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How Wide is Wide?

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Infrastructure

Nomatter however the road is wide, there is always traffic jams. Still BBMP seems to have not analyzed the problem and expanding the roads by cutting trees and reducing pavements has become its endless project. Today morning I saw trees on the Maharani's College Road while getting down the Anand Rao circle which were 'alive' from 100s of years being cut to widen further. Already the road is 1 way and it is a 4 lane road. Why to loose our greenery unnecessarily. Also the pavements were narrowed still further. We all know, how matter the road is wide, still traffic will not reduce. Length of the jam decreases and width increases. We have seen the examples of Bangkok, as well as we have seen the roads of California. Its all so wide still there are lots of delays in traffic. Why to loose our precious trees which are seniors in terms of age for a foolish act of road widening which we all know is not going to give us any solution. Loosing the tree for a Metro Rail / Mono Rail is OK since it is minimal as well as it is definitely give us a solution. Still, alternative routes should be taken wherever possible to avoid tree cutting such as the case in Nanda Road. I think the act of BBMP to cut trees to widen road is just 'ridiculous'. What is our environmental agency 'Hasiru Usiru' doing?

Comments

Vasanth's picture

Loss of trees in Pedestrains Perspective

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A pedestrain, a cyclist and even a 2 wheeler can travel comfortably if the road is full of trees. It gives them the shade. On the other hand, to widen roads if the trees are cut, it heats up the surrounding areas, walking for a pedestrain, bicycling and even a 2 wheeler travel becomes difficult. Only a person in a car with A/C or an A/C bus  can only travel comfortably. Travel for non A/C 4 wheelers such as buses, transport vehicles will also become difficult because of the roof heating.

sandeepckeerthi's picture

How Wide is Wide?

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Vasanth,
Yes, you are right, increasing the width is really not a great solution all the time.
Making the existing intersections signal free through underpasses or flyovers or a combination will help curtail the number of trees being cut and also speed up traffic thus allowing for more number of vehicles to ply.

s_yajaman's picture

It will never be wide enough

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I saw this mad tree cutting on Seshadri Road on Friday night.  If only BBMP could clear garbage as well as they clear trees!!!  Palace Road has also been stripped of its tree cover. 

Once the car/private transport madness is let loose, roads will never be wide enough.  Check out this picture of Bangkok

www.eslteachersboard.com/webbbs/images/thai/pic1096.jpg

All this widening will make a mega mess at KR Circle and then at Hudson Church.  That's all. 

Seshadri road has a basic problem - it is the only link road from Rajajinagar/Vijayanagar/Majestic towards MG ROad/Indiranagar/Jayanagar.  All BMTC buses to these areas have to go through Seshadri Road.  If an elevated road has to be built it will have to continue all the way along Nrupathunga Road, JC Road, etc.  I don;t know what options there are for Seshadri Road.

Srivathsa

 

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

Nitinjhanwar's picture

Segregation is the only solution.

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I think the solution lies in dedicating lanes for :

Buses,-

4 Wheelers

2 Wheelers

3 Slow moving (pedestrians and cyclists)

This will divert traffic to buses. The median dedication or curb dedication or cross flow will have to be site specific.

Cutting trees for a wider traffic jam does not make sense.It will only help in GPS navigation.

Solution has to be segregation and grade separation.

nJ

-nJ-

919462900144

www.nitinjhanwar.biz

Requoting Dr S Subrahmanya

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I remember Dr S Subrahmanya (BBMP Commissioner) who remarked during the BMLTA meeting held a few months back that, "widening roads to solve traffic problems is like using larger sized pants to solve obesity!".

While i appreciate his wisdom, his juniors in the BBMP have not shown any of it. For them traffic planning, traffic rationing (this includes controlling the number of cars) is an alien concept.

Lets face facts. Cars cause most of the jams in Bangalore. Car rationing is a must if this city has to move ahead. A Bus Rapid Corridor is essential to Bangalore.

Incentives could be given to small electric cars like Reva and other cars can be disincentivised.

