Mumbai Bicycle Betterment

mumbaiAs one of the world’s densest urban areas, (18 million people), the city of Mumbai, India is choking - from congestion on the roadways and footpaths, and smog that hangs in the hot, humid air.  If an open space appears, it is quickly filled with variety of buildings, vehicles, people, and animals. The city presents a serious lack of public space. Therefore residents gathered in late March at a public forum to discuss how their quality of life could be improved through better bicycle infrastructure.

Faizan Jawed, a young Indian architect and Colin Christopher, an American graduate student, organised the public forum through a new initiative entitled, The Open Bicycle Project. In opposition to the communal divisions of India, the organisers targeted a diverse audience. Discussants ranged from the cosmopolitan, rich English-speaking suburban population to working-class residents who use bicycles for their daily work.

Importance was stressed on raising awareness and action at the grassroots-level and examples pointed of the successes in other Indian cities as encouraging signs of progress.

While bicycle infrastructure and related issues were not taken seriously during this election season, congestion, pollution, and pathways for India’s millions of bicyclists will have to be addressed sooner or later – whether politicians like it or not.

“If we don’t have parking on one side of the street, we can make that space the area for bicycle lanes,” suggested a nine-year-old avid bicyclist.

by Faizan Jawed

One Comment

  1. Serafina Auster Singapuri
    Posted 29 November, 2010 at 09:28 | Permalink

    I don’t know if this has been discussed before…but it would be a great goal for Mumbai’s cycling community to rally behind!

    My dream for Mumbai’s cyclists and pedestrians is the construction of a boardwalk/promenade along Mumbai’s entire coastline. An example to follow is New York City’s bike path system, which encircles most of Manahattan and also has cross-town routes and connections to the surounding areas

    Since some of Mumbai’s coastline already have promenades, these could be connected to make it possible for Mumbai’s citizens to travel around the city on foot or by bycycle with very little contact with cars.

    Both the existing and new sections of the promenade should have lanes (with barriers between) for bicycles and pedestrians. This last point can be implemented in a short time-frame on the existing promenades.

    Thank you and keep up the good work!

    Best regards,

    Serafina Auster Singapuri

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