Tuesday, March 28

New Town gears up to expand cycling space

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Cycle tracks in New Town will be widened and new ones built with signage asking cyclists to stick to the tracks.

The bicycle has made a comeback on the city’s streets with many preferring to pedal to work and avoid travelling on overcrowded buses.

In New Town, unlike parts of Calcutta, cycle tracks run along the service lanes of the Major Arterial Road in several places. And now the authorities will make more space for bicycles by placing orange traffic cones on the extreme left flank of the service roads in the township.

The tracks had been built in 2016 and have signage to demarcate them from the walking space. As they are a bit elevated from the main road, motorists cannot get on them.

An official of the Housing and Infrastructure Development Corporation (Hidco), which built the tracks, said they would build more cycling tracks and increase the width of existing ones.

The cycling tracks in the township total around 29km.

“This is the only part of the city where cycling is actively encouraged as a means of transportation. As several office-goers are using bicycles to commute, we have decided to increase the width of the existing tracks,” said the official.

The concrete tracks have space for two cycles to travel to and fro. After widening, four cycles, two in each direction, could ply.

The official said wherever feasible, the cyclists’ lane would be made on the extreme left flank of service roads.

Debashis Sen, the chairman-cum-managing director of Hidco, said they had a bigger picture in mind.

A plan has been drawn up listing major residential areas and major office hubs and malls.

“We want to wean people away from cars and bikes, which cause pollution. We have made a detailed transport plan that includes the New Town Metro stations as well. We are making the tracks in such a way that once Metro is operational, commuters should be able to cycle to a Metro station, park it there and head to office. We have consulted IIT Kharagpur regarding this and they have come up with a plan to make last mile connectivity possible through cycles,” he said.

Hidco, Sen said, will also reintroduce the cycle-sharing scheme that was quite popular in New Town.

A tender for the scheme, which will include battery-powered cycles, has been floated but the project has got delayed because of the pandemic.

In Sector V, too, the Nabadiganta Industrial Township Authority has started scouting for lanes that can be made into cycling tracks.

Dhritiman Sarkar, deputy commissioner, traffic, Bidhannagar commissionerate, said cycles in New Town could ply without hampering the general traffic flow. “Unlike in other parts of the city, there are tracks for cyclists here. We will not allow them on flyovers,” Sarkar said.

Two of the most popular tracks are along the Major Arterial Road.

If one is approaching from Salt Lake, the first cycle track begins after the box bridge connecting Sector V and New Town.

It is on the left flank of the road from East Enclave housing complex and passes in front of the Coal Bhawan, DLF Building, Nazrul Tirtha, Animikha complex, Eastern Grove complex and ends at New Town bus terminus. It is a 1km-long stretch.

The second cycle track is in front of Eco Park from Gate 1 to Gate 4. Gate 1 is around the first parking lot and Gate 4 is where the miniature Seven Wonders of the World is located. This stretch covers 2.2km.


Source: The Telegraph

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