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K’taka to launch pilot road project giving cyclists, pedestrians priority

Bengaluru News : The state is experimenting with the active mobility plan under which the pedestrians, cyclists and public transport will get priority on the roads. The move aims to bring down dependence on private transport and reduce congestion in urban areas of the southern state.

With an aim to decongest the roads, the Karnataka government is gearing up to launch its pilot project in Tumakuru and one zone of Bengaluruofficials in the know of matter said on Monday.

The state is experimenting with the active mobility plan under which the pedestrians, cyclists and public transport will get priority on the roads. The move aims to bring down dependence on private transport and reduce congestion in urban areas of the southern state.

“The idea is that it should be a statewide plan where the aim is that public transport, pedestrians and cyclists should get priority,” said Urban Development Department of Karnataka additional chief secretary Rakesh Singh.

He said the pilot project being launched in Tumakuru — about 60 km from Bengaluru — is a place where the plan can be implemented.

With over 10 million vehicles in just Bengaluru, congestion in India’s IT capital is at its peak and has led to increasing levels of pollution and declining quality of life for its over 12 million residents.

Adding to the city’s woes, the Covid-19 pandemic also contributed to a higher number of vehicles in the city as the fear of contracting the virus pushed more people towards private transport for their commute. The delays in completing the Metro, lack of support for public bus services, poor quality of roads and pavements are some of the other reasons.

Similar measures like setting up cycling and bus lanes in Bengaluru were successful but were short-lived owing to incessant construction for several public infrastructure and “development” projects going on in the city.

Over three years ago, the Department of Urban Land Transport (DULT) had identified 271 bicycle parking locations in a closely spaced network across areas like HSR Layout, Koramangala, Indiranagar, Central Business District and Vidhana Soudha among other parts. Over 2,300 cycles were made available to the public and the department even went so far as to form a society called Karnataka NonMotorized Transport Agency (KNMTA).

“The Non-Motorised Transport (NMT) or human-powered transport that includes walking, cycling, and variants such as wheelchair travel, skating and handcarts. NMT is an important part of urban mobility in cities; however, NMT has often been ignored in planning transport systems,” according to the DULT website.

The department had at that time said that it will expand the concept of a cycling district in a way that people can travel to their offices on these non-motorised transport solutions. However, the current infrastructure for cycling lanes are mostly located in market areas of the city where there is a lane marked on pavements.

City cyclists have referred to the Dutch or Amsterdam model for cycle and pedestrian lanes which was the result of an active people-driven movement in the 1960s to get civic authorities to act against the increase in cars, traffic and accidents.

“The Non-Motorised Transport (NMT) or human-powered transport that includes walking, cycling, and variants such as wheelchair travel, skating and handcarts. NMT is an important part of urban mobility in cities; however, NMT has often been ignored in planning transport systems,” according to the DULT website.

The department had at that time said that it will expand the concept of a cycling district in a way that people can travel to their offices on these non-motorised transport solutions. However, the current infrastructure for cycling lanes are mostly located in market areas of the city where there is a lane marked on pavements.

City cyclists have referred to the Dutch or Amsterdam model for cycle and pedestrian lanes which was the result of an active people-driven movement in the 1960s to get civic authorities to act against the increase in cars, traffic and accidents.

“The 2018 plan for Public Bicycle Sharing (PBS) system, dedicated lanes in localities like Jayanagar and other projects of the government have barely been followed up beyond the fan fare with which they are announced,” said a cyclist on the condition of anonymity.Another cyclist said that the government is trying to ‘copy-paste’ practices from developed countries but fails to address the challenges such initiatives face.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by GOVT.in staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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