Have been reading up on Metro's Phase 2A and Phase 3 plans and few thoughts cross my mind.
- Longer term sustainable growth of Bangalore depends on how we manage growth of BMRDA region and Satellite areas
- All the focus is on the central city area (loosely speaking, the region bound by Outer Ring Road)
- Cost of land, freedom to plan development around a planned mass transit - we are losing on these counts in the peripheral areas as the central city area is taking away all the mindshare and investments
- The immidiate peripheries are, arguably, already hitting into problems of congestion
- Options like BRTS on major radial roads (NH7, NH4-East, NH4-West, SH16, SH17), or commuter rail with different charectiristics from that of Metro (stations at longer distance, larger carrying capacity, higher average speeds) along the rail routes heading out of the city are rarely being discussed
- Mobility thoughts for the satellite areas have primarily focused on roads (Satellite Town Ring Road, Peripheral Ring Road, Intermediate Ring Road etc)
Questions that come to my mind
- Are we losing the plot as far as future of Bangalore is concerned?
- Do we, the Bangaloreans prefer transit corridor based spread out metropolitan area that has cost-of-living spread out evenly across the whole area?
- Or, do we prefer a more dense, more expensive and more exclusive with time central city area with unplanned ribbon development along crowded radial roads beyond the Outer Ring Road?
- How do we get the attention towards sustainable people mobility investments in these areas beyond ORR?
- Or shall we not, and just wait for the unplanned development and higher costs (in future) to dictate mobility choices much the same way we are doing today for the central city area (forced to do the expensive Metro)?
Thoughts that I jump to
- Metro is "fixing" the chaos of today
- By ignoring to invest in satellite town / Bangalore Rural connectivity through sustainable options, are we unknowingly creating the chaos for tomorrow
Could there be a design paradign like this:
- Metro only inside Outer Ring Road (with a few exceptions)
- Cheaper options for peripheries and satellite areas, only because they are still an option.
And I think of money
- This way or that way, we, the public would be footing big part of the HUGE bill for Metro
- If we are not, please enlighten and advise why the same financial wizardry is not being applied to solve other areas too?
- If we are, then what if we demand scrutiny on the justifications for spending that money on taking Metro beyond Outer Ring Road when cheaper options exist today, but may not exist tomorrow (which is when Metro ?
Is there a way we can use
- The plight of peripheral areas (no mobility plans in place or in action for areas beyond ORR), and
- Poorer people being forced to live farther and farther down the city, and being forced to spend hours to commuter to their workplaces
... to ask for
A pause on further Metro investments, till ...
- we get a clear answer on - who is responsible for growth of larger Bangalore (BMRDA area, Bangalore Rural, Satelite Areas)
- state government stops discriminating against these areas in terms of planning and investment on mobility
I don't know what we can action on this, if at all we can. But stirring a debate to scrutinize Metro Phase2A and Phase3 costs with this angle shoul dbe possible.
Yes, I sort of understand some of the terms that may come up - demand based planning, growth projections, gestation periods, high capex, gestation period etc etc. But I do know this too, that whenever you think of or plan for future, there are assumptions, biases as well as creativity in whatever models you create for justifying, planning and funding projects. My bias, if I may, is towards better sustainable, cheaper to build and operate options for mobility, and done in ways that would shape Bangalore of tomorrow, and not wrap around the amoeba that our satellite areas are turning into as we sit on approving some really large money projects.
SB aka Pranav