Road development plan eats into cycling track

Last in the priority list: The cycling track connecting Biodiversity Park and Raheja Junction gouged out at Gachibowli in the city.   | Photo Credit: K.V.S. GIRI

The first cycling track laid in the city is no longer there. The track with markings for cyclists between Biodiversity Park and Raheja Junction has been gouged out. Inaugurated with much fanfare in 2012, the cycling track was pulverised using pneumatic drills over the last few days and now only a pile of rubble lines the roadside.

“It is being removed for the Strategic Road Development Plan. The municipal officials consulted us and we suggested that they remove the cycling track rather than the road which already gets clogged in peak hours,” says a traffic police official near Biodiversity Park.

For hundreds of recreational cyclists, the track was a work in progress towards a city where they could commute to work. Now they are not so hopeful.

“I have seen a big dip in the number of cycles being hired. We used to rent out about 100 cycles on weekdays and 500-600 on weekends. Now, the number of cyclists who borrow cycles to pedal to work has seen a sharp decline,” says Abhinandan Malhotra of Hyderabad Bicycling Club.

A few days ago, a public cycle rental station opened near DLF and speakers raved about how cycling to work was way better than driving to work and then the question of infrastructure cropped up. “It is like the story of chicken and egg. The government keeps saying if there are enough cyclists, infrastructure can be created; while cyclists feel that they can commute to work if there is good infrastructure. The quandary continues,” says Ram Viswanathan of Cykul, a public cycle sharing programme.

“I take 35 minutes to commute from Panjagutta to Hi-Tec City. If I go in a car or any vehicle, I take between 45 minutes to an hour. So cycling actually saves me time and it would be better if we have cycling tracks. The second option is that awareness should be created about cycling so that cyclists are given right of way at key intersections,” says Dasari Rajasekhar, an IT professional, who has been cycling to work for the past eight years.

But all is not lost. The bike station on Necklace Road is a busy one with cyclists thronging the place at all times of the day for recreational cycling. “It is a pleasure riding on that road. The road is freshly laid and the traffic is less in the area and cyclists don’t feel threatened,” says Mr. Malhotra.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2022 4:09:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/road-development-plan-eats-into-cycling-track/article19241953.ece

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