To combat rising carbon emissions and encourage sustainable transportation, the Capital Development Agency (CDA) has announced plans to construct citywide bicycle lanes across major routes in three carefully planned phases. The decision, driven by a comprehensive project proposal (PC-I), aims to promote cycling as a safe, accessible, and environmentally friendly commuting option for the residents of the federal capital.
Bicycle Lanes in Islamabad
The PC-I, slated for discussion in an upcoming CDA board meeting on Tuesday, underscores the youthful demographic of Islamabad, stating that only 2.73% of the population is above 65 years old. This statistic supports the project’s primary focus on providing a viable transportation alternative for the majority of the population, which is young enough to actively engage with the proposed bicycle lanes.
According to CDA Chairman Anwarul Haq, the objective of the project is to establish a secure citywide bicycle route network, providing an equitable commute option for citizens. The initiative aims to reduce the city’s dependence on conventional modes of transportation, such as cars, by introducing cycling as a practical alternative.
“The intended outcome for the project is an increase in uptake of cycling, reduced reliance on cars, reduced greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles, resulting in a sustainable, eco-friendly, and equitable transportation system in Islamabad,” the PC-I stated.
The proposed bicycle lanes will be implemented in three phases. The first phase, scheduled for February to March 2024, will allocate lanes along prominent routes such as Jinnah Avenue, Margalla Road, and G-7 and G-6. The second phase, planned from May to November 2024, will extend bicycle lanes across the remaining 14 sectors and major avenues. The third and final phase, from December 2024 to February 2025, will see the construction of lanes along Srinagar Highway and Islamabad Expressway (until PWD), accompanied by the introduction of e-bikes.
In addition to reducing carbon emissions, the project aligns with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 13 (Climate Action) and 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities). The initiative aims to improve air quality, mitigate climate change, and invest in safe, inclusive, and sustainable urban development.
The PC-I highlights Islamabad as an ideal site for such infrastructure, being Pakistan’s only planned city. It emphasizes the convenience, time efficiency, affordability, and health benefits of cycling to build ridership and reduce the environmental impact of private vehicles.
“The project is a concentrated effort to reduce the amount and impact of greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles and private vehicles,” the PC-I concluded. It further noted that cities worldwide, including Bangalore, Manila, Tehran, Guangzhou, are making strides in adopting sustainable and eco-friendly transportation to curb their carbon footprint and combat air pollution.
Beyond environmental benefits, the project also addresses the pressing issue of increasing traffic and parking congestion throughout the city, presenting a holistic solution to the evolving transportation needs of Islamabad’s residents.