WITH THE Mumbai civic body coming up with a 22-km cycle track from the National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA) to the Bandra-Worli sea link, municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta has now asked all 24 ward offices to conduct a feasibility study to lay cycling tracks across the city. The ward offices have now started looking for grounds or roads or promenades where the tracks can come up.
Mehta has asked assistant municipal commissioners of all administrative wards to identify roads and lanes suitable for cycling tracks that can be used on Sundays, similar to the one between the NCPA and Worli. As per the initial plan, the south Mumbai track — NCPA-Marine Drive-Babulnath-Peddar Road-Annie Besant Road-Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan Marg and Bandra-Worli sea link — will be functional between 6 am and 11 am.
While one experiment initiated at Carter Road a few months ago failed due to traffic issues, the civic body inaugurated a cycling track at Bhoiwada’s Belgaum Karwar Sanyukta ground Monday. The track was inaugurated by Mehta in the presence of local MLA Kalidas Kolambkar.
“As soon as ward officials will come up with grounds or roads suitable to start a cycling track, we will approve the project. We think that having cycling tracks in all the wards will help encourage the use of cycles among people,” said a senior BMC official.
The Bhoiwada track is on a garden measuring 8.15 acres, where a 1,200-metre jogging track and a cycling track already existed. “While people did use the jogging track, we noticed nobody actually used the cycling track. Besides, people avoided coming to this garden as it is next to a crematorium. We took this as a challenge and started displaying posters and signboards on the health benefits of cycling. We also invited avid cyclist Firoza Suresh to create awareness about cycling. Following this, we got 16 cycle stands in the garden and finally the cycling track was inaugurated on Monday. The project is in public interest and the ward officials are keen to start as many cycling track as possible in areas under their jurisdiction,” said Kishor Desai, Assistant Municipal Commissioner,
F South (Parel, Bhoiwada).
“This is a welcome move, but authorities should keep in mind a holistic approach and promote it as a new mode of transport. I have also suggested to ward officials to start cycling camps during summer vacations to attract kids to take up cycling,” said Ami Rathod, a resident of Bhoiwada.
In September this year, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis gave his nod to the BMC’s plan to build a 39-km cycling and jogging track along the Tansa pipeline. The BMC is looking to complete the project phase-wise by 2019. The civic body had earlier planned to throw open the first phase by Diwali.
The 39-km track, to be built at a cost of Rs 300 crore, is expected to be one of the longest in the country and will stretch from Mulund to Antop Hill. Work will be undertaken in phases as encroachments along the pipeline must be removed. In an earlier survey, the BMC had identified more than 15,000 structures along the pipeline. The demolition of these structures has already begun. “We have managed to demolish over 2,800 such structures around Powai and Ghatkopar area until last week,” said an official. firstname.lastname@example.org