500 metres of busy Ring Road now sports a gleaming cycle track, walkway with LED lights

The rubber-coated cycle track with blinking LED lights, and a separate pedestrian walkway, along a 500m stretch of the busy Ring Road in south Delhi is hard to miss these days.

The effort is a part of the public works department (PWD)’s plan for beautification of roads on a pilot basis. The PWD has created a 2.5m-wide rubber-coated cycle track and a separate pedestrian path along a 500m stretch of the Ring Road, from Nehru Nagar to Sriniwaspuri.

They have also installed benches in the open space on the roadside near bus stops along with decorative streetlights. The pedestrian pathway is about three metres wide and has been paved with interlocking tiles.

The PWD officials said the whole beautification drive is part of the Delhi government’s bigger project to redevelop and redesign Delhi roads to meet European standards. “A 3km stretch between Ashram and Moolchand on the Ring Road has been chosen for a pilot exercise involving redesigning of road and creating cycling and pedestrian facilities. The work was started over a month ago, and till now, we have laid down a synthetic cycle track over a 500m stretch. The work is still ongoing. In the first phase, we will start similar works on two more road stretches in east Delhi,” a PWD official, who wished not to be named, said.

The official said the other two stretches where such exercises will be taken up in the first phase include a 3km stretch of Vikas Marg –between Laxmi Nagar and Karkardooma –and the other will be 2km stretch of Narwana Road, near Mother Dairy in east Delhi.

“After developing these stretches on a pilot basis, we will further take up six more roads for redesigning and redevelopment in the second phase. All these roadworks will be the part of the government’s bigger project to redesign 540km length of road in the city by 2023,” the official quoted above said.

Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal earlier this week had announced that the process of appointing a consultant for redesigning 540km Delhi roads, to match those in European cities, has been completed and a detailed project report will be readied by February 2021.

On the 500m stretch that was recently developed, the PWD has installed decorative streetlights having tricoloured illumination. To ensure that motorists, especially two-wheeler riders, do not ride on the newly developed cycle track and pathway, the PWD has put in bollards at the entry and exit points of the track. A Delhi government official said PWD minister Satyendar Jain had also inspected the newly developed stretch earlier this week to review the progress.

The PWD said the redevelopment will not only remove traffic bottlenecks but also create cycle lanes, wide footpaths, parking for rickshaws, open spaces for the public, and have in place attractive street furniture for pedestrians and public transport users.

The redesign has already earned positive reviews from the publics.“Earlier, the footpath was broken and it was occupied either by two-wheelers or vendors, but now the stretch has got a new life. One can walk freely or ride a bicycle. More stretches should be redeveloped along similar lines,” Neelesh Rana, a resident of Nehru Nagar and a regular cyclist, said.

Anuj Malhotra, knowledge partner, Union home ministry, who has helped different agencies in various pedestrianisation projects, also welcomed the initiative and said similar facilities should be developed on more road stretches so that cycling can be promoted. “This is a wonderful initiative by the PWD. With such dedicated cycle tracks and pathways, cyclists and pedestrians will feel safe. The government should also focus on repairing the existing footpaths and cycle tracks. The government should make efforts to integrate new cycle tracks with the existing ones to create a seamless network for non-motorised transport,” Malhotra said.

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