Wednesday, October 28, 2009

All Major Roads to have Cycle Tracks Soon

Soon, Delhi will have dedicated cycle tracks on all major roads leading to Commonwealth Games venues. In an attempt to encourage non-motorized transportation modes, Delhi government has decided to construct cycle tracks on the roads so that tourists and other spectators can cycle to the venues during the mega sporting event. Emphasis will also be laid on pedestrianisation.

Walking and cycling are the preferred modes of commuting within the city for a large percentage of Delhites. While the cycle tracks will be made along the approach roads to stadia and the Games Village, there are plans of making cycle tracks all along the city's roads after the Games.

Said chief secretary Rakesh Mehta: "We want to make the area around the venues and the Games Village pedestrian-friendly. At least 30%-40% of Delhi's population walk and proper footpaths are a requirement. We also want to create cycle tracks which we would like to extend to the rest of the city after the Games taking into consideration views of other stakeholders.''

For the time-being the cycle tracks will be created along the 4-5 km road length leading up to stadia like Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Siri Fort Sports Complex, Yamuna Sports Complex, Indira Gandhi Stadium, National Stadium, Thyagaraj Stadium, Chattrasal Stadium etc.

All three agencies MCD, PWD, NDMC have appointed consultants for carrying out the work of streetscape and making Delhi pedestrian-friendly and creating cycle tracks is part of this project.

Said Pradeep Sachdeva, who has been hired as a consultant for PWD: "Usage of non-motorized vehicles needs to be encouraged in the city and we will be creating proper footpaths and cycle tracks along Lodhi Road, Bhishm Pitamah Marg, and Stadium Marg etc. Sculptures and other art forms will be included as part of the streetscape work to increase aesthetic appeal of the city.''

According to PWD officials, the combined cost of carrying out streetscape work in MCD and PWD areas is Rs 350 crore. While NDMC and PWD have begun with streetscape work, MCD is yet to do so.

One of the few other roads in the city with operational cycle tracks running through the length of the stretch is the pilot BRT corridor from Ambedkar Nagar to Delhi Gate. Even though the cycle tracks are well designed and used by scores of cyclists everyday, main problem is that of encroachment. Near Madangir, for instance, the cycle tracks and even footpaths are encroached by unauthorized parking of cars and even by Blueline buses. As a result, the cyclists are forced to fight for space with traffic on the main road.