Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Traffic blocks perfect happiness

Traffic blocks perfect happiness

Newly-formed Sarvagnanagar awaits minor corrections for maximum civic comforts

The eight civic wards of Sarvagnanagar constituency have no serious fundamental problems that need urgent attention and big efforts to solve. Most irritants are related to lifestyle issues which could be resolved through a concerted action of the residents, civic agencies and NGOs, writes Vaishalli Chandra

Vaishalli Chandra



All is well… almost. Sarvagnanagar has everything that the urban, young population wants — cafes, restaurants, playgrounds, parks, and lounge bars. But for the pinpricks like occasional water shortage, growling machines on the road and parking woes, the residents here would be the most contented lot in the whole of Bangalore. A perfect address one would like to have.
Youth are not complaining. But they suggest that if the Palike has the will to act, most of the wards here can become role models. Sarvagnanagar comprises Nagavara, HBR Layout, Banasavadi, Kammanahalli, Kacharkanahalli, Kadugondanahalli, Lingarajapura and Maruthi Seva Nagar wards. The place is vibrant. All essential goods and services are available across the counter or on call.
Of the eight civic wards that constitute the assembly entity, the jewel is Kammanahalli. This dazzling commercial hub buzzes with activity all day long. Restaurants and cafes have sprung up on the entire stretch starting from Jal Vayu Vihar to Kammanahalli Main Road. No wonder, it is one of the favourite hangout places of youth. "There're four pizza joints, an Italian restaurant, cafes and bakeries. We often go to the Coffee Day after classes," says 20-year-old Brinda S, a first year engineering student of HKBK College of Engineering.
Not only out-of-town students but also working professionals find the takeaway service available here as a God-sent facility. "We can get anything ordered home whether it is groceries or food," says 28-year-old Ruchika Mahajan, who works in a call centre in Banaswadi.
But the swelling traffic and parking woes play spoilsport. Residents often find their gates blocked by vehicles. Footpaths too are occupied by hawkers and vendors although the youth do savour the pani poori wallahs stationed at vantage points.
"Civic sense and amenities go together," argues 24-year-old Priyanka Blah, who owns a clothing line and is also a musician. Priyanka has been in Kammanahalli for four years. She says that while there is everything one wants in the area, traffic is a major concern. "Garbage and debris thrown on pavements is a curse Bangalore faces today," she adds.
"We need proper multi-level
parking zones," says collegian J
Sridhar, residing in OMBR Layout. "We usually hang out at the ice-cream parlour."
He and his friends are not complaining about the absence of a mall, "Who needs one when all the brands are here. We even have a lounge bar to party," says Sridhar.
Meet the residents of various wards and their talk invariably veers around traffic and parking woes. "We have wide roads but when the traffic enters lanes where schools and colleges are situated, absolute chaos stares at you," says Vishal Rao, a resident of OMBR Layout.
"Badly-lit streets are proving traps to bikers especially when whimsical road-makers put speed-breakers without markings," chips in young Kimberly, who was listening to our talk. There are some who upbraid the young for vrooming around on fancy bikes creating nuisance at unearthly hours.
All this does not mean that the Gen X is happy singing "tra-la-la" all along. Night life is far from their expectations. "We still drive to the old city to party," says Mithun S, a 19-year-old student. "We need more lounge bars like White Tiger."
In fact, there is an exclusive doughnut shop to cater to their sweet craving. "We don't need any malls but would like to have more pubs," Mithun says. Not all agree with him but nobody seems to object to well-run garden restaurants and pubs if they keep the aspirant young creative and happy.
Erratic water supply poses a problem for many areas like Kadugondanahalli, and JVV Apartments. A young resident, Vishal Rao, says rain water harvesting could be the solution. It should not remain on paper but become a mass action, says Rao.
Youth yearn for more public spaces. Although parks are not equitably distributed, not many are complaining. All they want is that they should be more children-friendly. Parks, say residents, are the meeting place of a community where families can bond. The parks are closed in the afternoons though elders are keen on spending time there after their lunch.
Well-planned layouts are an advantage. Sarvagnanagar residents realise this when they see other areas plagued with problems. They feel most of their little problems can be solved if Palike works in association with the residents. Senior residents say civic NGOs too can play a role in this.
The real issue, as Rajasekhar, an architect of Banaswadi, puts it, "is who will take the initiative to bring the stakeholders on a platform for the maximum common good."

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