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Shaping Bangalore's periphery - before its too late

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Public Transport

Our city, Bengaluru has a core, and periphery. Let us define the area bound between  Outer Ring Road as the core, and beyond as periphery. If you look back from nineties onwards, City planners cared for people to live in the core, and work in the periphery. We got the likes of Peenya, Whitefield, Jigani/Bommasandra, Electronics city, Bidadi, and we pay today via Elevated Roads, and chokes at all points on Outer Ring Road that connect us to these peripheral work areas. It's rather easy to look back and criticize, but it may have been a casual call made back then. Nobody really thought the city's economy would triple itself in a decade.

But now, we know better. Growth is here to stay. The mess of mobility and criss crossed work-live location options are in front of us to manage. The safer bet is in focusing on the periphery, instead of obsessing with the core. The core gets swanky Metro, while the periphery gets Atal Sarige and crowded Buses, leave alone all talk of Commuter Rail. When BMTC starts thinking BPS, their team starts working from Hudson circle and out, and not Kadugodi and in. Etc etc. What we miss by doing things like not doing Metro on the "periphery" first, not thinking the BPS in from periphery first, not taking Commuter Rail seriously enough is a shot at "shaping" the periphery. You could manage Bengaluru's growth far better by shaping the still-soft, still-emerging periphery simply because 1) it would be relatively easy and cheap to do so, and 2) by shaping an emerging area, you get to dictate the mobility a bit, not the other way around.

Talking of Bengaluru shaping its periphery, it may not be that late yet. Look at the failures so far. Two broad guage lines going towards Mysore, yet no Railway linked mobility plan to "entice" you to prefer Kengeri (Rs 1500-2000/sqft?) over Rajrajeshwari Nagar (Rs 4000/sqft?). Swanky wide NH7 to Devanahalli, but no local mobility networks (aka "tributary" roads, zones and Buses) to fan out half a km away from NH7. On Sarjapur Road side, 'planned' growth remains confined to the 'ribbon' around the road, not at a scale that will have Rs 2000/sqft zones depressing the Rs 10000/sqft inflated core in serious ways.

Can't leave out governance setup out of the picture, but talking about our favorite subject, transportation, and getting specific about an example area - somewhat of a 'success' (is it?), Whitefield - what do we see?

Is there a transportation plan for Whitefield suburban area? Probably yes, because these are visible:

  • Two visible Bus trunk corridors - G1/333/335, and the 500 series
  • A TTMC as Mobility Hub for the area
  • (on the drawing board) Metro till ITPL
  • Two connect points with the "core" - Outer Ring road near Marathahalli, & KR Puram
  • (on the drawing board) Signal Free Road corridor on Old Airport Road
  • 600 route Buses directly to Electronics City Area ("Big Circle")

What stands out in above? What does not? Isn't it designed for people to come from the "core", spend the work day at Whitefield and return? Why no direct & heavy connect with the peripheral area on the North as well (like 600 route is for going to the South side). But then, there is a nice route G1, not obsessed with work area, touches entry points from even beyond Whitefield (Villages on the far east side), to makes it possible for low income groups to live far and work in. And then, we have the usual gripes. No use made of the Whitefield Railway station. No last mile connects for touching whatever corridors exist. And, despite Whitefield being a sizable "work area", no corridors go through and beyond Whitefield to enable clusters on the far east side. Why not create the options like  live in Malur and work in Whitefield?

What symptoms do we see for all of above? What solutions would one propose - both of the short term doable (Bus Priority Measures for corridors going through Whitefield) and long term/harder variety (like doing Commuter Rail) ?

I think its a subject - planning growth & mobility specifically for peripheries - that needs some quality attention. We can raise the pitch by doing some detailing on one or two areas (Whitefield, Anekal, Bidadi etc). And this probably is my 3rd attempt at stirring this up on Praja :)

cheers,
SB aka Pranav

Comments

silkboard's picture

How would we look like ...

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A picture showing growth of US cities, the last "layer" was added on by the "expressways". How does this picture look for Bangalore today? 20 years from now?

silkboard's picture

sourced from ...

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Pic above was sourced from http://cnre.vt.edu/lsg/in...

Found this telling line from there:

By facilitating the opening of unbuilt areas lying between suburban rail axes, the automobile effectively lured residential developers away from densely populated traction-line corridors into the suddenly accessible interstices. Thus, the suburban homebuilding industry no longer found it necessary to subsidize privately-owned streetcar companies to provide low-fare access to trolley line housing tracts. Without this financial underpinning, the modern urban transit crisis quickly began to surface.

How is Bangalore Metropolitan Region luring the developers away from the core?

Urban sprawl is a studies subject, not yet in India though. America centric definitions associate sprawl with car-dependent growth (http://en.wikipedia.org/w...) but I want to see a chart of real estate prices plotted against distance from center of Bangalore. How does the chart look today!? How do we want it to be?

Can't find much on "Urban clusters". Need to search harder or use different key words to get to relevant scholarly material from Europe.

srinidhi's picture

doesnt exist for blr

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112 users have liked.

No trending can be associated for blr..growth is way too haphazard..and this is also cos there is no mass mover like metro/commuter rail available yet!

house is still a status symbol for most..its like 'bengalurinalii mane ide'...where..what etc doesnt matter..this is similr to owning a car..

However there is some kind of a trend where residences, esp appts, mushroom around established work places..ITPL/Sarjapur/EC..

Had a frind who jokingly said..its best to own 4 small appts on the four corners of blr..and can switch btw houses as ppl swith jobs..rent the rest out..guess thats the trend..

Naveen's picture

Urbanization

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SB,

Whilst what you suggest may be sensible & desirable too, are there examples of cities where planners have managed growth resulting in evening out estate costs across the city sprawl anywhere in the world ? I can't think of any. Estate costs in Manhattan are easily several times the costs in New York suburbs, likewise in London or any European city. Even in the newer cities in Asia (Singapore, Seoul, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, etc), the story is the same - the picture you posted tells it all.

This is because people, no matter what, always seek to locate "closest" to the "activity" centers. This also explains why urbanization took place at all, to begin with & why cities came into existense in the first place.

Actually, I believe that Bangalore has managed somewhat better than say, cities like Mumbai or Chennai. Developing the industrial suburbs of Peenya, Bommasandra, Electronic city, ITPL /Whitefield & townships like Yelahanka & Kengeri far removed from town (then) has evened out the city today, to some extent. However, we now have the problem for mobility & commuting.

Since mass people movers like Metro can only be financially viable where there are substantial numbers, they tend to be planned radiating out from the centers & get extended eventually when numbers become justifiable in the peripheries.

However, I think we may see a departure from this (for the better) & see a 'New Bangalore' developing towards Devanahalli since some form of fast rail connectivity being necessary, is planned for the airport. So, locating the airport far removed from city center may actually have been beneficial for Bangalore, in the long run to 'even out' the spread to some extent, similar to what was done in the past !

kbsyed61's picture

IN AGREEMENT WITH

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SB,

Your posts really is in line with what Mr. Peter Newman has said in various fora.

Cities growing beyong "One Hour Wide" will collapse.

 

-Syed

 

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