10 cities to have dedicated bicycle tracks

Panduranga Mhaske
Tuesday, 1 August 2017

For implementation of this project, the government has appointed a committee to study the city roads and mark them for bicycle tracks.
After deciding on the roads and main lanes, sub-lanes of the city and peripheral areas, the committee will finalise the components required for the cycle track. The committee will decide on traffic diversion on these selected roads and suggest guidelines to control  cycling on these tracks. 

Mumbai: It looks like Pune will finally have bicycle tracks that cyclists can actually use and the city will get the status of ‘City of Cycles’ again. The State government has decided to start a project, ‘Street With Cycle Tracks’ in 10 cities including Pune. 

Once upon a time, Pune had the well-deserved sobriquet of ‘the City of Cycles’. Gradually, as cycles gave way to two-wheelers and cars, the city lost its status. Today, Pune ranks among cities with the highest density of vehicles, more than Mumbai and Delhi.

But, now the government’s project ‘Street With Cycle Tracks’ will be implemented in Pune, Amravati, Nagpur, Chandrapur, Kolhapur, Solapur, Nashik, Latur, Aurangabad and Jalgaon on pilot basis. Under this project, the cities will get dedicated tracks for bicycles on main roads.  

For implementation of this project, the government has appointed a committee to study the city roads and mark them for bicycle tracks.
After deciding on the roads and main lanes, sub-lanes of the city and peripheral areas, the committee will finalise the components required for the cycle track. The committee will decide on traffic diversion on these selected roads and suggest guidelines to control  cycling on these tracks. 

After reviewing the success of the project it will be implemented across 
the State. Availability of a dedicated cycle track along the main roads and highways will promote cycling. It will decongest traffic and minimise pollution.

Track record of cycle tracks in Pune
- In 2006 when the Pune BRTS was launched, under the JNNURM guidelines, it was compulsory to build dedicated cycle tracks along bus corridors. Though cycle tracks were built, nobody wanted to use them. 
- In 2008, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) signed an MoU with Dutch NGO-Interface known for cycling expertise, to improve cycling infrastructure in the city. But this initiative failed.
- In 2009, then Municipal Commissioner Pravin Pardeshi, to promote cycling, urged civic officials, corporators and the public to use bicycles. He initiated a ‘No-Vehicle Day’ at the PMC headquarters every Tuesday. As soon as his tenure ended, the practice stopped.
- In 2010, the PMC proposed a public bicycle scheme. According to the scheme, an agency was to make available 300 cycles at 25 stations. The project was on DBOOT (Design, Build, Own, Operate and Transfer) model. No agency responded to the projects and the PMC had to shelve it. 
- In May 2013, the PMC decided to construct a lane with synthetic material for cyclists on the Pune-Saswad Road at a cost of Rs 70.5 lakh. This also never materialised.

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