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DULT /BMLTA - Policies In Isolation Will Not Work

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EnforcementTrafficPedestrian Infrastructure

Whilst the pedestrian & parking policies are welcome, it is hoped that these do not end up being implemented in isolation & removed from one another. Without addressing all street-uses at the same time, addressing a few elements in isolation will never result in better streets.

Further, efforts are bound to remain scattered & will result in nothing more than a few recommendations for sidewalk repairs or new sky bridges or some pedestrian underpasses since it would have to work "within the prevailing system", as in the past.

In my opinion, the DULT meet was nothing more than just merely scratching the surface of a vaster subject.

We were told that a bicycle policy is also in the making. What would follow next ? A bus stop policy ? A street light policy ? A storm drain policy ?

Unless we have a single policy that radically addresses all street-use issues & lays down recommendations for street specifics that include all elements, we will never get out of the messy foot tracks that we walk on or the chaotic roads that we drive over.

Though prepared with the intent to search for solutions, these policies will probably end up working at cross purposes like the various agencies had in the
past (BBMP, BWSSB, KPTCL, etc). Each will work in isolation & conflict with one another.

Above all, nobody speaks of traffic restraining measures, other than introduction of parking fees as the subject seems taboo. The parking charges recommended are also minimal (Parking rates are quoted on page-44 of the parking policy document). Restraining & discouraging traffic is perhaps the most important element in maintaining street efficiency at the optimum. Where street space is scarce, such as in Bangalore with it's huge vehicle population, this becomes even more necessary.

I believe that unless we have all elements in a single "Street Design" policy, nothing much can improve.

Such a policy must include recommendations to various agencies on how to co-ordinate for minimum disruption & best practices, cabling specifics, dos &
donts, etc. in addition to minimum pedestrian sidewalk widths as also bicycle track specifics, with other elements.

Further, far more specific recommendations for parking area requirements based on no. of dwelling units, commercial activity, etc. in new layouts must be included (The statement at the top on page-27 of the parking policy appears vague).

Comments

idontspam's picture

Policy vs implementation

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 My comments on the specific sections are here

it would have to work "within the prevailing system", as in the past.

There is serious lack of ability to implement. Is it the rules or the inability to understand what is to be done? I dont know. How long does it take to pedestrianize commercial street when both the people and the traders there want it? How long does it take to paint cycle lanes if everybody is in favour? What gives, I would like to understand?

Naveen's picture

Implementation Problems

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There is serious lack of ability to implement. Is it the rules or the inability to understand what is to be done?

There is no single umbrella agency that oversees the complete street, as a whole, including it's management & maintenance. What BBMP does is undone by BWSSB /BESCOM, etc. & the roads tend to remain in tatters where works are undertaken.

Sidewalks may get done, but are either dug up or used by BESCOM /BSNL for fitting utilities, apart from encroachment by hawkers & shops. Thus, their condition also remains poor.

The various agencies come together when a street has to be widened or a new one is to be built, but therefater, go about their own ways, leaving the citizens at the mercy of their disjointed efforts.

Traffic cops are the only ones that contribute to maintain some order, but their jurisdiction is confined to traffic management. Thus, there is no supervisory body that co-ordinates day-to-day street activities & management.

How long does it take to pedestrianize commercial street when both the people and the traders there want it? How long does it take to paint cycle lanes if everybody is in favour? What gives, I would like to understand?

These assumptions may not necessarily be correct. When we met the commercial st shoppers assn, I realized that business interests came first for them. They are agreeable to pedestrianization of the street provided their business remains the same or improves.

A recent survey of shoppers pointed favorably towards pedestrianization, but the ground reality is that most of them might not have been car users. Shop owners generally want to facilitate those that arrive by cars since they are the ones likely to spend & make large purchases. Also, during the DULT-BMLTA meet, in answer to questions about street pedestrianization, this point was brought out.

As for cycle lanes, unless secure bicycle infrastructure including parking areas, are provided, this may not take off despite the initiatives. The bicycle class is weak & is unable to voice it's demands sufficiently since the road & car lobbies are much stronger.

silkboard's picture

Some of this is visible at Marathahalli/ORR

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I had vaguely pointed some this out in a separate post last week. But the pedestrian amenities improvement work being carried out at Marathahalli/ORR junctions provides a good view into the situation we have in our city today.

  • What has changed - for the positive? There is thought and focus towards pub trans and pedestrianization. Fine.
  • What is happening at this spot? Amenities to make it easy for commuters to go from one bus stand to another.
  • What is not right?
    • Pedestrian lanes are too narrow
    • One one ramp specifically (Varthur Road west to ORR south ramp), the total width (road + space for pavement) has been increased. But, the most of the extra width now available has gone to the road, and only 2-3 person-width has been provided for pedestrians. Shocking.
    • Encorachments are already visible from the adjoining shops, they get nice paved surface to park their scooters, or put more shelves.
    • No clear signs, markings and pavement-road ramps yet, but I guess these will come once the work is fully complete.

I'd say lets do a street-event to audit this junction as a case study to highlight the gaps between policy/thoughts and on-ground implementation.

All these subtle deviation from policies and standards add up, isn't it?

vinod_shankar's picture

A DH report on the meet

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Disclosing this at a workshop on ‘Bangalore Mobility Indicators 2009 - Pedestrian Policy and Parking Policy for Bangalore Metropolitan Region’ recently, Mohammed Mohsin, Director of Urban Land Transport said a detailed project report has been sought to examine its feasibility. “An exclusive cycle zone for the Electronic City will take off shortly, as a pilot project of the DULT, in partnership with the Electronic City Industries’ Association and Ride a Cycle Foundation,” Mohsin said.

DULT officials said, the project worth Rs 41 lakh at Electronic City will be taken up on a public-private-partnership basis with the government providing land for parking and the private player providing cycles.

Kathyayini Chamraj of CIVIC, an NGO said the draft policy has left out the disabled in its report and also called for footpaths to have a standard and regulated height as opposed to the irregular and uneven footpaths in different parts of the City. Another participant said while preparing the final report, the government may take up initiatives such as converting Brigade Road and Commercial Street in the Central Business District (CBD) as ‘Pedestrian Only’ zones, charging more parking fee for vehicle parking and construction of multi-level parking complexes in identified areas.

Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) MD N Sivasailam said the final policy will provide last mile connectivity to pedestrians and will take Bangalore Metro and BMTC buses as bench marks for making public transport a priority.

Officials from the DULT said a proposal to charge vacant and empty seats in private vehicles plying on the road could be considered in future to discourage the increasing number of cars.

vinod

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