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CTTP Bangalore - Still some weaknesses

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TrafficPublic Transport

Whilst this is obviously an elaborate study, the recommendations for Mass Transit systems still raises a few questions :

Given that installation costs are very high for Metro systems, this mode of travel, offering a great deal of conveniences, is bound to be relatively expensive with higher ticket pricing, particularly in India with lower levels of incomes across a huge section of the population. This may be used for daily /regular commutes by quality seeking commuters, typically high tech professionals, businessmen, traders, office goers, school /college going staff /students, etc. – the same higher income groups that are presently using private motorized vehicles & are sensitive to traffic delays, seek flyovers & make demands for urban expressways – generally the growing middle & upper middle classes. In order to sway them to use this system, the prevalent undercharging for road use needs to be changed in steps with the improvements in public transport. Sufficient deterrents, though politically sensitive, have to be pushed in place (such as road /bridge /fly-over tolls, high parking fees, high vehicle taxes, etc.).

The very large no. of salesmen, the delivery men, the unskilled workers & the laborers will obviously still choose to use cheaper public buses, commuter rail or bicycles for their daily commute or errands instead of the more expensive Metro rail, for which some provisions are required to be made.

There are limitations for Commuter rail as it can only run where tracks already exist. Similarly, Rapid Bus systems have restrictions since they can be run only where road width is sufficient to provide dedicated lanes. The Metro also has certain restrictions in that they can be run only along wider roads with medians for installing viaducts & stations, since costs for land acquisition are prohibitive, apart from objections & agitation by land losers.

Thus, Mass transit corridors, particularly Metro corridors need to be appropriately planned, bearing all these factors in mind. In this scenario, the questions that arise are as follows :

1) New Metro & Monorail Corridors – South East CBD poorly serviced

The South-Eastern quadrant of the inner core area (within CRR) does not have any mass transit system cutting through it. Within this quadrant lie important CBD points such as JC Rd (105,000 PCUs), KH Rd (96,000 PCUs), Lalbagh Rd (61,000 PCUs), Corporation /Hudson Circle & Richmond Circle. The very large no. of daily commuters to /around these points will have to resort to road transport after a commute by Metro. A BRT (Rapid bus) corridor through these roads & junctions cannot be provided since there are numerous intersections, & hence no BRT is recommended in the CTTP report. Metro Routing may be possible, though since road widths are adequate.

Commuters bound for these areas may choose not to travel by Metro at all as they will have to change over from Metro to road transport or feeder buses that do not have right of way to reach their final destinations, apart from the inconvenience of transfer/s between modes. Thus, it is fair to assume that a sizable proportion of those bound for these destinations will still try to use private modes of transport from their points of origin & local road traffic to these destinations may not reduce by much.

The new transit routes can therefore be stated to be ‘Simplicity’ or ‘Easy-Installation’ focused rather than ‘Demand’ focused. If Metro corridor No.5 (Yelahanka~Electronic City~PRR) &/or Monorail Route No.5 (Adugodi~PRR on Bannerghatta Rd) are re-aligned to pass them through this quadrant & connect these important destinations, the system may be far more efficient & this glaring vacuum may be filled out. The situation is quite different in the northern quadrants as several modes of rapid transport cut through them, whilst in the south-west, the area is too small & is, in any case serviced by metro & the rapid bus corridor along the periphery (CRR).

2) New Metro Corridor – East

On the eastern side, the Metro corridor from Indiranagar 100 ft road to Whitefield is shown passing along the existing Airport road straight towards Varthur, thence northwards towards Whitefield Commuter R’ly Stn. It may be far more functional if this route turns left at Karunashraya & cuts through Kundalahalli cross, KIADB-EPIP, ITPL & Kadugodi (where most tech companies & residences are situated) before aligning with Whitefield road & integrating with Whitefield CRS station. An additional rapid bus corridor can be easily arranged from Karunashraya to Whitefield CR station &/or PRR via the broad Varthur road to fill the gap there as a result of this re-alignment.

