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Traffic Free Zones

I saw this in the times of India today. Perhaps some good will come out of it - and perhaps similar surveys should be made in the Brigade Road/Church Street area - the link to the actual news article is

Some snippets:

... Commercial Street is not a thoroughfare ... it should primarily cater to pedestrians and not vehicles. However, only 32% of the road space is available for pedestrians ... automobiles carry only 24% of the people coming in, but hog 68% of the road space ... 42% of the road space is used for parking by just 2% of the people ... Half of this 42% is used by slow moving cars that drop off shoppers and crawl along waiting for parking space to open up ...


[PS: Edited this post. Please don't paste full newspaper articles, thats unethical. Best is to provide a link with a short summary or member's commentary on top - {moderators}]

idontspam's picture


This was an absolute no brainer. It has been that way since I was in school. Especially commercial street made sense to be pedestrianised. We shoud do the same with Avenue road make it traffic free instead of knocking off  piece of history.

Naveen's picture

Now, the Numbers Speak Up

Great ! This has been long overdue & the people's verdict confirms it with a survey.

Along with Commercial Street,  Brigade Road, Sampige Rd, Streets around Jaynagar shopping complex, Chickpet area including Avenue road & Gandhinagar should also be pedestrianized, step by step.

Only Hop/On-Off buses must be routed past Brigade rd, Commercial street, Gandhinagar & Chikpet areas. Pedestrians & children can move about freely without terror of cars or two-wheelers.

For Jaynagar complex area, the 4th block bus station is adjacent & buses can be allowed on the streets around the complex. Private vehicle movements will need to be restricted as the place is quite a mess. Sampige rd is more or less a market area, but is also being used as a thoroughfare. Something needs to be done here as well.

rs's picture


Yes, I hope this has some effect. I did a rough survey of shops in 8th Cross Malleswaram and got a similar impression. I suspect what happens is that the merchants have the impression that the shoppers will be against it and the shoppers believe that the merchants will be against it, but in reality they both are for it.

But these pedestrianization projects have to be undertaken carefully - there should not be a blanket ban 24 hours a day - perhaps ban vehicles from 10 am - midnight and allow delivery trucks etc. at other times.

Commercial street would be so nice if they do it - I really hate going there right now as the constant tension caused by honking cars increases my blood pressure greatly and I end up fighting with some annoying car owner or two wheeler driver who almost drives over my foot.

I feel the same thing should be done to Brigade road and Church street. When Brigade road was closed for the drain work in a few days traffic adjusted to going around and in fact the road was pretty pleasant - except for the fact that they were still allowing cars to be parked there. So its clearly not the essential throughway they make it out to be. One can route traffic coming from the north through MG road and then right near Mayo Hall instead of through Brigade Road. In fact, they can close MG road between Anil Kumble circle and Brigade road as well making a large pedestrian zone where people can relax.

Naveen's picture

Pedestrianization - Good Idea

MG Rd has Metro station/s coming up too. If the Hop-On/Off service also passes through it (ie. between Anil Kumble circle & Brigade Rd Jn), there really is no need to leave it open for general traffic, which can use Cubbon rd. Church street is also accessible via the same public transport & can be closed for traffic as well. This would really make the place a delight for shopping & entertainment without worrying about being run down !

As suggested, truck movements (for deliveries & pickups, etc) can be taken care of by permitting traffic in pedestrianized zones between Midnight & 10 AM. So, there should be no cause for complaints from buisnesses.

There is a street in Yokohama - the Isazaki Cho, which is completely pedestrianized, & a delight to walk through. Trucks access it from the side streets, which are perpendicular.

Arun's picture

Gandhi Bazaar Main Road and

Gandhi Bazaar Main Road and part of DVG Road qualify, while making most of the by-lanes no-parking zones; Sajjan Rao Circle by lane catering that serves food on the street is also one such road; some serious traffic management at Kathriguppe shopping area too is required.
psaram42's picture

Simple but hard to realize

Some ideas are simple but hard to realize. This one is an example. Other one was the spread sheet. We used it much before it was available as MS spread sheet.

idontspam's picture

Pre-Historic spreadsheets

 PSA, Were you trying to build one in NAL or ADE? Can you blog about it somewhere and give a link here so I can read your experiences?


