Saturday, August 07, 2010

Well done, Mr Mayor, now please carry it forward

Well done, Mr Mayor, now please carry it forward

You said it. And now it is for the Palike and stakeholders to formulate a plan that leaves minimal scars on the cityscape while facilitating a smoother flow of traffic. They should go in for an 'impact study' of the proposal for the widening of busy streets that involves 35,000 properties of which many are business outlets

Team DNA

'Go back to the drawing board' was the studied advice of the civic experts during the 45 days of relentless campaign DNA undertook to highlight the issues involved in the vexed problem of redrawing the roadmap of Namma Bengaluru.
In the backdrop of mayor SK Nataraj's announcement on Friday that the BBMP will leave out those stretches from road widening where large swathes of residences are involved, it comes both as a challenge and opportunity for the Palike and city stakeholders to thrash out a path that leaves minimal scars on the cityscape while facilitating a smoother traffic flow.
The call to get back to the board room and review the project which many civic experts, especially Rajeev Chandrasekhar, MP, and V Ravichandar of Feedback consulting, had given means that the Palike should go in for an 'impact study' of the widening of busy streets that involves 35,000 properties of which 5,000 are business outlets.
It is argued by most that road widening is only one of the tools, not the tool for urban living. Other ways such as optimum spatial use, scientific traffic control, underground passage and flyovers are to be treated simultaneously so that the needs of a growing city for the next quarter century are taken care of.
A road, they have pointed out, is not merely a passage for vehicles but is a vibrant living entity where all citizens from pedestrians to the hawkers have a stake.
"Inner part of any proud city in the world is allowed to retain its characteristic heritage," argues Air Deccan Founder Capt GR Gopinath.
Most cities in the world have made the core city closed to automobiles and sustain the ecological and geographical features of that city. Bangalore has a loveable ambience and had a colourful history. No urban planning should allow it to disappear, says Capt Gopinath. In fact, he represents the voice of Bangalore lovers who say development should not be anti-nature. Pedestrian paths, cyclist paths, and a good bus service that goes circular instead of point-to-point will subdue the snarls of traffic, they say.
What the neutral political leaders, industry captains, residents and experts informed the DNA in the past one-and-a-half-month could be summed up in 'sutras' which the BBMP could do and gain the gratitude of 10 million people of Bangalore. They are as follows.
Study the current volume of traffic and assess the road capacity now. This would help draw a traffic map pointing out the worst bottlenecks and future needs. Rationalise bus service accordingly to make public transport, including Metro rail, take a huge portion of the traffic load off the roads.
Plan a scientific traffic control systemby synchronising signals to prevent traffic pileup. Help relocate the people who will lose their livelihood rather than thrusting TDR on small property owners.
Make the Palike plan of road totally transparent with every inch explained so that there is not a spot of opacity in the whole scheme. Disallow unlawful construction which would also mean giving up Akrama Sakrama .
Each road marked for widening should have its profile studied and consultation initiated to minimise damage to property and landscape including heritage buildings.Subhashini, wife of martyr Col Vasanth Venugopal, whose residence on Sankey Road was marked for road widening, and her parents rejoice over the news that the project would not be taken up —A Veeramani


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