Pune News : As the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC)’s August 27 deadline for the public’s suggestions and objections to incorporating the ‘comprehensive bicycle plan’ in the city’s development plan (DP) is fast approaching, activists and environmentalists are urging people to do the needful at the earliest.
It’s been a month since the PMC published a notice on July 28 announcing its intention to incorporate the comprehensive bicycle plan in the city’s DP and asking for suggestions and objections from the public but the corporation has not received many responses, prompting the sending of reminders to people.
Sanskriti Menon, Centre for Environment Education, who is part of the Pune cycle plan, said, “First, it is highly appreciable that the PMC took such a step to prepare a ‘comprehensive bicycle master plan’ for Pune. No other city in India has such a detailed plan for cycling infrastructure and management. Now it has taken the step to incorporate the cycle plan in the DP of the city, which is crucial for successful implementation. It includes the creation of cycle tracks, cycle parking, a public bicycle system and preparation of an enforcement system.”
“The plan also includes provisions for development of institutional capacity in the municipal corporation, regular monitoring of progress and public outreach and engagement in the course of implementation. We hope that the process of integration into the DP will be smooth and will help allocate the necessary resources for making Pune cycle friendly,” she said.
Unlike a plan which has been approved only by the PMC general body, a plan incorporated in the DP is legally binding. The bicycle plan was made in 2016 and approved by the PMC general body in 2017. It proposes a citywide network of cycle tracks, cycle lanes and cycle-safe streets as well as a public bicycle system, designated cycle parking locations, and design guidelines for the cycle tracks. While it is truly comprehensive, there has hardly been any implementation in the past five years. It is very important for the bicycle plan to be part of the DP.
Sujit Patwardhan, Parisar, said, “The bicycle plan should absolutely be incorporated into the DP and we should send letters of support for this. We should insist that the cycle track network be shown on the DP maps. This will further ensure that no road is allowed to be constructed without a cycle track.”
The ‘comprehensive bicycle plan’ or ‘Pune cycle plan’ is part of PMC’s efforts to transform transportation in the city of Pune. It was prepared in 2016 to help make Pune a cycle-friendly city and approved by the civic general body in 2017. The ‘Pune cycle plan’ is based on a survey of more than 10,000 people. As part of this survey, people were asked questions about their travel patterns, their views on cycling, and whether or not they would be willing to shift to cycling as a mode of transportation. According to the ‘Pune cycle plan’, the existing cycle tracks covering more than 90 km of the city can be made usable by connecting the missing links, improving current designs, and strictly prohibiting other activities on the cycle tracks.