GURUGRAM: Sixteen months ago, built dedicated at several places along service lanes of the expressway. Today, the cycle tracks at Rajiv Chowk, Signature Towers Chowk and Iffco Chowk lie unused and unmaintained, with only their signage indicating their existence.
The NHAI consultant said avoid using the tracks as these are part of the service lane, with only a fading white line and cycle icons painted to indicate that a part is dedicated for cyclists.
Saurabh Singhal, transportation expert at the project consultant Bloom Companies, said: “At all three places, no one uses the tracks as motorised vehicles are rampantly driven on them, putting the lives of cyclists in danger.” The lengths of the track are 4,290m at Rajiv Chowk, 5,940m at Iffco Chowk and 4,164m at Signature Towers.
“For cyclists to move freely, the tracks should have been built at least 10cm above road level, and marshals assigned to prevent motorised transport from using these,” said Sewa Ram of School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi.
In 2016, Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar had chalked a plan to develop Gurugram as a cycle-friendly city, and directed MCG and HSVP to build dedicated corridors. While neither did much in this regard, NHAI went ahead, building tracks along the expressway. Singhal said, “We built ‘open cycle tracks’ that are as good as roads, but with the safety of cyclists in mind.”
Regular cyclists said road infrastructure design should accommodate all users, not just commuters on cars. Manas Fuloria, CEO of a Gurugram-based software company, said: “The city needs to be designed in a way that cycle tracks are properly laid out, with colour coded lanes.”
Rajiv Chowk has non-motorised tracks (NMT) for cyclists and pedestrians. Sarika Panda, a regular cyclist and resident of Sector 47, said: “I’ve used the NMTs. It’s scary to ride on these even in broad daylight. At night, there are no streetlights and I’m scared of getting robbed.” In response, NHAI said the NMTs haven’t been opened to cyclists and pedestrians yet, which will happen only when GMDA takes over underpasses and provides marshals. But Panda said, “If the Rajiv Chowk NMT is not open, why is there no rope or barrier preventing entry?”
Other cyclists even disputed the NHAI claim that track surfaces have painted signage. Praveen Malik, resident of Sector 92, said: “On no track you will find the two words ‘cycle tracks’ painted. As a result, cars and hawkers are stationed on these with impunity.”
Despite teething problems and criticism, MCG and GMDA plan to build several new cycle tracks across the city. MCG said it will build tracks along internal roads, while GMDA is already planning a new track. “Our plan is to build a 5km-long track from Old Delhi-Gurugram road to Sector 23,” said a senior GMDA official.