If all goes as per plan, Mumbai may soon have a dedicated cycle track. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has given an in-principal nod to a BMC project titled Green Wheels Along Blue Lines. According to reports, a jogging track may also be attached to this project in a bid to encourage fitness enthusiasts in the city to hit the streets without worrying about getting jostled by pedestrians or being trampled by cars.
The cycle track, to be built after clearing encroachments along water pipelines in the Mumbai suburbs, has been estimated to cost a whopping Rs 300 crore.
Though it's great news for cyclists as well as joggers in the city, all efforts must be made to ensure it does not end up as one of BMC's many projects that remain under-utilised. This project should not add to the list of the many projects that only served to waste the exchequer's money.
A cycle track would also go a long way to reduce the traffic mess in the city. It would help keep air and sound pollution in check.
The BMC must conduct thorough research and weigh the pros and cons of investing in this project. A city transport expert had once said that one of the biggest failures of the cycle track at the Bandra Kurla Complex was that it did not lead to anywhere. The BMC would do well to ensure such complaints aren't repeated. While it's too early to cite possible pitfalls, it's necessary that all precautions be taken to avoid those. Cyclists and transport planners could be roped in for suggestions to enhance the project.
Some of the major cities in the world, such as London, have dedicated cycle tracks. While it may be a while before we can achieve that level of perfection in terms of planning and implementation, let's hope citizens can hit the track without a worry in their minds.
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