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Melaka car-free weekends saved 12,000 kg of CO2 emissions per km, helped preserve historic buildings

Last August, the Melaka state government began trials of a car-free weekend in the historic quarter of Bandar Hilir, which houses the Stadthuys and A Famosa. Initially held only on Saturday evenings, the initiative was extended to the full three days (still only in the evening), from Friday to Sunday, starting in December. We’re now getting a glimpse of how much the move has helped clean the city air, as reported by The Star.

State housing and local government, climate change and disaster management committee chairman Datuk Rais Yatim told Melaka’s legislative assembly today that the car-free weekends have cut carbon dioxide emissions by 12,000 kg per kilometre since its implementation, according to a study comissioned by the Melaka Historic City Council (MBMB). “Apart from reducing emissions, the initiative also helped preserve heritage buildings in the Unesco core zone,” he said.

Rais added that the traffic in the area, which reaches 20,000 vehicles during peak hours, had impacted the structural integrity of heritage buildings like the Stadthuys, leading to cracks on some of them – so there’s a preservation aspect to it, too. The initiative earned the city council the ASEAN Clean Tourist City Standard Award (2024-2026), presented in Vientiane, Laos in January.

Melaka car-free weekends saved 12,000 kg of CO2 emissions per km, helped preserve historic buildings

The car-free weekends also contributed to safety and comfort of the tourists that throng the city, said Rais, adding that the MBMB managed to resolve five issues raised by the public. These include traders complaining about a drop in business as a result in the change in traffic flow, as well as lack of parking and the difficulty for churchgoers to attend Mass at the St Francis Xavier Church.

The closures, which take place from 6pm to 12am every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, involve Jalan Istana, Jalan Mahkamah, Jalan Gereja, Lorong Gereja, Jalan Laksamana and parts of Jalan Tun Khalil Yaakob and Jalan Merdeka.

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