KOCHI: As the traffic congestion gets worse in Kochi, the time has come to think of alternative means of transportation. Highlighting this need, social welfare association Pedal Force has been calling for setting up cycle lanes in the city. Its efforts bore fruit when Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan directed the Public Works Department to take necessary steps. However, the aim of setting up a cycle lane on Seaport-Airport Road remains a distant dream.
"Even the Smart City project is giving due importance to alternative modes of transportation like cycling. Under the project, 11 big roads and 126 small roads will be developed in the city. The thing that must be taken note of is the provision the project has made for the creation of cycle lanes," said Pedal Force founder Joby Kandanad.
"Everyone all over the world is turning to greener modes of transportation. However, cycles are still considered to be a poor man's mode of transportation and are looked down upon," he said. Also, the lack of cycle lanes puts off people who want to really take up cycling, he added."Have you seen speeding buses and vehicles on the roads? The roads are narrow and rash driving makes it dangerous to venture out on a cycle. However, while renovating city roads, if provisions are made for cycle lanes, many people will take up cycling and use them to commute. This will reduce congestion on the roads and also pollution besides reducing consumption of petrol," said Kandanad.
Even though roads such as Seaport-Airport Road are wide enough to have a cycle lane, none has been set up, he said. "They have provided a three-metre-wide median, but no cycle lanes. These medians can be converted into cycle lanes. But nothing is happening," he said.Kandanad said it is high time the government takes a look into the situation and makes a provision for cyclists.
However, an officer with the Roads and Bridges Development Corporation of Kerala Ltd, said,
"The Seaport-Airport Road was planned many years ago. When the DPR was prepared, no provision was made for cycle lanes. Most of the projects associated with it are either complete or nearing completion. The medians are built with a distinct purpose, so they can't be turned into something else."