More related to this thread... why is it hard to realize a ped only street? Especially in Bangalore? Why havent we done it already when rest of the world has done it.

rs's picture

Pedestrian Zones

I'm not sure I get the references to spreadsheets - nevertheless I think closing roads to traffic is sort of a trivial thing to do - since it is easily reversable if there are problems. In all these instances I think they could try it and see how it flies.

In fact, while on this subject I think all market areas in all neighborhoods should be closed to traffic. The way things are is completely antithetical to the way it should be and is just plain stupid. Traditionally the shopping ares in all neighborhoods were pleasant places where one could go and shop or browse in a relaxed way. Now its crazy. The combination of people and vehicles is lethal. All the footpaths are occupied by carts and other informal shops and roads are packed with people and honking cars.

I think India, and especially in Bangalore, people keep adjusting - but now I feel that the adjusting has reached ridiculous levels. I, and several people I know, dislike going to malls to shop but its increasingly becoming the case that malls, however unpleasant they may be, are the only places where you dont run the risk of getting run over by some angry driver or falling in to some filthy drain or loosing your hearing and peace of mind thanks to some inveterate honker who thinks its his divine right to drive on this crowded road.

The ridiculous thing is that driving on Commercial street, for example, is a lose- lose situation for both drivers and pedestrians. Neither of them enjoy it and the merchants, slowly going deaf and inhaling toxic fumes perhaps dont enjoy it either. So why ? 



psaram42's picture

The issue is far from being trivial

 The issue of shopping zone design is not trivial.  It is an important design issue. It is unfortunate our city planners are so casual about many such aspects. Perhaps just closing a road to MV traffic is trivial if made without proper design of parking space and other amenities.

However the subject is highly professional and requires qualified expert planners to do the job.


Srivatsava's picture

Pedestrianisation?? Plain non-sense.


       A demand for banning vehicles on Sampige road, Jayanagar Shopping complex area, Gandhi Bazzar & neighbourhoods?? Its bizzare. I am surprised how people can think of these extreme ideas without providing alternatives.

Sampige road is the most important link from central Bangalore (Majestic) to Mattikere and surrounding areas. I cant imagine how any other road can take this huge load. Similarly, there are atleast 500 cars and 3000 two-wheelers that are parked on Gaandhibazaar road, DVG road and the adjacent bylanes. Where will the shoppers coming to Gandhi bazaar (primarily motorists) park their vehicles? I dont mind them walking a little more than they otherwise do, But there is absolutely no parking space for them nearby. One can propose to build a multi-storey parking complex nearby (say Kohinoor Grounds or somewhere near Bugle park), but can you imagine the effect it will have on the narrow raods that may lead to such a parking facility.

I am not very aware of the numbers at Jayanagar Shooping complex area or at MG road, But I simply dont see any alternatives. I would love Praja members to suggest alternatives and understand the implications of such a move.


-Srivatsava V

-Srivatsava V

rs's picture

Pedestrian Zones.

Well I dont think Sampige road is an option - but certainly 8th Cross between Sampige and Margosa  is - along with the neighboring streets. But certainly Commercial Street is viable. And MG road between Brigade Road and St. Marks Road is certainly possible- since Cubbon Road is an alternative, just a small diversion for traffic coming from Kasturba Road going towards Old Airport Road and vice versa.

Church Street is certainly possible and Brigade Road is possible with some planning. Brigade road provides a link to Hosur Road, but vehicles can be made to go on MG road and turn onto Cariappa Road near Mayo Hall. It just requires some planning at the War Memorial Junction.

Frankly the real need is for a parking area in MG Road. Instead of adding to the chaos by building a  HSRL terminal the Police Grounds area behind perhaps they could build a large Parking structure and provide HOHO service from there to the MG Road and adjacent areas.




Naveen's picture


4th main in Malleswaram is a wide road that can be used as an alternate to Sampige road for through traffic. Sampige road has been a market area from long. Gandhi bazaar road has turned into a parking lot & a thoroughfare in addition to it's old identity as a market area since vehicles are allowed to be parked there without restrictions. Roads around Jayanagar complex had never seen so many vehicles, but are now being used for praking & movement of private transport.

