Pune has about 132 km of cycle tracks (officially), of which really only 87 km are worthy of even being called cycle tracks. Even of these, there are missing portions, adding up to about 30 km (35%). In addition there are numerous obstacles. An unfortunate choice was also made to use interlocking blocks for the cycle track surface, making for a bumpy ride. The net result is that the cycle tracks are largely unused. This has led to a demand to remove the cycle tracks.
Since Pune's Comprehensive Mobility Plan (CMP) sets a target of 50% modal share by Non-Motorized Transport (NMT) by 2030, there is a need to fix these cycle tracks, not get rid of them.
Parisar conducted a thorough review of the cycle tracks and developed a methodology for scoring them. They were rated on the basic of their Safety, Comfort and Continuity; essential in order for them to be usable.
The results are not surprising. Of the 20 cycle tracks reviewed, 1 is Good (Law College road), 1 is Okay (Old Canal road), 5 are Poor, 6 are Bad and 1 is Very Bad (Vishrantwadi-Airport road).
Most cycle tracks have substantial portions missing. Two of them; Satara road (60%) and Vishrantwadi-Airport road (70%), are particularly bad in this regard.
There are also a huge number of obstructions on the cycle tracks. We classified them as 'Cyclist Slowed Down', 'Partial' and 'Total' on the basis of their severity. On the 57 km of actually existing cycle tracks there were over 900 total and a whopping 3000 partial obstructions! That's 16 and 55 per km, respectively. That amounts to an obstruction every 14 meters.
We also looked at the lighting, shade and quality of the adjacent footpath. We assessed the quality of the intersections. All these contributed to the final score.
Our main recommendations to the Pune Municipal Corporation are
- Create a dedicated agency that is responsible for the design, execution and maintenance of cycle tracks. This ideally ought to be the NMT Cell of the PMC. It should have dedicated resources to be able to do its job effectively.
- Adopt a Cycle Track Design Manual. This will help avoid the bad design choices and help the engineers and contractors to follow best practices in this regard.
- Put in place a periodic assessment of the cycle tracks, based on the methodology developed by Parisar. Targets should be set for achieving a certain score and budget allocations made accordingly.