Thursday, November 19, 2009


Traffic in Bangalore in so deplorable because we underestimated the city’s potential for growth

We have built a reputation as a preferred destination and the increasing migrant population means that congestion is a natural by product of that. But what is perplexing is the state of the roads. It is not just one pothole that needs to be fixed, because within the next six months you will have another in its place. We need to change the contracting system that allows this substandard work to be put in place. The National Highways hand over the contract for the maintenance of a road to a global engineering giant for ten years with an amount specified every year. Duplicate that system which does not give an incentive for quality of work.
Our problems are a legacy that has grown over a period of time for which all of us are to blame - the citizens for their apathy, the administration for making ad hoc decisions and the political system. We grossly underestimated the potential of Bangalore and are now in the soup because of it. With no scientific urban planning in place, we have been addressing a problem only after it becomes a thorn in our flesh.
We have a new airport in Devanahalli that requires most the population to go through the centre of the city to reach it. That is ridiculous. The centre of the city cannot cater to transit needs and should be a destination. We will need three new roads from the east ( going through Whitefield) and west (Nelamangala) and north to allow the people reach it without burdening the centre. We need policy makers to be held accountable for their decisions that will effect the city, not a faceless bureaucrat who will get away with an ad hoc decision.
The idea of a break from development till the infrastructure requirements are met is not possible because development cannot be stopped. But we need to question the implications of the growth without being branded as anti-growth. In the next 15 years Bangalore will add about 8 million people to its already bulging population. There is no way we can handle that strain unless a bold move is taken. Expand the boundaries of the city. Have a Greater Bangalore. Develop Bidadi, Devanahalli as a affordable pockets to absorb these people (like Noida and Gurgaon) because the core of Bangalore will be exhausted. Road widening will become impossible.
Look ahead and see the problems that will arise. Plan for those contingencies, like the metropolis with the best engineering brains will do.


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