Bengaluru’s first cycle lane faces threat from Namma Metro
Civic authorities remove bollards; cyclists fume; citizens say mobility infra has to be planned scientifically
BENGALURU: Bengaluru’s first cycle lane on Outer Ring Road (ORR), started in October 2020, now faces threat in view of the construction of Metro and plan to reduce traffic congestion in the area.B S Prahalad, BBMP Chief Engineer, said the bollards in the carriage lane were initially removed for constructing a lane for movement of buses and a cycle lane to reduce motorised transport. However, now with the approval for Metro construction in the area being granted faster than expected, the pollards can only be installed again after the Metro work is completed, he added.
For the rest of the cycle lane, Prahalad said, the number of vehicles on the roads witnessed a rise and hence to reduce traffic congestion, bollards on the lane were removed. Shilpi Sahu, a cycle rider from the area said, “The bus carriage lane and cycle lane were divided by a footpath and we fail to understand why the bollards were removed from the cycle lane. The footpath is there but the bollards for cycle and bus lanes have been removed”.
Sathya Sankaran, Founder, Council for Active Mobility, said, “Permission to remove bus lane bollards only was granted as it was on the main carriage way. In a last one week, all the bollards on the entire 17-km long stretch have been removed”.
Sahu said that mobility infrastructure has to be planned scientifically so as to ensure that people can walk, cycle and take public transport. Private vehicles should be the last priority. She slammed the authorities for forcing citizens to compromise on safety aspects until the Metro work is finished and had no plan to protect the cyclists and pedestrians.
Sankaran explained that over the years, a boom was witnessed in cyclists/cycle tours in the city and now removal of bollards raises concerns over safety of cyclists and increases probability of accidents. The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) had set up the cycle lane only a year and a half before to promote cycling as a mode of transport.