YCDC takes steps to make Yangon more livable

Yangon City Development Council (YCDC) is moving to make Yangon a livable city by putting a bike lane and bike symbols on the Seikkanthar Street last month with the support of Yangon Heritage Trust (YHT).

“We congratulate them for doing a good thing. It was YCDC’s decision and budget. They deserved to be congratulated for what they did,” Rupert Mann, programmes manager for Built and Cultural Heritage with the Yangon Heritage Trust told The Myanmar Times.

Yangon Heritage Trust has been very interested in public grounds upgrade and upgrading the streets and parks. For quite a long time, YHT included ideas of having a bike lane in their Yangon heritage strategy which was written in 2015 for the new government. At least five years they have been trying to convince the authorities and try to help them to put bike lanes.

“Bike lanes are very important in Yangon because there are two main groups of bicycle users – the people who use the normal bicycles to get around Yangon to work or to school, just to move around the city. But also we have trishaw drivers,” said Rupert Mann.

Trishaw drivers are very important part of Yangon heritage. They are important part of living heritage and important transport for small businesses and also for people and many children go to school in trishaw.

“For normal cyclists, they are very important for health and also to reduce traffic congestion in Yangon. Cycling is healthy, environmental friendly way of moving around, and the more people ride the bike and the less people drive the car. This would impact the environment and have a good impact on local economy,” he said.

Cycling is healthy for Yangon residents. It means that the city will be more livable and the city is the nicer place to live.

“Everyone agrees that less traffic in Yangon, the better for Yangon, the better for economy and the better for health and better for people lives. The less time they spend in the car, the more time they spend with the families and with studying and with relaxing,” he said.

The bike lane on Seikkanthar Street (lower block) is one of the very early ones. YHT asked to get involved in the lane on the Seikkanthar Street about six months ago, helping them with design process and help them during construction.

‘’Hopefully it’s small beginning and we hope they will do many more,” he said.

There are other projects that YHT is supporting but YCDC is not yet ready to announce the public.

“YCDC is very interested in making the city safer for cyclists because traffic is very dangerous and it’s not safe for cyclists to be on the road. It made many people feel scared to bike. If we can make it safer, more people will ride the bike. We hope it will be more soon,” Mann said.

Mann regularly rides his own bike around Yangon. Based on his personal experience, it can be dangerous and very difficult to ride in Yangon.

“Cyclists have no protection. If you are in a car, the car can protect you if you hit something. If a cyclist hits a car, the impact is directly to their bodies. Cyclists are very vulnerable. Cars have to respect them more and give them more distance,” he said.

He said Seikkanthar Street’s lower block is very short and not many people use the street but it is a good starting point and a good demonstration point.

“If we can link public transport like buses and the rail network and we can link bike lanes, this would be great. Someone who lives may be in North Okkalapa or someone quite far away, they can bike to the nearest train station and catch the train downtown and then continue to ride the bike. This is really good. If we can mix public transport and cycling network, it will be much easier for people to move around,” he said.

“Yangon is lucky for cyclists because it is quite flat. It’s not very hilly up and down. It’s a good city to ride your bike,” he added.

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Source: Myanmar Times

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