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    Citizens turn investigators to help Doddanakundi become cycle friendly

    Published on February 24, 2021

    Bengaluru: In an effort to make Bengaluru’s Doddanekundi ward cycle-friendly, citizens have come together to support the ‘Handlebar Survey’, a unique initiative under the Directorate of Urban Land Transport’s (DULT) Sustainable Mobility Accord (SuMA). This initiative is supported by Sensing Local, an Urban Living Lab that works towards tackling environmental challenges in Indian cities, in collaboration with Bengaluru Moving, a campaign that is aimed at seeing an overall reduction in vehicular emissions over the next few years. The campaign is being strategically being rolled out in phases by different organisations on ground and has used a range of creative tactics like art, music, sports, and tech to bring in more voices on board.

    The ‘Handlebar Survey’, launched on 31st January 2021, was conducted over a week to capture the cycling experience on Doddanekundi’s roads across peak and non-peak hours, at different times of the day. A first-of-its-kind initiative in Bengaluru, it involved 25 cyclists from different age-groups, gender, and cycling experience riding along 58 kms of identified roads in the Doddanekundi Ward to evaluate the feasibility of them being converted to a cycle-friendly network. These surveys are essentially a planning audit tool curated to capture both quantitative and qualitative aspects along the cycling routes, thus collecting comprehensive data from the cyclists through their experiences. The results from the survey are intended to help arrive at a pilot stretch for implementation and will also influence the type of design strategies for cycling infrastructure going forward.

    “The interest among residents to have good cycling and pedestrian-friendly infrastructure came up a year ago. As part of Doddanekundi rising, we have been pushing for sustainable infrastructure with BBMP and the local Corporator and political leadership. We always had a challenge of acceptance with respect to cycling. Currently, with this initiative, it is going to help us get good cycling infrastructure across the ward. It has been supported recently after DULT started the SuMA program.”, said Clement C. Jayakumar, founder of Doddanekundi Rising (citizens group)

    Ann Jacob, Senior Urban Designer at DULT and a participant in the Handlebar Survey added, “SuMA is the natural next step, looking at a more prolonged engagement with dedicated community partners to create local impact. We are putting in cycling infrastructure at the city scale through the arterial roads, however, all this is meaningless if you are not able to cycle or walk from home to these safe cycling routes. That sort of work cannot be done with a top-down approach but rather really need to understand local struggles and find strategic solutions to make an impact.”

    Cycle-friendly Doddanekundi is an on-going project, in collaboration with Doddanekundi Rising (a community collective of Residents Welfare Associations (RWAs) in Doddanekundi) born out of a larger proposal submitted by the community under SuMA, an initiative of DULT, promoting sustainable mobility at a neighbourhood scale. The aim is to improve first/last mile connectivity and enable a modal shift towards cycling in the area, as well as in the city at large.