SHENZHEN'S transport commission is planning to build 100 kilometers of independent bicycle lanes, which are separate from pedestrian streets, by the end of this year.
In response to Liu Luyu, a deputy to the Shenzhen Municipal People's Congress who made the proposal to restore the city's bicycle lanes, the commission said it is reviewing the city's slow traffic system and will build or restore bicycle lanes on some roads as conditions permit.
Liu, director of the Market and Enterprise Research Center under the Shenzhen Development Institute, had been proposing the restoration of bicycle lanes at the annual sessions of the city's lawmakers over the past 10 years.
"Government agencies, including planning, police, transport and urban administration, have replied over the past years, yet there have been no substantial measures to push forward the proposal," said Liu.
The city's urban administration built greenways to replace bicycle lanes, but Liu thinks that isn't enough as greenways mainly serve for leisure and jogging and don't satisfy commuting needs. With the popularization of app-based bikes, Liu thinks it is imperative to build bicycle lanes, which are separate from pedestrian streets.
"Some countries, like the Netherlands, Japan and France, are promoting bicycles as a major means of commuting and taking measures to encourage residents to use bicycles by improving facilities, making it convenient for bicycle riders to use Metro services and even offering subsidies for buying bicycles," said Liu.
However, Shenzhen canceled bicycle lane projects in past years, causing a mixture of bicycle riders and pedestrians. Liu suggested restoring bicycle lanes in the government's 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020).
The Shenzhen planning authority praised Liu for being forward-looking, especially as the number of app-based bikes reached 520,000 by the end of this April.
The city's slow traffic system was made based on commuting with traditional bikes. The use of bikes for commuting has been sharply increasing following the popularization of app-based bikes.
The transport commission said it would review the plans for a slow traffic system and will plan separate bicycle lanes in their new plans.
But the commission also said it wouldn't be easy to restore bicycle lanes with the city's current road network situation, especially in old urban areas where motorist roads are narrow.