Background: Had an unplanned meeting with BBMP, thanks to Ashiwn/SB. Part of our initiative for better road design. This was at an hours notice on a weekday and was pretty much took half the day, so was not a good candidate for an event. Anyways, we discussed the pedestrian infrastructure, footpaths etc. We know that the quality needs improvement, and I have already documented what goes into footpath design, which I shared with BBMP folks. In general they seem appreciative and want to improve. It helps if we give specific inputs in a structured manner, rather than just rant and crib.
Footpath material: So here's where we can help. They want to do Hosur road, from Silk Board junction to Vellara as a model. This will have pedestrian and cycle tracks !. The total width of the footpath plus cycle track on either side is currently planned around 3.5m. Of this there is cobbled stone (interlocking pavers type) on the first 1.5m, There is a drainaige of 1.4m plus an additional overhang of 0.6m totally 2m which will be joined slabs. These do not give good finish and they are planning to put a paving over this. One specific suggestion asked - any suggestion on paving material/colour which will be suitable and look good ?
Cycle track: Am not sure we can change the course on this, but let us discuss and if there is something that makes strong sense, we can atleast try to influence. Its not as easy as lets put a cycle track ). At this point plan is 3 lane carriageway each side, we are left with exactly 3.5m on either side.
First is its location : Should it be road - footpath - cycle track : boundary or road - cycle track - footpath : boundary. Advantage of former is cycle track is better isolated, disadvantage if shops exist on the road then there will be too much pedestrian interference. This is the current plan. Disadvantage of the latter is if the cycle track and footpath are at same level (slightly elevated by the kerb height from the road level) then the cyclist can fall off on the road. This neccistates the use of verges in between, and if we go by IRC, we need 1m on each side, a precious waste of space. Dont have that kind of space
Second is the space required: A cycle width is upto ~ 60cm. You cannot drive a cycle on a straight line, with a 20cm margin it is 1m, you need to allow at least two cycles side by side which makes it 2m. This is the minimum IRC standard for dedicated cycle track, danish standard for eg: is 2.2m. Right now we have exactly 2m, and footpath of 1.5m which is again minimum prescribed. This is not going to make cycle driving very pleasant however.
One thought: Combine cycle tracks to a single side. This will give a lot of space for cycling, part of it can be a verge barrier etc, make it pretty and nice. Does this result in too much of cross movement ? I think we can give longitudnal parking for cycles along the track, people can walk across to shops on the other side. If they want to take cycles, they will have to walk with the cycle on the footpath on the other side. for the length from the crossing.
Alternate thought: Dont combine cycle track along with footpath. Instead put it at road level and put kerb stones as seperators from the road. Much safer for cyclists (dont fall of the kerb), plus get better seggregation. Doesnt look as good aesthically and may not be implementable in the current scheme of things - need to check
There is always the 'we can get more space from somewhere', or remove a lane etc, but what is the best that can be done in the given situation ?
I will continue to post on this blog for further thoughs/updates etc. Please feel free to give whatever thoughts you have.