Palike draws bike lanes on tree lines

Double take

Palike draws bike lanes on tree lines

But the civic body also wants to fell over 850 trees in the name of road widening around the same location, a project for which it has drawn flak from the City’s environmentalists and tree lovers.

The BBMP has already a proposal to the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms (DPAR) to seek the consent of the advocate general before it moves the Supreme Court and seek the go-ahead to fell the old trees that would make way for the Rs 38-crore road-widening project.

While on the one hand by laying an eco-friendly wheeled transit the BBMP believes it can offer Bangaloreans quality of life, on the other, the Palike’s plans to give the City wider roads at the cost of green will likely heighten the simmering resistance from environmentalists. Part of the BBMP’s concern for cyclists stems from the City’s increasingly polluted air, aggressive motorists and pervasive lack of respect for traffic laws which do not make Bangalore’s streets very safe for two-wheelers.

The tree felling and bike path construction plans are on the BBMP’s drawing board and subject to clearances. But if all goes the Palike’s way, an unhindered and dedicated path for bicycles will be ready in the next six months. 

Once Bellary and Jayamahal roads are widened, the civic body’s road-widening plans around Palace Ground would be part of its “pedestrian friendly” initiative.

Justifying the felling of trees, which include precious ones like teakwood, BBMP Commissioner Siddaiah told Deccan Herald that there was no other alternative. “We have to either give up the formation of a widened road or cut these trees. With great difficulty we had the approval of the Yuvaraja of the Wodeiyar family to acquire the land for the project. There are no two ways about it,” he said, adding that the Palike was trying to avoid felling as many trees as possible.

And yet, the bike lane, which some may consider as an ‘‘incentive’’ from the road widening project, is all set to be a timely experiment for the City. “It will set a benchmark for an eco-friendly ride for the citizens,” Siddaiah said. The Palike commissioner said that the BBMP will consider more cycle lanes where ever land was available.
Cyclists are upbeat over the prospects of the bike path. Rohan Kini, a member of the Bangalore Bikers’ Club said the bike path will be a source of inspiration for people to commute on bicycles on the City’s streets.

But Kini cringed when asked whether the environmental costs of felling 856 trees would equal the pleasure of using the bike path. “Well, then it will not be worthwhile. The BBMP might look at other options for laying a bike path,” he said.
DH News Service

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