If Singapore, our "benchmark" city can do that, so should we.
Ravi_D's picture

Palace Road Fiasco

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Go see Palace Road intersection with Race Course Road. I don't know how many trees were sacrificed for that road widening attempt. Almost two new lanes are created. Well almost. Because there is that Bangalore's Icon right in the way - a temple in front of BSNL building. There it stops for good I bet. 

So what did we achieve:

> lost green cover and some grand old trees

> ensured more chaos on the road

> provided paved parking for private vehicles

> spend precious taxpayers money

A gentleman in his 80s, who had seen it, all once warned me over my optimism - don't take common sense for granted, in fact, it is the rarest thing to find on this planet!

Thanks,

Ravi

murali772's picture

HU has tried hard

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Hasiru Usiru has been doing everything possible to prevent this. They had even got the High Court to constitute an Empowered Committee to look into the matter. And, when this Empowered Committee, though headed by the redoubtable Dr Yellappa Reddy, appeared to be unduly influenced by the government, HU got the court to issue on order for the matter to be taken up at the Lok Adalat. But, even as the matter lies before the Lok Adalat, the BBMP has gone ahead with the action. HU is now contemplating filing a contempt case.

They have also been staging protests in the form of tree-hugging sessions; tying ribbons; demonstrating with placards; taking out protest marches; indeed everything possible in a democracy.

HU has tried hard. But, not many people appear to have been moved enough to join in. The reasons can be either apathy, or they still believe that Bangalore should go the LA, Bangkok way, even as both those cities are desperately looking for ways out of the mess they have got themselves into.  

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
silkboard's picture

Lets ask BBMP some questions

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mcadambi - that obesity quote is from our (rather, Naveen's) single lane BRTS presentation, its the punchline on the first or second slide, and he had personally shown that single lane BRTS to Dr Subramanya.

HU has a PIL active on the subject, I am not clear how this tree cutting menace is still going on. I also alos don't understand why the empowered committee is headed by an envirnomentalist - the commitee should rather be headed by a traffic expert who can scientifically defend or scuttle road widening projects. The way I see it is - the powers-that-be have smartly propped up one environmentalist (Yellappa Reddy) against another (Leo Saldhana), smart move indeed.

Frankly speaking, HU's voice gets lost on a lot of people because they have acquired that image of being the extreme enviro types. I have read their material (up on ESG website), their opposition is on the grounds that traffic congestion issues are not solved or helped by tree cutting. But since its ESG/HU saying all this, people focus on their love for trees more than their concern for traffic.

Oh gosh, I am again coming up with an RTI project here. But if some people can join hands to quiz BBMP no end for the cost benefit analysis of their road widening (and also flyover) projects, that will be great. The approach would be to ask:

  • Does BBMP measure the traffic throughput on affected corridors before widening projects
  • Does it compare the same stat them after widening is completed
  • Does BBMP follow IRC guidelines when widening - on pavement widths, standard road lane widths, using new road width for bus bays
  • How many illegal business (with no regard for setback and parking laws) has BBMP corrected or demolished along the roads that have been widened?
  • How many basements that are not being used for parking thus causing congestion on roads exist on stretches of roads that have been widened? How many such basements owners or tenents has BBMP sent notices to?

What is BBMP's track record in dealing with road-congestion? How many experts (paid experts, no the citizen enthusiasts like us) has BBMP consulted with before concluding that widening is the solution? What is BBMP's vision for Bangalore traffic?

Ask ask ask. Because nobody else will ask these questions for us.

Nitinjhanwar's picture

Environmental Impact.

