Back on track? BMC may operate Mumbai’s first cycling route from April 15
The track was shut owing to a tussle between the traffic department and BMC over traffic permissions, advertisements and safety
Cyclists and fitness enthusiasts will now have a reason to cheer as the much-hyped Sunday cycle track at Marine Drive is likely to be reopened. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is likely to manage the 11-km track from next Sunday, after it found no takers for the environment-friendly initiative.
The track was shut owing to a tussle between the traffic department and BMC over traffic permissions. Intermittent shutdowns and cancellations because of others events have also dogged the track.
The route covers NCPA, Marine Drive, Babulnath, Pedder Road, Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan Road and the sea link. It is opened from 6am to 10am on Sundays.
A senior civic official, “The BMC will run the track now. A proposal will be tabled this next week. We received a good response for the track and shutting it down will jeopardise the initiative.”
He said if everything goes according to the plan, the track may be opened on April 15.
Cyclist Firoza Suresh’s firm Peddle Up was chosen to run the track for three months as a pilot project. The firm, however, has not approached the BMC for the renewal after the contract period got over in March.
Several objections raised by the traffic department over replacing the barricades and advertisement boards made the organisers rethink their association with the project. The official added, “There needs to be a way out to put up advertisement boards, otherwise, no organisers will be interested in the initiative.”
Another civic official said, “There were several delays owing to traffic department’s sudden notice to cancel the Sunday cycling because of an upcoming event. Also, there were issues with advertisements being put up along the track. This discouraged the organisers to continue running the track on Sundays.”
Experts said lack of coordination between the BMC and traffic department caused repeated shutdowns. Atul Prakash, cyclist from Nariman Point, said, “It is a very good initiative and the city should have more such tracks. It is very exciting to know that the track is being reopened.”
The project was the brainchild of Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray, which took off in December last year.
The BMC plans to start similar cycling tracks at other places too.