Monday, March 28, 2005

`Do not turn Garden City into a Rail City'

`Do not turn Garden City into a Rail City'

The Hindu

BANGALORE, MARCH 27. The idea of an elevated rail snaking its way through M.G. Road is not acceptable, and the Government must plan the ambitious Metro Rail Project with sensitivity to aesthetics, retaining landmarks that give Bangalore its character, Ramachandra Gowda, MLC, said here on Sunday.

The Bharatiya Janata Party legislator told presspersons: "Let us not turn Bangalore from Garden City into a Rail City". Neither an elevated system, nor ground-level tracks should mar the vista that M.G. Road offers as the showcase of Bangalore. Kempegowda Road and the Indiranagar 100 feet Road too should be spared the consequences of such visual assault, he said.

Apart from the aesthetics, Mr. Gowda said, while the Metro Rail is needed badly for Bangalore with its burgeoning population and the unprecedented increase in the volume of traffic, the project has many flaws and does not appear to take into account the projected increase in transport needs of Bangalore.

For instance, he said, the norm when the Government sets out on a massive project of this kind is to call for global expression of interest. The object of this exercise will be to access all available and choose the best one or a combination of different solutions and act in the best interests of the city.

Earlier studies

He said the fate that befell the Metro suburban and circular rail projects, the report of which was submitted in 1983, but has not been shared by the Government, should not recur, and urged the Government to take the citizens of Bangalore into confidence.

He demanded a white paper on the transport and traffic management for Bangalore.

The Government should come out with an action plan for the next 10 years on the traffic management for Bangalore, projecting the estimated increase in the volume of traffic for every six-month period.

Panel sought

A high-power committee must be set up to go over the project, the action plan and all other aspects of all solutions to the traffic problems in the long-term well as short term. Mr. Gowda also wanted the Government to involve prominent citizens of Bangalore, well-known town planners and the architects of Bangalore who have seen Bangalore's overnight decline into an urban sprawl.

Today, the City's problems include over concentration of activities in specific locations' inadequate transport infrastructure facilities, absence of mass transpiration system, traffic volume in excess of roads' carrying capacity, ill-managed traffic intersections, reduced journey speeds resulting in traffic congestion, obstructions on pavements, pushing pedestrian on to the roads, absence of roads that give speedy access across the heart of the City, parking problems.

Mr. Gowda harks back a time when Bangalore was different.

In 1988, 18,000 pedestrians walked in front of Santosh theatre every hour during the peak hours of traffic; Gupta Market says 12,000 people come and go every hour; and 6,000 people crossed the road in from of Kempe Gowda talkies in one hour.


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