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Whitefield and connectivity

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When Marathahalli bridge construction work was in full swing (it still is), and we were struggling to cross the run-down work site, I was thinking about connectivity problems of this east-of-Bangalore suburb. When I say Whitefield, I mean the whole Mahadevpura, Hoody, ITPL, Whitefield, RG Halli, Brookfields, Kundalahalli region.

There are only two roads that connect this suburb with Bangalore. Besides Airport-Varthur road and K R Puram-ITPL road, and those are about 7-8 km apart. No other major road crosses over Outer Ring Road (ORR). Moreover, these two links wont suffice when a few close-to-completion residential and business complexes come to life one after another.

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Not that internal connectivity within the suburb is in any better shape. Roughly speaking, the suburb is like a rectangle with Varthur Road, ITPL road, Chennai rail line and NH-207 forming the four sides. Save for the route to ITPL there are absolutely no good roads or well formed 'layouts' that cut through the heart of this appx 60 sq km rectangular region. So if any of the three big routes have a problem (flooding last year, few agitations, two cases of mob violence, once in a while accidents), you are made to do some real 4x4 terrain driving over half-done interior roads.

There are two railway stations nearby, KR Puram and Whitefield, but neither good enough to save trips to the City railway station. Talking public transport for commuters, these railway stations anyway don't help - though they could, thats a separate discussion. Metro stops at Byappanhalli, wonder why the phase - I plans don't include a link all the way till Whitefield.

Real estate prices have risen slower than average lately, and commercial rentals too have dropped in the area (source: the real estate newspaper supplements). Some quotes from an ET article (21 Feb 2007):

"... the going rate ... of commercial rentals in Whitefield, which stood at around Rs 30 per sqft a year ago for an ‘A’ grade property, has come down to Rs 20 per sqft today. Rentals for ‘B’ grade properties are even lower ... Rs 17 per sqft. ITPL ... “While peak-time rentals were at Rs 50 per sqft, the same today is at Rs 44 ... ITPL rentals could end up in the Rs 35-40 bracket in a year’s time,” said an industry analyst. ...“The interest in Whitefield is lower these days. Connectivity is a major issue for ... commute to and from Whitefield ...” says Manisha Grover, national director, Jones Lang LaSalle India."

If oversupply is really the reason, it perhaps reflects the reluctance on part of people and businesses to move over now. Essentially, you have a suburb that isn't living to its full potential mainly due to connectivity issues. It can seriously de-congest Bangalore by making lots of people live around an already established job-center (ITPL-Brookfields region). But what you have today instead is tons of people commuting from west side (central Bangalore) choking the only two connecting roads, but not many living in the area itself, or further out east (Kadugodi, Hoskote etc why not?).

It isn't too late though, the place isn't that congested or chaotic yet, and I am still hoping the Greater Bangalore change will do the trick.

[made this post up from an older one originally posted in May'07]

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bangalorean's picture

Planning Not Done Sceintifically

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This is not the only area, which is not planned. I think all the areas in and around city, which has recently proped up has not be been designed sceintifically, you would surely see same problems when the new airport is operational, which keeps repeating.

I feel, the planning people, really did not have any clue of which layouts are being made and sold, when the there was a real boom even though they could have put restrictions. As most of the layouts were out of control of BMP and in the hands of private sellers, who actually design roads and on top of it litigation and illegal constructions.

I know of people who have done their masters and are in town planning in other countries. It is so sophisticated. Does BBMP have such quality people with real vision and experience? They have fixed plan for every area, like road specification house specification. Space to be left between road and house not mere 5 ft but international standards.

I am not sure now of how much this can be rectified. I think it is really a mammoth task to rectify the present situation, it is difficult to change it even in next 10 yrs, taking the progress made in the existing projects.

One good thing they can do, is to asphalt all the exiting roads and bring them to good condition and maintain it like that. I think that would be best thing that BBMP can do to help people in the present situation (without those un-sceintific humps), long pending projects can go on in the background.

Underground metro is the only way to decongest this unplanned city.

We have a long way to go, till then keep blogging. May be once i am in my 60s (30 more to go), i can expect to see considerable diff, till then close my eyes ;)

--Cheers

Vasanth's picture

ITPL should have been b/n Bangalore & Mysore near Bidadi/Kengeri

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108 users have liked.
STPI should have planned ITPL between Bangalore & Mysore. There are lot of people working in IT field who are from Mysore & Mandya. They would have commuted from Mysore / Mandya decongesting Bangalore to some extent. Even others would have taken home in Mysore / Mandya & travelled since houses for rental are far cheaper there compared to Bangalore. Government did a major mistake by starting ITPL in Whitefield. People do not have good small towns to live nearby. Samething is with Electronic City. Electronic City is helping Hosur to develop - Thanks to Government of Karnataka!!!
Sajith's picture

ITPL anywhere will lead to

ಮೇಲೆ
107 users have liked.
ITPL anywhere will lead to similar problems..I remeber when ITPL was all ready,not many company was willing to come in and it was the time of the dot com bust .People are always looking at distance from MG Road before deciding on any property.Many more infrastructure props need to come up in the area for ppl to seriously consider moving to Hoodi,Kolar side.
tsubba's picture

So What Is The Solution?

ಮೇಲೆ
110 users have liked.

How much capacity expansion is possible on Varthur Road & KRPuram-ITPL Channasandra main road?

given all the big names invested there, you think they have a solution? 

Visitor's picture

new roads required

ಮೇಲೆ
125 users have liked.
1) extend white field road so that it meets the outer ring road near sarjapur junction. 2) have another road starting at near point 2 on the map, connecting to white field road.
silkboard's picture

there are solutions

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Fist of all, I don't think Bangalore is that short on road space.

@bangalorean - Expansive metro should sure help, but that is expensive, will take time and is not tha only solution

@sajith - that is you lowered expectation talking. ITPL + 10 odd large office complexes anywhere shouldn't lead to this kind of problem. Planning just the tech parks in isolation is what has lead to this.

@vasanth - agree with you, we need a few more satellite job centers, and govt/BMRDA etc are working on that. But they should learn from their 'relative' planning failures at Elc city and Whitefield. Mind you, these places haven't been failures as such - these are very successful job-centers and have brought jobs and prosperity to Bangalore.

But:

E-City: there wasn't serious effort put in to encourage workers to live nearby. The stress has been on making them commute. Some quality commercial, leisure and residential zones around E-City 8-10 years ago could have saved us all that traffic trouble we have in South Bangalore today. Ditto for ITPL area, I will say it's been a bit better than E-city. One reason - ITPL is a lot closer than E-City, and it has not one but two connections to the city. But in here too, civic amenities haven't been upgraded and marketed well enough to make people live right here and walk to work (happening now though). I

would encourage development in Kadugodi and beyond to make people consider shifting to the other side of Whitefield as well. Making people live near their work isn't as easy as making residential units near job centers. I wouldn't shift 10 miles away to E-City until I feel assured of two things:

  1. there are enough civic amenities in the area (schools, shops, parks etc) - at par with regular Bangalore
  2. There is good enough connectivity to other job centers - just in case I have to change my employer tomorrow. This is more to give the comfort feel - that I am not 'locked' in to a selected set of employers.

Now tell me, which of these two was true about E-City or Whitefield few years ago? And how about today?

tsubba's picture

IT Corridor?

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116 users have liked.

wasn't there something like a IT corridor on anvil? the area between ec and itpl?

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