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The factors for any construction work impact vis a vis the environment degradation/upgradation broadly are:

1.0 Amount of land acquistion.

2.0 Change in road alignment and crossection.

3.0 Factors and net effect of erosion and drainage control.

4.0 Effect of depleting vegetaion and making it up by LANSCAPING.

5.0 Traffic congestion/decongestion in the EFFECTIVE AREA.

6.0 Effect on air, water and noise quality.

7.0 Loaction and importance of the improved area i.e.

7.1 Strategically important (Do VIPs frequent it?)

7.2 Does it have any heritaze land marks or targetable sites?

The net effect even if the traffic situation does not improve will have to be taken in account and the governing factor will be if the Landscaping can counter the loss of trees with the increased loading of traffic and pollution increase/decrease.

nJ

-nJ-

919462900144

www.nitinjhanwar.biz

Arun's picture

Incompetent, ignorant and arrogant 'engineers' of BBMP

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BBMP has been able to get through with many unwanted projects. This road widening is the biggest menace of their entire flyover, underpass projects. We have to deal with an incompetent, ignorant and arrogant team of ‘engineers’ in BBMP. The conviction of the Committee headed by Yellappa Reddy and that of the Tree Officer is also questionable as they have not been able to save even a twig let alone trees, despite presentation of several workable alternatives being presented on numerous occasions to save the trees and let traffic move at speeds that are common in the CBDs of prominent cities. But the ‘engineers’ from BBMP think vehicles should move at a higher speed. End of the day, we all know what we will get from these ‘engineers’ given the track record they have. 
 
The questions asked by SB to BBMP will never get satisfactory answers. Sometime back in a meeting, few of the ‘engineers’ were not even aware of the IRC. One joker had no clue what JNNRUM is as he kept talking as if this is a scheme framed by HU/CIVIC. Someone had to seriously tell him to behave properly as JNNRUM was not any fable but guidelines passed by the Indian Parliament. 
 
For these guys every ‘project’ is a ‘deal’ involving lobbies, viz., timber, builders, contractors, et al. Not even once in the past decade or so, BBMP has carried out a satisfactory job worth mentioning. 

I guess we should meet Mr.Suresh Kumar, Minister of Urban Development very soon.
asj's picture

Deplorable

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I wonder whether incompetence is worse than corruption? Both factors play a role and we have the worst bhelpuri of a kind, not just in Bangalore, its true in every Indian town/city.

No one thinks of need to meter traffic (regulate flow). I travel from Hammersmith to Hounslow via Chiswick High street. Much of this 2-3 km stretch is 1+1 lane (with bus lanes where ever the road is wider) - but almost entire stretch has footpaths wider than 3 meters!!

Its very useful as the above ensures that traffic flow reaching a major roundabout downstream and Kew junction (two busy junctions) is kept regulated.

Were these roads to be widened as in India, almost double the vehicles will reach the busy junctions at one time - causing greater chaos.

Its high time general public become aware of such facts and put pressure on civic bodies to accept the paradox of 'small / narrow / less' can also be effective.

ASJ
ashwin's picture

2 lanes or 16

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Andres Duany, a famous Architect and Urban Planner, is known to say that congestion is a given. Your only choice is whether you want 2 lanes of congestion or 16 lanes of congestion.
rs's picture

An idea

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I noticed while travelling on Mysore road the other day that the few trees that have survived are those with some sort of makeshift temple on them. Perhaps one can do the same for the trees on Seshadri ( if there are still some ) and the other roads which are threatened....
blrpraj's picture

nowhere in a major city on earth is a road wide enough

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Nowhere in a major city on earth is a road wide enough. Congestion needs to be managed and alternative solutions must be found to complement the road infrastructure.

-first off, national standards&specifications must be developed & enforced for road building. What is the use of widening roads..only to suddenly run into a telephone pole or a tree sitting almost in the middle of the road? What is the use of widened roads without lane markings?
-the widened roads must be utilized efficiently by disciplined drivers sticking to their lanes. I can safely assume without any doubt this is virtually impossible in Bangalore or any other Indian city.(sorry for being a pessimist..but..I prefer to live in reality rather than in denial)
-a good rail public transport system must be built to complement the road network. Thankfully this is taking shape in the form of a metro.
Bottom line is you cannot build your way out of congestion. In Los Angeles, the freeway capital of the world..there is traffic to fill every inch of available freeway space during peak hours and the gigantic freeways don't seem enough!!..but..at least..the congestion is managed well though resulting in a travel time of 1 hour 15 mins at the most on an average for a 40mile(64km) drive. Well, in bangalore 20kms(12.5miles) can take an hour or more!!

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