Cyclists request Tamil Nadu Chief Minister to promote cycling in Chennai post lockdown

Cyclists say that the city’s bicycle-sharing system should be expanded

Cyclists say that the city’s bicycle-sharing system should be expanded   | Photo Credit: R. Ravindran

Cyclists say that promoting cycling would be one way to decrease traffic and keep pollution levels low, even after the lockdown is lifted

Cyclists in the city have written to Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami and the Greater Chennai Corporation to promote cycling in the city and to expedite the dedicated cycling lane project.

The Corporation has set up a cycle lane of 17 km in two stretches. However, these lanes are mostly occupied by cars and other vehicles.

At this juncture, the ‘We are Chennai Cycling Group’ (WCCG) and Felix John, the bicycle mayor of Chennai, have sent letters to the Chief Minister and the GCC stating that this is the right time to promote cycling in the city.

“I have requested the Chief Minister to dedicate neighborhood shopping streets as walking/cycling only, create temporary pop-up lanes using cones and expand the city’s bicycle-sharing system with regular sanitizing strategies,” said Mr. John who was made the Bicycle Mayor of Chennai by BYCS Amsterdam, a social enterprise, to promote cycling in Chennai.

The WCCG has also made similar requests in its letter. “Kerala and Bengaluru have taken steps to promote cycling. Due to the lockdown, pollution levels are low in Chennai, and this is the right time to promote cycling and decrease traffic as well as maintain low pollution levels in future too,” said Divagaran. T, founding member, WCCG.

Aswathy Dilip, senior programme manager of Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), said that cities in Tamil Nadu can create quick “pop-up” cycle lanes along public transport networks as an option for small and medium distance trips.

“This can be done easily by re-purposing parking spaces or even carriageway lanes. Paris is creating 650 km of post-lockdown cycle ways. As additional infrastructure is rolled out on one end, the political leadership in these cities are actively urging citizens to embrace cycling as an alternate mode to public transport,” she said.

She said that close to 30% of households in Tamil Nadu have access to cycles. “The State’s existing schemes can be expanded to ensure that everyone has access to cycles,” she said.

A GCC official said that it would be good to promote cycling post the lockdown period and to ensure social distancing. “Cycle sharing is also gaining popularity in Chennai. It will also be beneficial for people with lifestyle diseases. Cycle lanes will also be part of Mega Streets project,” he said.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 1:04:23 AM |

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