Paucity of funds: Adding cycling lanes remains an elusive dream

ISLAMABAD: The dream of adding cycling-lane to Capital’s roads and highways remains elusive, apparently due to paucity of funds and indecisiveness on part of the civic agency.

The idea, floated to help lessen traffic rush and eventually promote environment-friendly conveyance in the federal capital, is yet to materialise despite the rhetoric of adding lanes to every main road of the capital two years back.

Some residents passionately called for adding a cycling lane along each road of the Margalla city. They said it would definitely promote the healthy activity, besides ensuring safety of the public.

“The cycling trend has vanished across the country during the past some decades due to availability of cars and buses,” said Ali Ahmed, a student of Master of Science.

He said that people were less concerned about their health. “I still ride bicycle to university and plan to continue for the sake of my own health,” Ahmed said.

Shayan Saeed, another student of intermediate, suggested that the cycling was a better option for teenage students who had to manage daily affairs with meagre resources. “We, the youth, must encourage this mode of transportation by keeping in mind the climate change factor,” he added.

Dr Mohammad Shafeeq, a cardiologist, said that four out of 10 people were suffering from cardiovascular diseases and diabetes that had somehow become an issue for the medical fraternity.

Stressing on exercise to avoid chronic ailments, he said: “Cycling is one of the best forms of aerobic exercises that helps to burn extra calories, improving metabolism, and balancing blood sugar level.”

Islamabad Traffic Police (ITP) spokesperson said the use of the bicycle was no more in the picture.

He said there was a need to promote cycle as a mode of transport through awareness campaigns. The ITP’s education unit was fully cooperating with some private organisations and providing assistance to them in their activities with regard to such campaigns, he added.

A CDA official said that the cycling-lanes were added to three major roads, including Margalla Road, Constitution Avenue and Seventh Avenue  under Islamabad Green Charter Programme two years ago.

He admitted that the mayor had vowed to introduce these lanes at major road, but it could be not carried out due to paucity of  funds.

Uzma Saeed, an environmentalist, sharing her experience in Euorpean countries, said she witnessed large number of bicycles on the roads for which lanes had been specified. “We should specify the lanes first; then go for the awareness,” she added.

She urged the youth to opt for cycling as large part of the country’s population consisted of youngsters.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 18th, 2018.

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