In a major boost to non-motorised transport (NMT) in the city, the state government has directed the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) to include the comprehensive bicycle plan in the approved development plan (DP) of the city.
In a notification, the state government directed the PMC to include the plan in the DP as per the provisions of the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning (MRTP) Act 1966, and submit it for the approval of the state government. The civic body has also been urged to implement it with immediate effect.
As per the plan, a 824-km-long long cycle way has to be developed in the city at an estimated cost of Rs 335 crore. The plan aims to make Pune a cycling-friendly city where cycling is safe, comfortable, convenient and enjoyable. It also seeks to increase the modal share of cycling in public transport from the current 3 per cent to 25 per cent by 2031. The project also entails introduction of a scheme for the public sharing of bicycles to promote their use.
The state government had approved the revised DP of the old part of the city in 2017, while the DP for the newly-included areas was approved in 2012. Two years later, the central government approved the urban traffic plan of the PMC that included the bicycle plan, and asked the civic body to add it in the DP as well. The PMC finally approved the integrated bicycle plan in 2017.
The public bicycle sharing scheme, which the PMC has already started implementing, has run into some roadblocks, as some private agencies have withdrawn their service due to incidents of theft and damage to bicycles.
The plan is also aimed at “…ensuring public engagement and user participation in the development of cycle paths, walk-friendly infrastructure and its monitoring, retaining the existing share of cyclists, and encouraging potential users to use bicycles, ensure integration between cycling and public transport, and ensure integration of cycling as a mode of transportation and make travel demand management strategies sensitive to cycling users…”.