Public buses can be allowed to pass through these market roads for easy accessibility. The vehicle movements on these market streets cause havoc for pedestrians - it was'nt so previously. Shoppers are not necessarily motorists - there are all types at any place & at anytime.

There is simply no end to this demand for more parking space, ignoring the needs of pedestrians - it must also be remembered that everyone becomes a pedestrian when he shops.

The sensible alternative is to either use public transport or to park at limited, but expensive parking lots. This is the only way ahead as infrastructure cannot be created endlessly for private vehicles & more & more parking, usurping market areas (with a lot of pedestrian movements) in the process.

rs's picture

Sampige Road etc.

4th main is not really a viable alternative as Sampige Road is sort of a link between Yeshwanthpur and the City. If 4th main is used instead there would be a lot of trouble at the ends - 5th Cross and 18th Cross. So I think Sampige Road is lost as a quiet market street.

But as I have described elsewhere there are ways in which, I think, one can improve traffic flow here by reversing the direction of flow.

Anyway, simply by making better, wider footpaths - instead of allowing parking, and proper crossings, there can improve the situation. There is a need for a large parking structure in every market zone.



Sampige Road is crucial

Sampige road is a crucial corridor between both City Railway Station and north Bangalore and also between Majestic and rest of Bangalore.

Only 11th Main and 8th Main have adequate interconnectivity to 17th Cross (which leads to Yeshwantpur and Tumkur Road).

Therefore, it is ideal if Mill Corner Road (to the left of Sampige Theatre and Mantri Greens) is made into a one way and adequate sign markings are present to reduce the load on Sampige Road.

IMO, 11th Cross bus stop should be done away with and 15th Cross bus stop should be utilised instead.

Bus slots should be adequately marked. And the left lane of Sampige Road should be for buses only. IMO, the left lane of Sampige Road starting from Platform Road (near Krishna Flour Mills) till Circle Maramma should be converted into a BRT lane with ONLY bus allowed to use.

Private vehicles could use 4th Main, 8th Main, 11th Main all of which are accessible from Mill Corner Road. 
idontspam's picture

Going overboard with Sampige/MG road

I believe we should try this with narrow streets which consists of heavy pedestrian traffic who are important for shopping in that street but of not much importance to vehicle traffic. Other than commercial street, maybe brigade road(need numbers to justify), avenue road, we shouldnt be trying it everywhere.

Malleshwaram 8th cross sidewalks need to be broadned with hard railings making the street single lane for vehicles and ped crossings marked out. The vendors need to be moved to the side streets between 10th and 8th cross which are anyway blocked by them. No traffic will try to enter the lower temple street even today.The upper temple street(vidya mandir road leading to 8th cross) needs to be closed for parking and traffic.  

Streets like Sampige road are wide enough to take both shoppers and traffic and is also a major throughfare and connection. It would be insane to block it. Too many street vendors in malleshwaram. All we need is to remove street vendors from 8th cross and sampige roads. Left priority lane for bus is also a good idea. We can have a seperate thread to discuss Malleshwaram roads.

There has to be a study with numbers like the snippet in the first post/article above to justify streets to be blocked for traffic.

Left lane discipline

 I saw on NDTV sometime back that some researchers had found out that if the left lane in New Delhi was prioritised to public transport, a major part of the traffic problem would be solved. Buses largely need the left lane and giving priority to the left lane for public transport is critical.
asj's picture

Example of pedestrianisation

Take a look and this compilation. I dream of such developments in our cities.

Now also look at this compilation -

Naveen's picture

Another Example of Pedestrianization

Excellent example/s for pedestrianization - all details have been done up professionally !  Here is another example of a very wide street in Guangzhou, China that is rid of traffic. Pedestrians move about freely without terror of cars & traffic.

Our cities hesitate to do this due to demand/s by citizens for parking space, a mistaken belief by shop owners that their business will be effected & a general unwillingness by the authorities due to these. I hope this changes soon.

rs's picture

At least someone is talking about it again...

 I came across this article in DNA today...

