PMC dreams of a bicycle city
The Netherlandsbased Interface for Cycling Expertise (I-ce), an international NGO for low-cost mobility and integrated cycling planning, said that there is a great potential for cycle to be major mode of commuting in Pune, but the infrastructure is poor.The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has signed an agreement with I-ce to bring back bicycles with a bang through a Bicycle Partnership programme. As per the programme, valid till 2010, the NGO will assist the civic body to design as well as promote use of cycle through training and awareness programme. The PMC has planned a 300 km cycle track.The experts, who studied the already-constructed cycle tracks by the PMC, have pointed out serious loopholes in the infrastructure and given suggestions."More roads is no solution for traffic chaos as it promotes use of motorised transport. Instead, there should be more use of nonmotorised transport," expert Joren Buis said in his presentation."The city has great potential for bicycle use. The city is flat and has a better climate than that in the Netherlands.Buis said that cycling is healthy as the riders inhale less polluted air than those who opt for motorised transport. Cycling increases concentration and helps in better stress management.More cycles on the road will reduce congestion on the roads and reduce pollution, he said.Ranjit Gadgil, director of NGO Janwani, and working with Parisar for promotion of bicycle in the city, said that they have started the cycle promotion campaign and will target school children initially."A kit will be distributed to students. We need public support for outreach and awareness campaign in schools," he said.In a later stage, the campaign will include workers, auto vehicle users and elected representatives, Gadgil said. The pilot promotional campaign in two schools -Aksharnandan and Abhinav -- had received a good response with students raising doubts on safety measures, he said.The PMC is also planning a 'hire and ride bicycle' programme similar to the system in Paris. PMC efforts have received a boost with the Global Environment Facility of the UN approving the proposal for developing cycle tracks on BRTS routes.