Sunday, November 28

Firm to carve out cycle tracks on Kolkata roads

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The Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) has decided to remove roadside parking space and rationalize hawking zones to create a dedicated cycle corridor along several routes in the city. The KMDA has assigned a Delhi-based agency the task of conducting a road survey in Kolkata to find out where space can be carved out to create a cycle corridor by early next year.

“We have made an initial survey and found that we need only 0.2% additional road space to create a dedicated corridor for cycles and this can be easily done by removing roadside parking space and rationalizing hawking zones. Most pavements in the city have hawkers. If we create hawking zones and no-hawking zones, it will give us additional space on the pavements that can be used for cycle movement,” a KMDA official said.

Asked whether that will hamper pedestrian movement, the official said, “Pedestrians are our priority and we will make arrangements for them.”

KMDA has also decided to disallow roadside parking. To make an alternative arrangement, the agency will develop several parking lots in the city too. “These two projects will be carried out simultaneously. Once we create dedicated parking areas, we will be able to create additional space. This is complicated planning, but policy wise, it has been decided that there will be no parking area by the side of the roads. The tendering process is on,” the official added.

Initially, KMDA was not in favour of allowing cycles on all city roads. They have earmarked 10-12 routes where cycles will be allowed. “There are some routes, like Howrah to Dharmatala, Behala to Dharmatala, Behala to Sector V, Dharmatala to Salt Lake, Sealdah to Dharmatala and Kidderpore to Howrah, where people already move on cycles. This has increased during the lockdown. We have asked the agency to work on routes like these and identify the roads where we can allow cycles. The KMDA has allotted 34 lakh for the survey,” the official said.

The agency will submit a preliminary report within four months and the final report two months after that. Earlier, the state had formed a seven-member committee, including experts from IIT Kharagpur, KMDA, KMC, Kolkata Police and the transport department, to develop a dedicated cycle track for the city. “We will have a meeting of all the stakeholders on July 15 where we will hand over a questionnaire to the agency and discuss the detailed plan so they can work accordingly,” the official added.

Source:Times of India

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