Bicycle-sharing project set to start; wait continues for dedicated tracks

In the pipeline: The ambitious project of the Directorate of Urban Land Transport to set up a 125-km network of cycling tracks in Bengaluru is yet to take off.

In the pipeline: The ambitious project of the Directorate of Urban Land Transport to set up a 125-km network of cycling tracks in Bengaluru is yet to take off.   | Photo Credit: Bhagya Prakash K.

3,000 bicycles to be made available initially; 300 parking hubs to be developed

The Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT) is all set to implement its Public Bicycle Sharing (PBS) project over the next two months. The project, which was announced a year ago, has received a push now, with Bengaluru traffic police approving setting up of 300 parking hubs. The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) too has given the nod for its implementation.

However, the DULT’s ambitious project of setting up 125-km network of cycling tracks in the city is yet to take off. Officials are now hoping that this will not be a barrier and that the PBS project will encourage more cyclists to ride on the city’s streets. The DULT has proposed to install at least 400 parking hubs in select localities where bicycles will be made available. At present, the traffic police have given permission for setting up 300 parking spaces, officials said.

They will come up at M.G. Road, Vidhana Soudha, Indiranagar, Koramangala, HSR Layout, Banaswadi, HRBR Layout, HBR Layout, and at some metro stations.

With the initiation of the project, 3,000 bicycles will be made available for the public to begin with. The number of bicycles will be later increased to 6,000, said DULT Special Officer N. Murali Krishna.

Temporary space

While DULT will be the monitoring agency for the project, the BBMP will put in place the parking hubs. Officials in the DULT said they would initiate the project with the available infrastructure and wait for the palike to complete the work on parking hubs. Until the civic body sets up all the hubs, temporary parking spaces would be made available for cyclists, officials said.

Those using shared bicycles will be riding alongside other motorists until cycling tracks created. While a preliminary study for cycling tracks had been completed, designing was yet to take place, Mr. Murali Krishna said.

Bengaluru’s Bicycle Mayor Satya Sankaran felt this was a fair approach. There was no need for the PBS project to be stalled until completion of cycling tracks, he said.

“There are 45,000 cyclists in the city today who are riding without dedicated cycling lanes,” he said, and added that both the projects can be developed independently.

‘There is no use if cycling tracks are developed in isolation’

The BBMP has taken up the work of laying cycling tracks in some parts of the city, but cyclists decried the haphazard manner in which it is being done.

The BBMP is constructing a cycling track on Cubbon Road, which is likely to be completed in two months. According to BBMP officials, there will be a 700-metre dedicated cycling track on this road, with another 0.5-km-long track shared with the footpath. While BBMP officials claimed that this track is part of a larger cycling track network in the city which will be put in place in the coming days, cyclists said the civic body had failed to consult anyone in this regard.

“We have not seen the design of this network. If these tracks are developed in isolation, there is no use,” Mr. Sankaran said.

Even though cyclists were in favour of dedicated tracks, the BBMP’s “arbitrary approach” was a cause for concern, they said, pointing out to the civic body’s alleged failure to maintain the existing tracks. In some parts of the city, like Jayanagar, the cycling tracks are being used as car parking spaces, and in other parts where the BBMP has initiated work, not much progress has been made, they said.

A resident of HSR Layout and a cyclist, Shashidhar said the cycling track project in his locality had remained incomplete for over two years. While the palike began the work by painting green signs on a road, indicating that a cycling track would come up on the stretch, there has been no progress so far, he said. BBMP officials have been telling residents that the cycling track here would be completed soon, without giving any time frame, he added.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 8:00:30 PM |

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