Written by Mayank Balakrishnan | Edited by Nashwa Naushad
“I don’t have my own vehicle. Does that mean I’m not entitled to space on the street?” In the past, this had been the cry of many in one of Maharashtra’s most prominent upcoming smart cities – Pune. However, over the years, the tides have turned, with the city taking greater efforts to improve walking, cycling and public transportation facilities for its people. Last year’s budget proposal especially, witnessed a paradigm shift in Pune’s transportation expenditure — Rs.397 crores (i.e) over half of the city’s transport budget, was spent on sustainable transport initiatives.
The good news does not end there – this rain of resources will continue to shower in 2017-18, with more funds for achieving the city’s sustrans vision. Rs.534 crores have been assigned for sustainable transportation projects, out of a total transportation budget of Rs. 1040 crores for the city (51%).
Around 52% of a total of Rs. 769 crores spent last year on transportation, was for sustrans projects, as allocated in the 2016-17 budget for Pune. These expenses are materialising today. JM Road, one of the busiest stretches in the city, is being redesigned with wide footpaths and a cycle track on both sides. 21km of BRT construction along with upgradation of the existing Satara Road BRT corridor in the city has been initiated.
Pune is set to make an even bigger leap this year. The sustrans projects to be undertaken with the 2017-18 budget include NMT improvements with Rs.56 crores, in addition to Rs.80 crores allotted for the construction of cycle tracks. The city aims to eventually create over 100km of cycle tracks in a phase-wise manner. The budget also allocates Rs.137 crores to complete on-going BRT redesign and expansion work.
Furthermore, Pune’s Smart City Proposal (SCP) of Rs 1100 crore would be used to create 42 km of cycle tracks, 60 km of redesigned footpaths – 500m of which has been kicked off vibrantly in Aundh on D.P. Road, 8 km of BRT corridor, and for the procurement of E-buses and technology based projects such as command control centers, smart ticketing, smart bus stops, integrated road asset management and developing a traffic app.
Throughout Pune’s sustrans journey so far, ITDP has provided the requested technical assistance to PMC, helping them review street and BRT corridor designs. ITDP will continue to assist the corporation with its future endeavours. Considering the current developments, PMC is sure to continue channelising its resources in the right direction – towards creating a sustainable Pune!
Note: The total transportation budget includes projects by Road department, PMPML and Projects departments
1 Cr = 10 million | 1 US$ = approx. Rs 65