Maharashtra government plans cycling tracks in 10 cities
The state public works department will test the project, dubbed ‘streets with cycle tracks’ in Pune, Nagpur, Nashik, Amravati, Chandrapur, Kolhapur, Solapur, Latur, Aurangabad and Jalgaonmumbai Updated: Jul 31, 2017 01:19 IST
The state government has planned to implement cycling tracks along the arterial roads in 10 leading cities of the state. The government has decided to take up a pilot project in these cities and later extend it across the state based on the response.
The state public works department will test the project, dubbed ‘streets with cycle tracks’ in Pune, Nagpur, Nashik, Amravati, Chandrapur, Kolhapur, Solapur, Latur, Aurangabad and Jalgaon, on roads under the department’s jurisdiction.
The government has also formed a four-member committee under the chairmanship of the state’s additional director general of police, traffic, to steer the project.
The committee will identify arterial roads where cycle tracks can be set up depending on the availability of space and the scope for cycling. It will also have to design the routes for these tracks and plan any other requirements or alterations to the traffic flow on the roads hosting the cycle tracks, an official from the state public works department said.
He said, “Currently, there is a lack of any infrastructure for cyclists. A number of these cities have industrial areas where labourers come to work from a distance of nearly 7-8km. If we better equip our roads, even they can use bicycles to commute to their workplaces. It will not only reduce traffic, but will also considerably lessen environmental pollution.”
Some of the previous efforts at creating cycling tracks and promoting bicycles have failed miserably owing to lack of proper planning and maintenance. Most cycling tracks of the 123-km network in Pune that the civic body created under the erstwhile Congress-led government’s Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission are in a bad shape. Similarly, a 13-km cycling track, costing Rs6.5 crore, in Mumbai’s Bandra Kurla Complex had absolutely no takers and had to be dismantled within five years.
The state’s proposed urban transport policy, its first attempt at listing out goals for sustainable non-motorised transport, also lays emphasis on development of cycling as one of the main modes of commuting. It calls for planning and prioritising projects to make 80% of all trips in a city possible by walking, cycling or public transport.
The civic bodies of some of the cities that the state government has picked in its pilot project have also been planning cycling projects. The Nashik Municipal Corporation has made a provision in its development plan to build 120km of cycling tracks in the city, while the Nagpur civic body is mulling over a public bicycle sharing system. The Pune Municipal Corporation, too, is planning to build 300km of cycling tracks in the city.