In February last year, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) received communication from the Union urban development department urging the civic body to prepare a comprehensive bicycle plan for the city as a model to be replicated across the country. However, it was only on Tuesday that the PMC managed to appoint a consultant for the purpose after the standing committee gave its consent hoping that it would help promote bicycling in the city that was once well-known as the City of Bicycles.
“We are happy that we are taking a step towards promoting bicycle use in the city. The consultant would prepare a plan that would address all the issues related to improving the existing infrastructure for bicycle users and recommend new projects while working on a bicycle sharing program,” said Ashwini Kadam, chairperson of the standing committee.
“The plan has to be prepared in six months so that the civic body would be able to undertake necessary work for its implementation,” Kadam said, adding that the consultancy fee is Rs 1.15 crore, out of which the Union government would pay 80 per cent, whereas PMC would bear the remaining Rs 23 lakh.
The main focus of the plan would be improving the existing cycle track for use by cyclists and creating a network of cycle tracks across the city with connectivity to the main roads. PMC is the first civic body in the country selected by the Union government for preparing the bicycle plan, Kadam claimed.
On the delay in preparing the plan, Kadam said that there was no response to the tenders at the beginning and the agencies responded only after the process was initiated. The plan would set the vision, goals and policies regarding cycling and contain plans for creating a city-wide cycle track network and cycle-safe streets, city-wide Public Bicycle Scheme with a detailed project report for a pilot project, bicycle parking facilities, integration with public transit, cycling promotion, adoption and use of design guidelines for planning and implementing cycle-friendly infrastructure, institutional mechanisms, capacity-building and financial planning for implementing the plan, awareness and education campaigns.
The final plan would serve as a roadmap for the city to allocate resources, formulate policies, undertake projects and evaluate the outcome towards achieving the goals set with it applicable for a period of 20 years and consist of short, medium and long-term measures. The PMC has constructed 123 km of cycle tracks in the city under JNNURM and most of it is in a bad condition with civic activists accusing the administration of failing to maintain them.