Gurugram: New cycle tracks between HUDA City Centre and Bakhtawar Chowk from October 2
Gurugram: The Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) has decided to ramp up cycling infrastructure in the city. To start with, new cycle tracks between HUDA City Centre (HCC) and Bakhtawar Chowk, along Netaji Subhash Marg, will be opened for use on October 2, said GMDA officials on Monday.
The officials said that they plan to establish around 650 kilometres of dedicated cycle lanes across the city as part of the authority’s strategy to promote non-motorised transport.
VS Kundu, chief executive officer (CEO) of GMDA, said that the city roads are currently built not keeping the right of way (ROW) of cyclists and pedestrians in mind, and hence, with basic engineering changes, steps needed to be undertaken to ensure they are given an adequate share of the road space.
“We are starting with the setting up cycle tracks along both sides of Netaji Subhash Marg as a pilot project. We will be examining its day-to-day progress carefully to understand both the positives and negatives of the project, and accordingly undertake corrective measures before setting up cycle tracks in other parts of the city,” said Kundu.
The public body is aiming at setting up cycle tracks at 17 junctions across the city in the coming months.
“HCC is both the terminating and starting point of Delhi Metro’s Yellow Line and hence, has one of the highest concentration of people anywhere in the city. Initially, the cycle track project would all originate from HCC towards other major road networks such as MG Road, Signature Towers, and Golf Course Road. Subsequently, we will cover other parts of the city,” said Kundu.
As per Kundu, it was easy to select Netaji Subhash Marg for the pilot project, as service lanes already existed on both sides of the five-kilometre stretch. “The stretch already has service lanes on either carriageway that are separated by medians. In patches, the service lanes are not there primarily due to illegal encroachments, which have been removed by the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG). To protect cyclists from fast-moving traffic, concrete bollards will be placed at these patches,” said Kundu.
The officials said work on the Netaji Subhash Marg project is further divided into two phases. “In the first phase, cycle tracks are being set up, while in the second phase, the three junctions along the stretch would be re-engineered to become both pedestrian- and cycle-friendly,” said an official privy to the matter.
Kundu said that with the construction of an underpass and flyover at HCC, the cycle tracks would initially be covered 200-300 metres short of the junction, and would be later extended once both the projects are completed. He further said that GMDA and MCG, in consultation with Raahgiri Foundation, are working together on setting up cycle lanes across the city.
All master roads and stretches which carry traffic from one city to the other, such as Mehrauli-Gurgaon (MG) Road, Gurgaon-Faridabad Road, Golf Course Road, and Golf Course Extension Road fall under GMDA’s jurisdiction. Arterial roads are stretches that carry traffic between one or two sectors/villages and they fall within the MCG’s jurisdiction.
MCG on Sunday had asked Gurugram residents on its official Twitter handle to share over social media the challenges and concerns they face while cycling in the city, so that the civic body can undertake steps to improve the existing infrastructure.
“We have asked residents for their feedback on the problems they face while cycling in the city so that we can use their inputs, and accordingly execute changes on ground and improve cycle mobility across the city. We are working on multiple aspects to enhance cycling infrastructure,” said Vinay Pratap Singh, commissioner, MCG.
There have been two attempts at creating cycle tracks across the city in the past. In October 2017, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) had built cycle tracks on service lanes around Signature Towers, Rajiv Chowk, and Iffco Chowk, inexplicably, without any fencing or barricading. The entire cycle lanes are left completely in the open. Only a white line, along with a few cycle symbols, had been painted on the road to demarcate the space meant for cyclists on the carriageway.
As part of its Raahgiri initiative, MCG had also built cycle tracks along Bhagwan Mahaveer Marg and Saint Thomas Marg in February 2016. Along both the stretches, MCG had placed concrete bollards to protect cyclists from fast-moving traffic. However, within a month, the bollards had been broken or removed at several points altogether and made way for illegal auto-rickshaw stands and small shanties.
“The biggest deterrent to cycling is unsafe infrastructure. The under-construction segregated cycle track is a step in the right direction. A network of cycle tracks, along with bicycle parking facilities, can usher in a revolution of sorts on promoting cycling not only in Gurugram but also the rest of the state,” said Sarika Panda Bhatt, co-founder of Raahgiri Foundation.
Meanwhile, cyclist enthusiasts have welcomed the GMDA’s move. “My father was in the Army. I used to cycle every day within the army cantonment area. It was my favourite workout. However, when I moved to Gurugram, I tried cycling a few times and found it to be extremely unsafe. If there are dedicated cycle tracks, then I can resume my favourite activity once again,” said Sandeep Kumar, a cyclist enthusiast who resides in Sector 49.