Sunday, March 26

Detours and signal tweaks allow more cyclists to use city roads

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Hours after Kolkata Police announced several relaxations for cyclists, the city witnessed a greater number opting for the eco-friendly mode of transport. At least 10 of the 25 traffic guards said the increase was most visible in central Kolkata and northern suburbs with Howrah bridge and BT Road getting the maximum cycles during peak hours. A good number also opted for cycles in the Garia-Naktala and Maheshtala-Taratala belts.

“Most of these people are regular local train passengers while others are Metro users. Several of them cycled to the point where they could get public transport. This phenomenon was more visible in stretches where autos are still infrequent,” said an officer.

Officers categorized the cyclists into two — daily commuters from the suburbs on ordinary cycles and those within the city buying state-of-the-art, multiple-gear and battery-operated cycles to ride to work. “Regular auto riders using high-end cycles said they feel social distancing norms would be breached if they travel in autos now,” said a sergeant.

Faced with the challenge of hundreds of cycles using Howrah bridge or BT Road on Wednesday, cops diverted them to lanes. Some were allowed to cross crucial bridges. “But we did not allow them on flyovers and ensured they followed rules,” said a traffic guard OC.

“Cyclists going to Sector V offices from Metropolitan, Phoolbagan and Beliaghata were asked to take Canal South Road. At Chingrighata-Sukantanagar, we tweaked signal timings to ensure they could cross over. This way, we kept Bypass, Beliaghata Main Road and Narkeldanga Main Road mostly free of cycles,” an officer said. Those coming off Howrah bridge were asked to take either Brabourne Road or go towards Posta and use the less congested roads to enter the central business district. In the north, police stopped cyclists climbed from using the Lockgate flyover. But cycling was allowed on Broad Street, Karaya Road and Gariahat Road.

However, cops said they will not allow cycles on 22 thoroughfares, including Park Street, Theatre Road, Camac Street, Red Road, Lalbazar Street, Council House Street, Rawdon Street and all flyovers. “We are easing challaning in all other zones,” an officer said.

Source: Times of India

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