To solve parking woes, CJI says pedal to work

July 31, 2014

New Delhi:



 `Lawyers With Offices Nearby Can Use Cycles’

If the severe parking problem inside Supreme Court complex is not sorted out soon, then lawyers having offices nearby , including senior advocate Harish Salve, may have to explore the option of cycling down to the court after parking their cars in their offices.An initiative to solve the parking problem inside the court premises was started with a PIL 14 years ago as the increasing number of cars had started to choke the complex’s limited parking space on big litigation days ­ Mondays and Fridays.

More than 12 years ago, then solicitor general Harish Salve and then additional solicitor general Mukul Rohatgi had on July 10, 2002 told the court that they would hold consultations with all stakeholders and the SC’s administrative side to chalk out a long-term plan to solve the problem. On Wednesday, solicitor general Ranjit Kumar said the parking problem would be solved once the new court complex came up on the land allotted to the SC.

A bench of Chief Justice R M Lodha and Justices Kurian Joseph and R F Nariman said the project “as on date has been delayed by a year because of paucity in funds”.

“It may take 10 years to complete. All depends on the money provided by the government. This is a very serious problem,” the bench said and requested Kumar to do everything possible to solve it. The SG said the ACP (traffic) has expressed inability to do anything to solve the

parking problem inside the court complex. “The Central Public Works Department is the executor of the project.

If it gives the break-up of funds needed for speedy completion of the project (on Appu Ghar land), we can approach the ministry concerned for funds.” The CJI asked whether it would be possible for advocates with offices nearby to use cycles to come to court.

The SG said given the heavy flow of traffic around the court, it would be impossible for lawyers to cycle to court.

Justice Lodha said, “We cannot become traffic inspectors. You (SG) must come out with something concrete. We get the impression from the bar associations that the government is avoiding this issue.” The SG said he had a meeting with the parties concerned and was hopeful that in six weeks, a solution to the problem could be found.



The city is yours on Sunday

July 23, 2014

 The Times of India (Delhi)


After Gurgaon, it is Delhi’s turn to reclaim the streets. In a unique initiative to promote sustainable public transport, Delhi Police and New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) along with civic society members are organizing Raahgiri Day at Connaught Place on Sunday. The event, which will be organized on every Sun day morning, is supported by The Times of India.Raahgiri is a unique concept to free up a section of the city’s roads from traffic once a week and open it up to citizens to walk, cycle, jog, skate, or even dance. On Sunday , the event will start with a mega cycle rally followed by a wide range of cultural and sports events, including musical performances by Manzil Group and Delhi Drummers, a rock band.For the rally, rent-free cycles will be avail able at the venue for visitors. Delhi Police will cordon off Inner Circle in Connaught Place and parts of Kasturba Gandhi Marg for motorists from 6am to 9am to provide space for cyclists, joggers and skaters.

Muktesh Chander, special commissioner of police (traffic), said, “The aim is to promote walking and cycling. More than 50% of the road fatalities involve cyclists and pedestrians. This is an opportunity for all of us to make city roads safer for cyclists and pedestrians.There is a need to create adequate infrastructure for them”.

Modelled on the Ciclovia festival of Bogota in Colombia—a weekly event that’s been held for more than three decades now— Raahgiri aims at promoting sustainable transport and encourage people to engage in outdoor activity. “The idea is to encourage cycling and walking among residents and also promote the use of public transport to de-clutter city roads. We want people to engage in outdoor activity. People can come out and enjoy on a Delhi road,” said Jalaj Srivastava, chairman, NDMC.

In Gurgaon, NGOs like Embarq India have been successfully organizing Raahgiri Day where people come and take part in all kinds of outdoor activities. “Delhi is critical when it comes to urban planning and transport. We want the government to keep pedestrians and cyclists in mind while planning urban infrastructure. It is equally important to encourage people to indulge in outdoor activities. Through Raahgiri, we

Modelled on the Ciclovia festival of Bogota in Colombia–a weekly event that’s been held for more than three decades now-Raahgiri aims at promoting sustainable transport and encourage people to engage in outdoor activity. “The idea is to encourage cycling and walking among residents and also promote the use of public transport to de-clutter city roads. We want people to engage in outdoor activity . People can come out and enjoy on a Delhi road,“ said Jalaj Srivastava, chairman, NDMC.In Gurgaon, NGOs like Embarq India have been successfully organizing Raahgiri Day where people come and take part in all kinds of outdoor activities. “Delhi is critical when it comes to urban planning and transport. We want the government to keep pedestrians and cyclists in mind while planning urban infrastructure. It is equally important to encourage people to indulge in outdoor activities. Through Raahgiri, we want to promote road safety, a pollution-free city, active lifestyle and inclusive development,’’ said Amit Bhatt, head of transport at Embarq India.

