ISLAMABAD: Cyclists in the capital can rejoice since they can now ride around the city and take in its picturesque sights at their own leisurely pace and get some much needed physical exercise at the same time. The city’s administration has decided to restore old and build new cycling tracks along some of the main thoroughfares.
Tracks along four main thoroughfares in the city, in the first phase, would be launched in a ceremony at Foreign Office roundabout today (Saturday) with Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation (IMC) Mayor and Capital Development Authority (CDA) Chairman Sheikh Anser Aziz inaugurating the lanes.
Cycling lanes had been included with all the roads built when Islamabad was first constructed. However, over time these lanes fell to disrepair and were either encroached or in certain areas totally vanished.
Restoring these lanes follows a car-less event held in the capital earlier in September when the capital’s residents including diplomats cycled through Constitution Avenue to raise awareness about the effects of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.
Later, after the mayor signed the Green City Charter in October, the capital administration started work on restoring these lanes and building them where they did not exist.
“In the first phase we plan to restore and mark five kilometres of cycling lanes along Constitution Avenue, School Road in F-6, Margalla Road in F-6 and F-7 and on Seventh Avenue but later on this facility would be replicated on other roads too,” CDA Member Administration Suleman Warriach told The Express Tribune.
The capital’s administration is currently busy marking zebra crossings for cyclists to cross main roads safely. But they also have a plan to install signals at different crossings as per international standards.
Despite the administration’s efforts, cyclists would initially have to put up with some broken paths and encroachments, especially along parts of Constriction Avenue and Seventh Avenue.
The administration’s move to restore the cycling track has been welcomed by the capital’s residents.
“It [cycling] is healthy and now children of the capital would get an opportunity for some physical activity instead of sticking on iPods and [sitting] in front of computer screens,” said Islamabad Cycling Association (ICA) General Secretary Haroon General.
He, however, pointed out some roads already had cycling tracks but were not maintained. Further, some of these had been encroached upon by offices, motorists and shopkeepers. At some places, the cycling track was detached from roads while at some places they run right next to the main roads.
Referring to the culture of non-motorised transport (NMT) in developed cities around the world, General said that people prefer cycles because it is cost effective and environmental friendly.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 12th, 2016.