During our Brussels years we were on our bikes every year and cycled around the city. I can tell you it was truly fun going down town and cycle in places where normally we need to be aware of cars all over. During the first years our youngest one was 6 years but still 30 km cycling was a piece of cake for him too.

It's a bit like eating an elephant: you eat it in pieces. Or a version I heard - claimed to be a Brazilian one: You eat a gorilla in monkies.
...This one beats me, it must be hell of a lot better in original language. If someone knows how this should go, please inform us!

Here are few pics from the last car free day in BRU we (for now) have had the pleasure to enjoy.

This is Brussels Bourse down town, few blocks from the Grand Place. Veeeery busy road normally.
Across the road from Bourse, you can get non-Belge Churros. Muy bueno!
 As you can see, it is not only bicycles that conquer the streets: Horses in front of the Royal Palace.
 The trams and buses were operating free of charge. At the back is the art nouveaux building of Musical Instrument Museum of Brussels, worth a visit. My kids and wife did, I didn't and regret it. In minimum one should go for the view on top, cafe should be good and as we are in Belgium it means a good selection of beers for a break :o)
 If you wondered the cover of the building on the left, here it is from the front. Apparently Magritte Museum - please don't ask what it is but I think the kids said it is worth a visit. They are asleep now so can't check it...
 This one is another cover down the road at Sablon. Why should you cover a church tower with boring pic if people can enjoy a nicer view while renovation is on. By the way, if you wonder who in Finland could do these - big or small, easy or difficult, I know the man for the job.
 One neads a break once in a while, and what could be better than sitting down on a sunny terrace with a view and few beautiful Nordic looking ladies nearby...?
 And on the other hand, it is also good to have a French red and Belge blond at hand.. However, the Belge blond doesn't beat a Nordic one.
 The police is also fully in, or can you challenge the attitude of this guy putting on his roller skates?
Guys, I would have really, and I mean REALLY wanted to see the drivers of this tandem. It requires some personality and appearance to drive this beast!  
 Anyways, I wish to see busy roads in pedestrian and bicycle - or horse - usage in Helsinki. We have the Helsinki City Marathon on August 20th, why not make that a day of Run-Walk-Cycle / Juokse-Kävele-Pyöräile???

Please don't start thinking why not, but rather "how can we make it happen"!

Let's finish with a pic taken from the same spot where we one of the days said hi to the King and Queen of Belgium.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I guess I really need to start lobbying a REAL car free day for Helsinki.
From top of my head I came up with 5 names = people I personally know in Finnish Parliament, City authorities and surrounding city politics so I need to step on it. In addition there are multiple people who should be interested. Not least our Foreign Minister who used to live in Brussels for years and was a member of the Flying Finns, Brussels Track & Field Club. 

Be aware or rather spread the word!

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