Mysuru misses the bus in Smart Cities’ ‘Cycles4Change Challenge’

Notwithstanding being recognised as a “cycling-friendly” city, Mysuru has failed to make a headway in the India Cycles4Change Challenge as it is not among the 11 cities that were shortlisted and eligible for the Stage 1 awards from the Centre under the Smart Cities Mission.

Mysuru was one among the cities, including six Smart cities, in the State that took part in the initiative for establishing a safe and cycling-friendly city. Bengaluru, Hubballi-Dharwad, Mangaluru, Tumakuru, Davangere, Kalaburagi and Belagavi were the other cities listed in the challenge.

Only Bengaluru in the State has made it to the shortlist that was announced recently and is now eligible for an aid of ₹1 crore for improving cycling infrastructure. Three cities in Gujarat and two from Maharashtra have made it to the shortlist.

The 11 shortlisted cities include Bengaluru, Warangal, Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh, Kohima, Nagpur, New Town Kolkata, Pimpri Chinchwad, Rajkot, Surat and Vadodara.

Marking the Mission’s 5th anniversary, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs launched the initiative in June last year and the cities registered for the challenge were supposed to take up quick cycling-friendly initiatives as a part of “COVID-19 safe” strategy.

Out of 141 cities eligible for the Challenge, over 95 cities had registered.

It was strongly believed that Mysuru would make it to the shortlist as the country’s first Public Bicycle Sharing System (PBSS) introduced here would be its biggest advantage,although it had to fulfil certain ‘challenging’ goals.

Mysuru City Corporation had taken up the challenge that was run in two stages. The cities were asked to pilot initiatives such as pop-up cycle lanes, host public consultations, conduct surveys, and hold campaigns to promote cycling for helping develop a scale-up strategy.

It was told during the launch that 11 cities would be shortlisted in October last year for Stage 2 but was later extended till May 2021 for the submission of proposals and pilots.

It is unclear where the city went wrong and how it missed the bus as the MCC had earlier claimed that it conducted a survey to understand citizens’ perception of cycling. The survey was aimed at identifying barriers to cycling and correcting them with the appropriate designs.

The MCC had also urged civil society organisations (CSOs), consultants, corporates and citizens to support Mysuru city in the Challenge.

The MCC’s plans of developing cycling lanes did not materialise though wider roads and roads with tree canopy were identified for establishing cycle lanes and proposals in this regard had been sent to the Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT) seeking funds.

As part of its cycling infrastructure improvement plan, the MCC had proposed to develop a cycling hoop from Manasagangotri campus to Ramaswamy Circle covering Kukkarahalli Road and Vishwamanava Double Road for promoting safe and friendlier cycling. This too did not materialise.

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Printable version | Sep 27, 2021 9:29:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/mysuru-misses-the-bus-in-smart-cities-cycles4change-challenge/article35608226.ece

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