Frequent traffic jams, accidents and pollution have prompted civic officials, cycling experts and enthusiasts to come together and form a committee, which will try to bring the cycle back on road.
The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) plans to constitute a special committee to develop an ‘integrated cycle plan’ at the cost of Rs 1.15 crore. The standing committee will take call on the proposal on Tuesday.
The committee will give inputs on what can be done for optimum utilisation of cycling infrastructure available in the city. However, the fact is that Pune is no longer safe for cyclists.
Parisar, a city-based organization, had carried out survey of cycle tracks in the city in 2011. Out of the 132 kms of cycle tracks said to be completed (information obtained using RTI), the organization surveyed in detail tracks of 87.5 km length.
“The rest cannot even be called cycle tracks,“ stated the report.
The new policy, which has got a push from the Union government (80% funding), aims to change things for good.
Activists say about 130 kms of cycle tracks are lying unused due lack of maintenance.
Encroachment also is rampant. The plan is to reuse the ex isting infrastructure in an innovative and coordinated way.
“The city can get back to cycling in large numbers, provided there is an integrated effort,“ said Ranjit Gadgil, director at ‘Parisar’ and a cycling enthusiast.
The demand for cycles in the last few decades has come down. As per census data, the average number of households using cycles as a mode of transport in the state increased marginally from 30.1% (in 2001) to 30.5% (in 2011). In Pune district, the number dropped from 45.7% to 35.4%.
The reasons why bicycle is an almost forgotten is best illustrated in numbers. Over the last two decades, the number of vehicles on road have burgeoned and the humble bicycle sidelined.
Census figures from 2001 to 2011 have reflected the average urban households’ preference for cars and motorcycles over the eco-friendly bicycle option.
Source : TOI