Gurugram has progressed to the second round of India Cycles4Change challenge, to facilitate quick implementation of cycling friendly initiatives in response to the Covid-19 outbreak. Gurugram is among the 25 cities to be selected for the second round of the ministry of housing and urban affairs’ programme, under the Smart Cities Mission.
In all, 107 cities participated in the first round of the challenge, under which government bodies and experts had to implement and introduce low-cost changes to increase cycling infrastructure in urban spaces.
Since October last year, cycling infrastructure has increased significantly in Gurugram, with cycle tracks constructed along Netaji Subhash Marg, Hamilton Court Road, Vyapar Kendra Road, and the service lane leading towards Gold Souk Mall.
Cycle tracks are also under construction at the Anaath Road in Udyog Vihar and the new sector road which links Rampura Chowk on National Highway 48 with Pataudi Road.
A 2020 survey by the India Programme of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), which is a knowledge partner for this challenge, predicted that cycling would increase by 50-65% as cities come out of lockdown.
Last month, VS Kundu, the former chief executive officer of the Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA), had announced that all new road projects in the city, barring a few stretches in Old Gurugram where road width is limited, will have cycling tracks as well as footpaths along each carriageway.
Sudhir Rajpal, the current chief executive officer of the GMDA declined to comment on the matter.
According to GMDA officials, representatives of the 25 shortlisted cities will give a presentation on the initiatives taken to increase cycling infrastructure, their effectiveness and future scale-up plans to a national-level jury.
The list will then be whittled down from 25 to 11 cities, which will receive ₹1 crore award each and guidance from national and international experts for scaling up existing infrastructure. The programme will involve a compilation of shared learning from all 11 cities, so that each city can study infrastructure models of other cities to analyse ways the same can be implemented in their zones.
“Around 12-14% of commuters use cycle as a mode of transport in the city, on a daily basis, by choice. At least 5% of the city’s commuters have started using cycles periodically for commuting purposes following the coronavirus outbreak. Hence, the infrastructure needed to be upgraded to not only meet the long-standing requirement but also to account for the change in the pattern of daily travel,” said Sarika Panda Bhatt, co-founder of Raahgiri, a body that promotes non-motorised transport in Gurugram.