 


 

3) Commuter Rail Services

Tracks exist for additional Commuter lines from Beniganahalli to Devanahalli & to Dodballapur via Yelahanka, but no commuter services are recommended along these corridors though the track to Yelahanka cuts through the upper North-eastern quadrant outside ORR. One wonders why this track has not been recommended for Commuter Rail services, though it has the potential to cater to a large no. of commuters from these areas.

4) Bus Rapid Transit System

For the 14 BRTS corridors (totaling 291.5 kms) identified, on the CRR /PRR /ORR, uninterrupted flows may be possible due to development of grade separators, rail over or under bridges & flyovers, but where it has to pass through signaled intersections no recommendations have been made for automatic priority & right of way for rapid bus, though these can improve performance & reliability, & above all, significantly cut down private transport vehicles on the roads.

5) BRTS – The use of elevated CRR

The elevated CRR of some 30 km length is recommended for “private” & “para-transit” vehicles, whilst the ground level carriageways is recommended to be “reserved for public transport” (BRT). Enforcement of at-grade roads for exclusive use of public transport can be far more difficult than doing so for elevated roads. Also, designing infrastructure for right of way for BRTS at intersections, even if this were possible can be challenging & expensive. Thus, one wonders why it cannot be the other way around – re-allocate to provide substantial exclusivity and priority of use to public transport vehicles on the elevated lanes (which would make them highly efficient & reliable), & discourage private vehicles by allocating them the road space below (which has many signaled intersections).

The long-held biases in favor of private vehicles need to be broken at some stage, & perhaps this is an opportunity for the city to begin this, & set an example for the rest of the country.

6) Cycle & Pedestrian Facilities

Development of cycle facilities seems to have been ignored & neglected. The statement – “In CBD, some side roads and lanes can be exclusively reserved for cyclists and pedestrians in peak periods” is vague & the whole of section 7.11.1 appears to accord very low priority to this important aspect. Whilst there are whole towns in countries such as Denmark, which have abandoned motorized vehicles & adopted non-motorized bicycles & cycle rickshaws for commuting & most cities in Asia have been earmarking protected strips by the side exclusively for slow moving non-motorized traffic, the CTTP falls well short on this count. As many as 78 roads within ORR & 54 roads outside ORR have been recommended for improvements & widening, but there is no focus on allocating road space for providing protected /dedicated strips for cycles /slow-moving vehicles & for wheel-chair access. The welfare of pedestrians, and particularly the welfare of mobility–impaired pedestrians, is being sacrificed, as usual in planning to increase the speed of the flow of vehicles. Cycling is similarly disadvantaged. Without a continuous network of secure infrastructure, people will not risk bicycle travel, & perhaps this is why there are fewer & fewer bicycle users in Bangalore. Despite this, investment in infrastructure for cycling can never be ignored. Thus, the omission of dedicated cycle tracks in road improvement recommendations is both, unfair and inefficient & actually promotes the use of more motorized private vehicles.

As has been seen in the city, merely widening a road will leave more meager sidewalk widths for pedestrians, motor vehicles will push off the bicycles, & worst of all, public transport vehicles will lose the battle with the more nimble two–wheelers and cars. In addition, parked vehicles generally are allowed to obstruct movement of public & private vehicles.

The attention to Metro rail, Monorail, Commuter rail & road improvements may be the obstacle to doing something tangible to improve the position on the street for non-motorized traffic. A lot more attention needs to be paid for road and street design standards and practices that are walk and bicycle-friendly to conform with international standards & more particularly, for Indian conditions where this cannot be ignored, & actually needs more priority, given that a sizable proportion of the economically weaker population would be effected.

Pedestrian facilities have been addressed somewhat better in Majestic area by suggesting /identifying zones. The more dense City market area & surroundings have not been addressed, though this is more pressing & urgent. Shivajinagar & surroundings have also been ignored.

