Bescom rips cycle lane, footpath built by Smart City

Cyclists point out that this is not the first instance of a newly laid cycle lane being damaged in the name of repair
Last Updated : 23 November 2021, 23:17 IST

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A cycle lane and footpath built under the Smart Cities Mission and opened to the public just a few weeks ago have been partially dug up by Bescom for repairs.

On the 1.5-km stretch spanning Raj Bhavan Road and Race Course Road, Bengaluru Smart City Limited has built a cycle lane into the footpath, on its road-facing side. The cycle lane has been painted bright green and is punctuated with signage in bold white. The idea was to give cyclists a free run, literally, and insulate them from motorised traffic.

Though fragmented, the cycle lane was praised by cyclists as a step towards sustainable mobility. But in just one stroke, Bescom dashed their hopes.

Vinayak, Chief Engineer, Bengaluru Smart City Ltd, blamed it on the lack of interdepartmental coordination but promised that "such confusion will not be there in a few weeks' time".

"For now, I have instructed both the contractor and the agency concerned to repair the footpath and the cycle lane by tomorrow (Wednesday). Failure to do so will attract a penalty," he affirmed.

The infrastructure damage has demoralised citizens.

Cyclists point out that this is not the first instance of a newly laid cycle lane being damaged in the name of repair. Not long ago, the BWSSB had dug up the cycle lane in front of the Khanija Bhavan along Race Course Road.

Srinivas Alavailli of NGO Janaagraha said, "Cyclists should be considered as important as motorists by authorities. If they had considered them like that, such work would have been done without hassling them."

'Bicycle Mayor' Satya Sankaran said an agency like the Bengaluru Metropolitan Land Transport Authority (BMLTA) could fix such issues in the long term.

He urged the government to set up the BMLTA and give it the necessary statutory powers to ensure that expenditure on projects doesn't go to waste. "The BMLTA bill should be passed and the agency should be empowered to demand accountability and make strong rules for interdepartmental coordination," Sankaran said.

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Published 23 November 2021, 19:27 IST

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