Lalitpur Metropolitan City inaugurates first bike lane in the ValleyThe city is working to promulgate New Cycle Law 2020 to guarantee cycling is the safest mode of transport in the metropolis.
In an attempt to make itself an eco-friendly city, the Lalitpur Metropolitan City on Saturday inaugurated the construction of a 4.7km cycle lane from Kupondole to Mangal bazar.
At the inauguration, Mayor Chiri Babu Maharjan reached Kupondole from the city office riding his 33-year-old bicycle along with dozens of cyclists.
“The lane will come into operation from January,” said Maharjan. The main motive of the campaign is to demotivate the use of petrol-run vehicles in the city, he said, adding the move was “historic”. Talking to the Post, Maharjan also vowed to cycle to his office every day from his home in Bakhundole.
“When I don’t have an emergency, I will ride the bicycle. I am planning to make a new rule that makes it mandatory for officials at the city to come to the office on a bicycle once a week,” said Maharjan. He thinks this initiation will help change the attitude of the people. He further vowed to buy bicycles instead of motorcycles and four-wheelers for LMC officials as well.
Mayor Maharjan currently drives a Toyota Rav-4, a vehicle used by the former mayor of the city Buddhi Raj Bajracharya for two decades. He used the budget (10 million) allocated to purchase a vehicle to buy two water tankers instead.
The first phase of the cycle lane will start from Kupondole, Pulchowk, Jawalakhel, Lagankhel, Mangalbazar for which the city has allocated Rs 5 million.
The city has allocated an additional 5 million for the second phase of the cycle lane, which is set to connect Lagankhel with Godawari.
To formulate the Cycle Act 2020, the city has cooperated with the Nepal Cycle Society, a nonprofit comprising a new generation of urban planners and transport engineers.
“Neither the central nor the federal government has talked about a cycle lane or safety for cyclists till date. By enforcing this law, we want to assure our citizens that cycling is safe in Lalitpur and to encourage everyone to cycle,” said Maharjan.
The city has plans to construct 110 cycle stands in 10 different places. Cycle stands have already been constructed in the Central Zoo, Patan Durbar Square, Patan Hospital and Chaugal.
Nivesh Dugar, 29, environmental engineer and a technician with Nepal Cycle Society, said the new cycle lane will cover 1.2 metre on each side of the road, except on the slope in the Himalayan Hotel, where there will only be one dedicated lane.
“It was in November 2009 that we had started the drive to build cycle lanes in the city. Lalitpur city is finally working to make this a reality,” said Dugar. The group estimates that there are over 150,000 cycle riders in Kathmandu Valley, and they hope that dedicated cycle lanes will help increase the number of cyclists in the city.