Comments

tsubba's picture

BRTS on CRR

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Naveen, excellent summary and thanks for posting this. regarding BRTS, i think primary idea behind making it at grade is to make it easy for passengers. then there might also be the issue of cost. i guess brts expense come out of bmtc's books and nurmwalas will raise a flag. for crr i think they will tap into road improvement funds not brts.
tsubba's picture

signs of co-ordination

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KSRTC to build satellite bus terminal near Jalahalli (The Hindu) BANGALORE: The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) is keen on developing inter-modal transit terminals (IMTT) at city entry points on all major roads to decongest the roads, to offer park-and-ride facility and to integrate different modes of transport such as bus, rail and metro rail. To begin with, the corporation has proposed a sprawling IMTT on Tumkur Road, the major road feeding large number of vehicles and people to Bangalore. It has been the gateway to North Karnataka destinations, coastal districts as well as Malnad districts. The corporation operates over 2,000 round-trips a day on this section from Kempe Gowda Bus Station (Majestic). Plot provided The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation has provided a 10-acre plot near Ayyappa Temple on Jalahalli Road off Jalahalli Circle to the KSRTC for the purpose. Located close to the proposed Jalahalli metro rail station, the plot would also house a terminal for Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) buses. KSRTC Managing Director A.P. Joshi told The Hindu that the corporation has been striving to get funds under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) for the project, which is estimated to cost around Rs. 60 crore. More than helping KSRTC to streamline its operations, the project has more to do with Bangalore city — aimed at decongesting city roads —, Mr. Joshi pointed out justifying the corporation’s claim for funds under JNNURM. The busy Tumkur Road carried 21,000 two-wheelers, 5,000 three-wheelers, 10,000 light motor vehicles, 6,300 buses and 17,000 heavy goods vehicles a day, according to a 24-hour survey commissioned during January this year by the corporation. The number of vehicles is set to double within five years, according to the survey projection. “As such, it is time concerted efforts are made to reduce the number of private vehicles,” Mr. Joshi said. He said that “a majority of private vehicle users indicated that they would be more than happy to use public transport if adequate parking facility was provided near their place of residence or work.” Facilities Planned to be constructed 800 metres away from Jalahalli Circle, the terminal will offer parking facility for private vehicles at the basement; dedicated alighting platforms; a BMTC terminal; maintenance depot for KSRTC buses; commuter amenities and a sewage treatment plant. A 10-metre wide subway is planned at the terminal for safe movement of passengers across the terminal. BMTC buses will offer feeder services by ferrying passengers into and out of the terminal. According to KSRTC Chief Civil Engineer and Estate Officer S. Jagadeesha Chandra, the terminal, with a basement, ground and first floors, will have a built-up area of 15,000 square metres. The structure will have provision to add six more floors. KSRTC’s aim is to provide all facilities for people at one place without compelling them to visit different places, he added.
tsubba's picture

140 Bus Bays

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140 bus bays to be constructed in Bangalore city The Hindu The BMTC management, realising the inconvenience being caused to other road-users, has come forward to fund construction of the bays, and it has already released Rs. 2 crore to the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) with a promise to release Rs. 2 crore more. By providing bus bays, the corporation also plans to rein in its drivers who are known for haphazard parking of buses on roads. Provision for bus bays, which has been the responsibility of the local administration (BBMP), was glaringly absent on almost all roads in the city, compelling bus drivers to park on the road itself, near wayside bus stops. While the inconvenience was not felt much when the number of vehicles was less a few years ago, the problem has become pronounced with the increasing number of vehicles on Bangalore roads, which has now touched 32 lakh. The Traffic Engineering Cell (TEC) of the BBMP has taken up construction of the bays and has invited tenders for 100 bus bays out of 140 proposed by the BMTC. A senior official of the cell told The Hindu that construction was likely to begin in a month and completed in three months. He said the BBMP had formed three packages – East, West and South – for execution of the project. Locations will be decided depending on the availability of roadside space as well as the traffic volume on the road. Space problem The BBMP on its own was constructing 40 bus bays, the process of which began in 2003, the official pointed out. He said that work on 28 bays out of 40 was under progress, work on the rest was pending for lack of suitable location. The problem was in availability of space on the roadside, and with every road often being widened it has become difficult for the BBMP to locate suitable places.

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