Cycling to make a comeback

Cycling to make a comeback

On IISc campus

The narrow lanes of the century-old Indian Institute of Science (IISc) will soon see more of bicycles plying on the campus, a mode of transport it recognised way back in 1911.

The institute is all set to sign a memorandum of understanding before February 15 with Ride a Cycle Foundation (RACF) to make the public cycle-sharing project a reality. RACF will provide 150 bicycles in the first phase.

Bicycles will be docked at four different stations on the main campus as part of phase one of the project. While the university has already sanctioned four stations, a dozen more may come up in a few months. Registered users can use the facility by paying Rs two an hour and return the bicycle at any of the four stations.

The pilot project will be studied closely, as it is of use to different organisations in different ways. The Centre for Infrastructure, Sustainable Transportation and Urban Planning (CISTUP), headed by T G Sitharam, has played a crucial role in bringing the project to the IISc.

Sitharam hopes both students and the general public will be able to make use of the project to commute within the large campus of the IISc. It will also help CISTUP in studying the public response and usage details.

Ashwin Mahesh, member of ABIDe and advisor to RACF project, says, “A few locations in Bangalore South will soon have cycling tracks. If the Palike can speed up the process of laying the tracks, the cycle-sharing system can connect a huge number of individual commuters with their daily destinations,” said Ashwin.

In phase two of the project, Ashwin plans to propose providing bicycles at residential apartments, public parks and various public places. 

The existing public cycle-sharing projects that have sprung up in the Central Business District have failed to attract cycling enthusiasts. The project, which was implemented by a private firm and the BBMP, has bicycles lying idle in most of its stands.

Details of the registration process and the limit to the number of registered users will be announced in the coming days, said the RACF members.

Ban on motor vehicles proposedHead of Environmental Sciences department, B N Raghunandan, who has been serving the institute for more than 40 years, feels students must be completely debarred from using any motorised vehicle on the campus. There were even plans to ban motor vehicles from entering the campus a year earlier.

“In such matters, there is always some form of resistance from different groups. It has become a social status symbol for the faculty and the students to own cars,” he said.

The arterial roads inside the IISc were laid in 1911 and did not envisage the present vehicular density, says Raghunandan. “There is certainly an increase in congestion over the past few years. Pollution is still not a major problem, but there is cause for concern,” he said.

The century-old buildings on the campus have changed texture and colour because of carbon emissions, says Raghunandan. He says he has plans to block a select few paths inside the IISc for motor vehicles.
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