Bhatt added, “In Gurgaon, we started the event on a 4-km long stretch in November. Today, it is organized every Sunday on a 15-km stretch. It is a huge hit here (Gurgaon) and is attended by thousands of people not only from Gurgaon but also from Delhi”.

Apart from Gurgaon, the event has been successfully organized in Ludhiana, Mumbai and Pune.

transport at Embarq India.Bhatt added, “In Gurgaon, we started the event on a 4-km long stretch in November. Today , it is organized every Sunday on a 15-km stretch. It is a huge hit here (Gurgaon) and is attended by thousands of people not only from Gurgaon but also from Delhi“.

Apart from Gurgaon, the event has been successfully organized in Ludhiana, Mumbai and Pune.

Hawking zones likely on bicycle tracks, on-street parking space

July 23, 2014

Prasad Kulkarni,TNN

PUNE: Roadside parking, even unused cycle tracks in the city, can soon be the place for hawkers to do business. The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is contemplating such a move to rehabilitate vendors.

“There are 20,000 hawkers who have to be settled. The civic administration does not have enough space to rehabilitate them, so various options such as cycle tracks have been considered. The officials are also looking at an option to accommodate hawkers in some parking places,” said sources at PMC’s anti- encroachment department.

The sources said there are some roads where people park their vehicles, unofficially. They will be converted into parking and some section will be given to hawkers. In some cases, the existing roadside parking space will also be used.

The civic administration has made markings on some cycle tracks which some activists and political leaders have opposed. “The administration is considering the use of cycle track space which has met with little opposition. The hawkers will be allowed to operate from the cycle tracks provided they are not a nuisance to traffic or pedestrians,” a senior PMC official said.

The PMC has developed a network of cycle tracks and footpaths from SNDT College to Prabhat Road, Fergusson College to Sant Dnyaneshwar Paduka mandir and Model Colony to University Road using JNNURM funds.

Additional commissioner Rajendra Jagtap said the civic administration has not taken any final call on these moves. “There are some options which we will consider on a pilot basis. A committee designated for this purpose will decide. A meeting of all the stake holders will be conducted before a final decision,” he told TOI.

As per the Supreme Court order on September 13, 2013, and directives of the state government’s urban development department on October 21, 2013, the civic administration has to allow all vendors to do their business. Accordingly, the PMC has planned hawkers’ zones across the city. The PMC administration had also decided to do a biometric census and provide all hawkers with UID numbers.



NDMC keen on more cycle tracks

July 23, 2014



NEW DELHI: To promote non-motorized transport, New Delhi Municipal Council has sought help from Delhi Integrated Multi-modal Transit System (DIMTS) in identifying stretches that can be made cyclist-friendly. The idea is to create space without disrupting traffic on arterial roads.”Where continuous tracks can’t be provided, we want DIMTS to find a way of crossing over to the other side. We have requested it to be the consultant for the project,” said O P Mishra, director (projects). The NDMC area has few stretches where cyclists can ride freely.The civic agency and police, along with Embarq India, a non-profit organization, are organizing Raahgiri Day every Sunday to promote cycling and walking. The event is supported by The Times of India. The first Raahgiri Day on July 13 received an overwhelming response with close to 3,000 people from the NCR participating in the event. The venue is Connaught Place’s Inner Circle.

Recently, NDMC developed five cycling tracks: Lodhi Road and Lodhi Garden area, Tilak Marg, Mandir Marg, Zakir Hussain Marg, and India Gate Hexagon. “These tracks have been developed keeping in mind the traffic volume so that cyclists can ride for long distances,” said an NDMC official.

Urban planners and road safety experts have been pushing for safer infrastructure for pedestrian and cyclists for long. Efforts like Raahgiri, which aims at promoting sustainable transport, will encourage people to reclaim the streets, experts said.

“We want people to come out and take back what is rightfully theirs. The Delhi government should factor in the needs of pedestrians and cyclists while formulating plans. Outdoor activities are no less important. Through Raahgiri, we want to promote a safe and pollution-free city, an active lifestyle and inclusive development,” said Amit Bhatt, head of transport at Embarq India.

