BRT remnants leave cyclists stranded
It’s been a month since Public Works Department (PWD) finished dismantling the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor. However, its remnants can still be seen scattered on the roadsides and the cycle tracks along the stretch is damaged at several locations.
In January, the government decided to dismantle the corridor after years of appeals to scrap the 5.8km road, from Moolchand to Ambedkar Nagar, as it was doing more harm than good to residents and commuters. The BRT corridor was built in 2008 at a cost of around `180 crores.
It was assured that the dismantling work would be completed in a month’s time but the concerned agency took more than four months to finish the task. The rubble is still lying on the cycle track and pavement poses a challenge to cyclists and pedestrians.
The Delhi government plans to reserve a lane on the left side of the road for buses. Once the plan is in place, cycle lanes would be shifted to the right side. The transport department and traffic police say this move will make a cyclist vulnerable to accidents. They have asked the government to first dedicate a cycling lane on the extreme left side of the road for cycle-riders. The debate over the issue among government agencies is significant as the cycle lane along BRT is in utter mess, and, is apparently being overlooked by PWD. HT South Delhi visited the stretch to assess damage to the cycle track.
GK Flyover and Chirag Delhi Crossing
The mounds of rubble on the cycle track and footpath parallel to this stretch trouble cyclist, pedestrians and residents of colonies in the vicinity of the road. As one crosses Defence Colony flyover, can see parts of the dismantled bus shelter on the road and cycling track. Even the vacant space under Greater Kailash-I flyover is covered with debris including metal waste of BRT. Portions of the track outside Siri Fort Model Park and Greater Kailash-I are either damaged or blocked because of the rubble.
“There is no space to cycle. Near Chirag Delhi traffic signal, motorists use the pavement and cycle track as a short cut to turn left towards Savitri flyover. Cyclists don’t have any option but to use the main road. Officials should have considered cycle and pedestrian movement before starting with the dismantling,” said Suraj Pal, a cyclist and Dakshinpuri Extension resident who commutes on this stretch daily.
Madangir, Ambedkar Nagar, Sheikh Sarai
Outside Madangir and Ambedkar Nagar, the dedicated cycle lane is being used as a parking lot. “At some places the track is dug up. The department should have removed the debris before monsoon because the soil will wash down the drain and clog the sewage system,” said Aditya Mukherjee, a CR Park resident.
Outside Sheikh Sarai-II DDA Flats, except for a portion of track which has been levelled now, the remaining patch is damaged. Debris and household waste can be seen dumped on the roadside. Even the kerbstones that were placed near the footpaths are dislodged. They are scattered on the road and may lead to an accident.
Meanwhile, Anuj Gupta, a resident of Ambedkar Nagar, expressed his pleasure over the dismantling of BRT. “Now we don’t need to face the heavy traffic between Moolchand and Ambedkar Nagar junctions. Earlier I used to get stuck in long jams,” he said.
A PWD official said, “We didn’t remove rubble because we needed the construction waste for levelling the service lanes on both sides of the road. However, we are not responsible for most of the debris. People, taking advantage of the dismantling drive, have dumped their construction waste at these cycling tracks. We have filed an FIR but no action has been taken. For the development work on this stretch, we have hired a consultant to design the plan. We plan to build five subways and bus shelters here.
Sarvagaya Kumar Srivastava, engineer in chief, PWD, said, “The dismantling is complete and patch work has been done at majority of places while rest of the work will be done after monsoon. As far as removing of debris from cycling tracks is concerned I need to verify the situation with my staff.”