A year after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) inaugurated a cycle parking area outside Mahim railway station, the facility is yet to be used by many. “In the past one year, I have hardly ever seen a cycle parked there. The area is often occupied by street dwellers who sleep under the shed,” said a railway official at Mahim station.
While the cycle stand provides sheltered parking for 48 bicycles, local people said that most of the times, none is parked there.
“The area has always been inhabited by homeless people. The cycle stand was not going to change anything. In the past year, we have rarely seen any cycle here. Instead, the stand’s shed has invited more people to sit under it,” said Ramesh Kumar who runs a sugarcane juice shop nearby. Conceding that there are issues with the facility, the civic body still believes that the cycle stand that was inaugurated in January 2017 is serving its purpose.
“Like other parts of the city, here, too, we have a problem with street dwellers. During the monsoon, they come to take shelter here (under the shed). But our officials go on rounds and ensure that the area is cleared. However, the stand has received a good response and many people are using it to park their cycles. We started it to promote the habit (of cycling) as it is good for the environment. More awareness is needed to make it (cycling) more popular,” said Ramakant Biradar, the Assistant Municipal Commissioner, G North ward.
Many cyclists said that they do not feel comfortable leaving their bicycles behind as there is no guard at the stand to
ensure safety. “While we need cycle stands in the city, cyclists should feel secure about leaving their cycles there. Most cyclists in the city today own expensive cycles. If they have to leave those at the station and go to work, they should be assured that nobody will tamper with the cycles,” said Sachin Wadekar, who cycles to work from Kandivalli to Andheri.
Rama Bishnoi, a Santacruz resident and a cyclist, said: “They should have started the initiative from a more crowded station like Bandra or Andheri. More people are likely to park their cycles there. Once that became popular, then they could have it at more stations.
It is these stands that will encourage people to take to cycling and not cycle tracks because there is no provision to park cycles once we take them out.”