Traffic cops have been doing their bit for cyclists and pedestrians. “In the absence of defined paths, cyclists enter the motorists’ lanes. Cycle tracks developed during CWG have not been used. We have come up with drives raise awareness among cyclists,” said Mukhtesh Chander, special commissioner of police (traffic).



Raahgiri Day celebrated at Connaught Place’s Inner Circle, in Delhi

July 15, 2014

Aanchal Tuli & Saloni Bhatia, TNN |


Meenakshi Lekhi leading the cyclists at the cycle rally

 After much anticipation, Gurgaon’s famous Raahgiri Day made its Delhi debut at Connaught Place’s Inner Circle, this Sunday morning. Delhiites from all corners of the city started arriving at the event location as early as 6am. An hour later, the stage was crowded, there was music in the air and happy Delhi Raahgirs were cycling all around the circle. While the majority drove down to the event, there were also brave ones who rode their bikes from areas as far off as Dwarka and Yamuna Vihar.

 From cycle rallies to zumba sessions, street football to gym training, there was something for everyone here. The heat and humidity failed to deter the spirit of people who walked around the circle participating in all the activities. The zumba stage, set-up by fitness partner Reebok, was one of the most popular places to be in and the crowd danced to original zumba tracks as well as Honey Singh numbers. The equipment space had trained gym instructors guiding people on using weights and machines and the kickboxing arena had state level players showing off their moves.Aastha, who came to the event with her group of friends from Dwarka, told us, “I read about the event in the paper and somehow managed to convince everyone to get up early for once and come for this event. And this has been an awesome morning. My favourite was the zumba arena and we’re going to come back next week too.”

But for the Raahgirs, more than the activities, it was the freedom to walk on the streets of Connaught Place that was important. Like Sandeep who had come in with his wife and skating enthusiast daughter from Janak Puri, told us, “We had stopped coming to Connaught Place months ago because of the traffic and the messy situation. This is the first time in years that I can actually stand on a road here and look around and enjoy the original charm of this place. This is the Connaught Place that I want to show to my daughter.”

Ravi and Anup, who took the Metro from Noida, added, “CP is the perfect place for an event like this because it is the central point for everyone. I don’t remember the last time I walked on this busy road without having to worry about speeding cars running us down. You can see such a cross section of people here and we’ve never seen Delhi roads come alive like this.”

Students For Peace, a student group, performed a street play and a flash mob-style dance in front of a cheering audience. In fact, the emcee, Madhukar, got people from the audience to talk about what motivated them to come for the event. There was also a nukkad natak staged by a Gurgaon-based firm Nagarro Software on the theme of active commuting and the benefits of cycling. Round two of the cycle rally followed by a performance by the Delhi Drum Circle concluded the first week of Delhi Raahgiri on an energetic note and the participants headed to the restaurants nearby for breakfast.

Robin King, WRI – Ross Centre for Suitable Cities, Washington, was quite impressed with the initiative and said, “I feel this is great. Streets are for people and they should enjoy them. My husband has grown up in Delhi and he used to tell me about CP, and even when I have been here, I have always seen vehicles moving around. I have never seen CP like this where people are cycling, working out and jogging.” SK Lohia, former OSD and ex- officio joint secretary (urban transport) at Ministry Of Urban Development said, “I have been to Gurgaon’s Raahgiri and it’s a dream come true to see Raahgiri happening in CP. When I was with Ministry Of Urban Development and we had sanctioned the redevelopment plan for CP in 2006, we wanted a space for cyclists and pedestrians. Today, this is happening in the heart of India, the heart of Delhi, CP. In fact, the response has been so good and people have turned out in huge numbers despite the heat.”

Jalaj Srivastava, the NDMC chairman, said, “It’s quite hot today. Hopefully, there will be rains next time. People will enjoy cycling and playing soccer in the rains. This will generate good business for eating joints in CP and areas like Bengali Market, because after participating here, people will head to these places for breakfast. I guess some of the places will start opening a little early, so as to get customers. Also, families can come here and work out together and there are so many options available and that too, free of charge.”

Meenakshi Lekhi, MP, New Delhi Lok Sabha constituency, also led the cycle rally. “I don’t know after how long I am cycling. Give me some time to get my balancing act right,” she exclaimed. She added, “You cannot cycle or skate in parks. For some sports, you need the streets and this is what Raahgiri has done. It is stuffy but sweating is not bad for health. I think all our potassium and sodium levels will be balanced. This will be developing into a rocking concept.” Muktesh Chander, special commissioner of police (Traffic), said, “This is something which is happening in Delhi for the first time. Delhi needed something like this and there couldn’t have been a better place than CP to start off.”


