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Could Delhi Transform Its Polluted Canal System Into Verdant Bikeways?

10:44 AM EDT on April 27, 2010

Thanks this morning to City Parks Blog for tipping us off to this CNN report on what could be a revolutionary initiative in Delhi, India (you'll have to sit through a BASF ad to watch the video).

Architect Manit Rastogi is hoping to transform the city's polluted network of drainage canals, or nullahs, into clear-flowing streams with bicycle and pedestrian paths running alongside.

The project, says Rastogi, is about "fixing Delhi" with a holistic approach that's not just about clean water. It is also, he says, fundamentally about addressing "the lack of engagement of the people of the city with the city itself" by creating a safe infrastructure for non-motorized transportation. If Rastogi can get Delhi's recalcitrant bureaucracy to cooperate (yes, that's a big if) three pilot projects could be up and running by the end of the year.

In a city of 17 million that that adds 1,000 cars every day -- and where 47 percent of traffic fatalities are pedestrians -- it could be transformative. And it could also be replicated, in the developing world and in industrialized nations.

More from around the network: Bike Delaware News assesses the impact of complete streets legislation a year after it was signed into law. I Bike T.O. has an in-depth analysis of bike safety, vehicular cycling and the politics thereof. And How We Drive asks, what if everyone in the airport got to ride in those cool little carts? Wouldn't it be kind of like car culture?

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