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Sunday, Sep 22, 2019

‘Fix craters, build tracks under Mumbai Metro to encourage cyclists’

The BMC is currently working on drafting a policy to promote the usage of non-motorised transportation. For this, the BMC has chalked out a proposal to facilitate renting of cycles and electric bikes for those travelling short distances.

mumbai Updated: Aug 26, 2019 09:11 IST
Mehul R Thakkar
Mehul R Thakkar
Hindustan Times, Navi Mumbai
Patni road has developed big potholes at Airoli in Navi Mumbai, July 22, 2019.
Patni road has developed big potholes at Airoli in Navi Mumbai, July 22, 2019. (Bachchan Kumar / HT Photo )
         

Making Mumbai roads pothole-free, building cycle tracks below Metro corridors, offering incentives to people travelling to work on cycles and celebrating a car-free day every month — these are few of the suggestions the Smart Commute Foundation (SCF) has submitted to the city’s civic body, which is currently working on a policy to make Mumbai the cycling capital of India by 2030.

SCF, which is helping the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) draft the policy, presented the suggestions to the civic chief in a meeting held last week.

HT had reported on August 22 that the BMC is currently working on drafting a policy to promote the usage of non-motorised transportation. For this, the BMC has chalked out a proposal to facilitate renting of cycles and electric bikes for those travelling short distances. Currently, cities such as Thane and Navi Mumbai offer cycles on rent and the BMC plans to seek assistance from the respective authorities.

In the meeting with the BMC, representatives of SCF suggested that roads in Aarey Colony and Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) must be repaired as they can be used for cycling; there should be a state-wide cycling policy; and the city must have a celebrity ambassador to promoting cycling. They also said cycle tracks should be built below Metro corridors, and government and private sector employees cycling daily to work should be given some incentives.

Apart from this, SCF suggested the cycling infrastructure in the city must be upgraded and more cycle tracks and cycles stands should be set up. Firoza Suresh, SCF founder, said, “We have submitted the quick-fixes to the BMC on promoting the usage of cycling. We need to build ridership and infrastructure simultaneously. We need to inculcate the habit, and hence we have also suggested measures like giving incentives for employees who cycle daily to work.”

Anita Gupta, who works with an insurance firm and cycles daily to work from Chembur to Lower Parel, said, “I’ve been cycling around 30km daily to and from work for the past two years. It all started because of health issues, but now there are more reasons for us to cycle, considering the environment and the switch to electric vehicles.”

Gupta added that better roads are required for the same in the city. “It is great that the BMC is working on renting cycles, but I would only like to demand better roads. I don’t demand dedicated lanes or anything, but definitely, cycling should be promoted,” she said. According to the city’s Development Plan, 51% of the city’s total transportation is either on foot or on cycles. According to SCF, the city should have a cycle ridership of one lakh by 2023. In a survey conducted by the MMRDA recently on 5,000 households, 47% said they prefer non-motorised forms of transport like walking or cycling.

First Published: Aug 26, 2019 00:02 IST