Police plan reflective stickers on bicycles

October 25, 2013

Hindustan Times (Delhi)

Subhendu Ray  

NEW DELHI: The traffic police are planning a drive to paste “retroreflective tapes” on the rear mudguards of the cycles that ply on city roads.



Cyclists can often be seen jostling for space with cars, buses, three-wheelers and commercial vehicles.

This, the force believes, will increase the visibility of cycles in the dark and save cyclists from being mowed down. Around 100 cyclists die in road accidents each year in the Capital.

Around 12 lakh cycles ply on city roads especially in industrial areas and resettlement colonies. Bicycles are the preferred mode of transport for slum dwellers and labourers.

“We will start the drive in a week and deploy special teams in areas where people use bicycles to commute. In the first phase, we will affix one lakh stickers on cycles,” said additional commissioner of police (traffic) Anil Shukla.

Traffic police personnel will stop cyclists on roads and put the stickers on them.

Some of the colonies where the special teams will be deployed to affix stickers include Sangam Vihar, Deoli, Khanpur, Wazirabad, Silampur, Shastri Park, Badarpur, Mangolpuri, Sanjay Gandhi Transport Nagar at Rohini and Mayapuri.

Till October 15, 67 cyclists had lost their lives in road accidents in Delhi. Last year, 90 cyclists were killed in 89 road accidents.

According to the traffic police, cyclists are the third most vulnerable road users after pedestrians and two-wheeler riders.

Uneven and broken surface of cycle tracks, discontinuation of the tracks, encroachment by makeshift shops and parked cars, pillars on tracks and poor visibility often lead to the deaths of cyclists.

“We are hopeful that the proposal will be accepted and installation of such tapes in bicycles will become mandatory,” said KK Kapila, chairman, the International Road Federation.



Little space for cyclists incity of four-wheelers

October 25, 2013

Hindustan Times (Delhi)   HT Correspondent [email protected]

APATHY Govt has prepared an action plan to encourage people to walk and cycle, but its execution isn’t likely soon


NEW DELHI: Despite frequent fatalities, non-motorised mobility, which essentially involves cycling and walking, has not been a priority for the government.

The government prepared an action plan several years ago to discourage car usage and encourage people to walk and cycle, but it does not look like reaching the execution stage anytime soon.

The urban sprawl of Delhi means increased distances, forcing more and more people to use cars. This has led to the creation of massive carcentric infrastructure.

“Flyovers, signal-free corridors and foot overbridges destroy chances of safe walking and cycling. Even more people are forced to use cars. And the vicious cycle continues,” said Anumita Roychowdhury of Centre for Science and Environment.

“Cyclists are being edged out systematically to make way for cars — sometimes literally,” said a statement from the CSE, whose director-general Sunita Narain was on Sunday hit and injured by a car while she was cycling.

The action plan says: “We need to expand non-motorised transport to reduce automobile dependence through massive expansion in walking and cycling network to improve lastmile connectivity. We need street design guidelines and robust laws to protect pedestrians and cyclists, besides reviewing and implementing the bicycle master plan.”

“The plan which also asks for safety audits of pedestrians and cycling lanes has been put on hold because it also provides for heavy penalty for violations. The political leadership feels its implementation may not be a good idea in an election year,” admitted a senior government official.

In Delhi, a large number of cyclists can be seen every day, jostling for spacewith cars, twowheelers, buses, three-wheelers and commercial vehicles.

“More than 50 per cent of total trips in a day is less than 6km. That means there is a lot of scope and potential to promote cycling,” said Nalin Sinha, a transport expert.

In a city where a large number of people depend on private vehicles to travel shorter distances and to reach bus terminals and Metro stations, cycle and cycle sharing can offer a reliable transport system. But Delhi lacks the basic infrastructure and a conducive atmosphere.

“A fine network of streets, which are only for non-motorised transport, provide shorter connection and cut through the urban fabric,” said Anuj Malhotra, an expert in nonmotorised traffic.

“Providing adequate and safe walking and cycling infrastructure are the primary obligations of city governments and municipal authorities. The government will have to spend only a fraction of its flyover or elevated road budget to develop safe and segregated bicycle lanes and cyclist-friendly infrastructure and facilities in the entire city,” Sinha said.

Delhi registers an average of 100 deaths every year due to road accidents involving bicycles.