I wonder what happened about Das's plan of convincing the authorities that the city needs pedestrian zones ? 





Transmogrifier's picture

Pedestrianizing Brigade Rd in stages?

What if we were to suggest pedestrianizing in stages?

As an example, let's consider Brigade Rd. If we break it up in to two sectors- the first from M.G. Rd to Rest House Crescent (say Sector 1) and the second from Rest House Crescent to Magrath Road (Sector 2)- we could reduce traffic inflow progressively.

In Sector 1 for instance, currently, pavements on the eastern area (left-hand side when driving down Brigade Rd) are woefully inadequate


By reducing the number of travel lanes on Brigade Rd to 1 travel lane (with consistent width) and retaining one diagonal parking lane, we can widen pavements.


The next step (the one most likely to face opposition) would involve eliminating  street parking on Brigade Rd after moving the travel lane to the middle of the street. Simultaneously, this section (between Church St and Rest House Crescent) could be permanently closed to traffic movement . The closed section could then be upgraded to pedestrian plaza 'standards' (street furniture etc.).


The next section- between Rest House Crescent and Magrath Road could follow a similar pattern by transforming the present setup... initially closing one travel lane and widening pavements (after centering lanes on the road)...


and then, permanently closing through-traffic movement on Brigade Rd crossing FMC (Residency) Rd while retaining the free left-turn (onto FMC Rd) lane only. This then negates the need for the tiny stretch between FMC Rd and Magrath Rd which can also be closed. A little bit of street furniture and voila, more pedestrian space. With proper planning, access to basement parking (in complexes that offer it) might still be possible.


An optional icing-on-the-cake would be a low-height, wide ped underpass/subway connecting the two stretches across FMC Rd (example pics below).


So what happens to all the parking?

Once Metro Ph1 is up and running that should in theory reduce the number of parking spaces required. Realistically though, a multistorey parking garage located on (or under Parade grounds) would be an ideal solution. The best way to ensure that one is completed in a short timeframe, is to have the Ministry of Defence develop it. It has to be kept in mind though that we are only talking about 85 parking spaces and so a 200-300 car parking garage should be able to carry the load of Brigade Rd, Church St and Rest House Crescent combined. Then in turn, we can use the freed up space on Church St and Rest House Crescent to expand the scope of the pedestrianization.

The question though is can be convince people to bite the bullet... and use this (combined with BMRCL's MG Rd project) to demonstrate the value of well-designed public spaces.


idontspam's picture

What happened to steel structures?

They should start with commercial street for pedestrianization. Its a no brainer I dont know when they will ever get to do it.

The pedestrianization idea for Brigade road is good if the road was double decked using steel structures from MG rod jn. all the way to Brigade towers jn. and the traffic allowed to flow on top. This along with museum road is a part of the NS, EW corridor. With this Brigade road jn. will get grade seperated & Ashirvadam circle on FMC rd. can get a grade separator also. 

I remember BBMP were so enamoured by steel structure some time ago. What happened the vendor refused to give kickbacks?

Naveen's picture

Pedestrianization - A myth ?

Transmogrifier - nice drawings & perhaps an option to begin the effort with. The dream for pedestrians' welfare will remain just that unless we keep up the pressure & push for more PT & pedestranized streets such as Brigade road & Commercial street, to start with.

The reality is that though shops on Comml st & Brigade rd pretend to want pedestranization when civic forums & the media ask, they actually do not support the idea unless ample parking is made available closeby - this was what I gathered when we had met commercial st. shopkeepers assn reps with Das once.

They had hinted that their business would suffer unless alternate parking was made available, especially since there were many malls that they had to compete with (& these malls were providing ample parking within their premises). They were also pointing to their own vehicles & their goods vehicles, unrelenting with daytime restrictions since they would want to close & pack up by 9 PM. They had even spoken of an underground parking below parade grounds with a pedestrian subway leading directly to comml st. for shoppers !

When the section on MG rd between Anil Kumble circle & Brigade rd had been shut down for Metro construction, buses were not allowed between these points, but cars were welcome !

These are pieces of evidence that reinforces the belief that the city is being held to ransom by car lobbies -  What a joke the city has become !

I wonder why they are going in for a Metro when their position has been reduced to bending over backwards to please the car wallahs. What makes them think that things will change once the Metro starts operating ? I don't see how they can restrict private vehicles with the kind of muscle the car lobbies already have, even after the Metro rolls in, unless they embark on a very sustained campaign over long periods - lasting maybe several years, if not decades.

All that they are capable of is prohibit goods vehicles on a couple of roads here & there at some times during the day, & claim that traffic restrictions as necessary are fully in place !

Transmogrifier's picture

Parade ground parking as a bargaining chip?

@ IDS, Even if we were to double-deck Brigade Rd, it would be really narrow. Moreover, that's another reason that cross-city tunnels are a good idea :).

Plus, diverting thru traffic to Commissariat Rd and Museum Rd IMO is one of the smarter things planners did (or chanced upon!). This in no way negates the need for and the ample room available for improving traffic flow on these routes. Throw in a couple of well-timed synchronized signals and some junction re-engineering and these can serve reasonably well as bypass(es) to Brigade Road. Brigade Rd.

@ Naveen, while what the shopkeeprs claim seem valid, I wish there was someway to show them that pedestrianization might actually work for them... especially in a city that craves well-designed public spaces. And yes, a parking garage at Parade Grounds is a double-edged sword but might provide a good tipping point. If arguably the most capitalistic city in the most-car crazy country, thought it prudent to experiment with pedestrian zones, we too could at least try.


idontspam's picture

Even if we were to

Even if we were to double-deck Brigade Rd, it would be really narrow

You will get 2 lanes (25 ft) atleast. With museum road for other way you get your four lanes, with grade separation and brigade road pedstrianization thrown in for free, what more you need? It will serve its purpose till the cross city tunnel can come up then the steel structures can be dismantled. This can be setup in 3 months flat

Transmogrifier's picture

It will serve its purpose

It will serve its purpose till the cross city tunnel can come up then the steel structures can be dismantled

Aah...I didn't realize you were alluding to using them as temporary structures.

@ Naveen and others, just wondering if there was a specialized sub-group of pedestrianization enthusiasts at Praja?


Naveen's picture

PT only answer


You can count on me - but efforts are going to be muted from most others, at best. There is also a bicycle group, but they have had very little success. Unless trains are provided with facilities for bicycle carriage within (at nominal cost) & a sizable percentage of people see the benefits of walking & bicycle use, nothing much will change.

As far as pedestrianization goes, it's even worse since the reality now is that without individual vehicles, it's impossible to move from place to place unless one is lucky with bus halts close to origin & destination. Even for this, the cost by bus travel, time taken, convenience, etc do not justify daily travel for many - this needs to be broken first.

Then, we will have public pressure that will demand straightening up of sidewalks & demand bicycle tracks.

Shopkeepers are but a cog in this chain wheel who worry because the ones with vehicles are best bets for shopping, presently !

Transmogrifier's picture

Metro and bicycles?

Unless trains are provided with facilities for bicycle carriage

So BMRCL ever take up the suggestion for providing for bikes on trains (as IDS suggested almost a year and a half back)?


Transmogrifier's picture

Redesigning existing infrastructure

While reading a short article, I made a quick observation. Notice the pavement in the pic below and the grassy strip to the left of it (between the park boundary and the 'concretized' pavement.

All you need to do is switch the the tree more room to spread and making the pavement more walkable.


Sad truth, is that there's probably no easy way to make these simple, cheap modifications. It probably needs floating a tender, accepting the lowest bid and then having it worse than it's now. Or am I being too pessemistic?


rs's picture

I had made exactly the same

I had made exactly the same observation on 8th Main, Malleswaram - the stretch between Yeshwantpur Circle and 18th Cross. They have stupidly concretized the part between the trees and made a continuous green stretch - which they have elaborately fenced - on the other side. I suspect there is very little thought given to these things.

This is what annoys me all the time - its not that money is not being spent to improve such things - but money is being wasted on stupid things like this. It would cost nothing more - in fact perhaps less - to do this the correct way but it seems like the BBMP engineers do things  completely unencumbered by  the thought process !

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