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Meeting with Commercial Street (CSt) Merchants Association

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Pedestrian Infrastructure

The meeting with Mr. Shyam Melwani and Mr. Nazim Sait the President and Vice presidents of the association respectively, took place at their board room situated at the Dispensary Road.

The recent closure of the Kamraj road parking by the Army was a setback for the CSt shop keepers business. The reason for the closure was a problem between the Army and the association. People urinating along the wall, safety, security and garbage dumping during the night were some of the problems faced by the Army authorities. The army would like the BBMP to maintain the Urinals built by Army. BBMP has no jurisdiction over the parking area provided by the Army as the land belongs to the Army.

The main requirement of the Association is an adequate parking area at a distance of not exceeding 250 to 500 meters from the commentarial street. The access to CSt is mainly from the Kamraj road side. That from the Shivaji Nagar Side is not so popular. This has caused a divide in the association itself as the shops on Kamraj Road side have an advantage.

We also heard about a dream project of providing about 4000 capacity under ground car park at Parade ground, MG road. This car park will be provided with 4 under ground tunnels opening at 4 locations serving Brigade road, MG road, and at both ends of CST. This is acceptable solution as far CSt Merchants are concerned. They can provide Shuttle service up to the parking lot. This will serve the entire CSt Merchants uniformly. This appears to be an ultimate solution to the parking problem, acceptable to all the Merchants of CSt.

CSt shopkeepers association takes care of Garbage, Hawkers, and beggars problem themselves. There is no back entry to CSt. The trucks have to come only during specific time well before the street is open to business. pedestrianization  is no issue at all.

The ball is in Praja court. The CST association is all for cooperating with Praja to go ahead full steam. 


[post was moderated to remove some unconfirmed material - moderator]


silkboard's picture

share your minutes

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promoted Anantharam's comment to placeholder post for sharing minutes of this meeting. All, please let us know how this meeting went.

idontspam's picture

Wonderful news!

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.... a dream project of providing about 4000 capacity under ground car park at Parade ground, MG road. This car park will be provided with 4 under ground tunnels opening at 4 locations serving Brigade road, MG road, and at both ends of CST.

This is wonderful news!!! I am happy they want to do that. We should thank them profusely when they end up actually doing it. When do they start?

Rithesh's picture

So what was the outcome?

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Thanks for the update Ananthram sir.

Are we moving towards a pedestrian only street or are these plans on hold till the underground parking complex/other parking facilities come up?

Also what is the status on Kamaraj Road is the parking still banned there?

"The ball is in Praja court. The CST association is all for cooperating with Praja to go ahead full steam."

What do they expect from Praja?

Naveen's picture

Comml St. & Brigade Rd - Parking & Pedestrianization

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Mr.Ananthram has summarized what was discussed during the meeting.

At the meeting itself, I had felt that the idea to build pedestrian tunnels may not be practical due to very long lengths & the very extensive work involved with severe disruption. I have not seen such long pedestrian tunnels anywhere in the world - London's Underground (subway train system) has a few long ones for interchanges, but even these are not as long as what is being proposed here ! Utility by pedestrians also remains a big question mark in very long, underground walkways. Besides, there will be heavy costs for lighting & ventilation.

My take is that the UG parking below Parade grounds served by shuttles at a cost is the best option, else even this may not work satisfactorily as the costs for running the dedicated shuttle services with variable volumes have to be met, somehow.

A better option is to route the Hop-On/Off buses past these points, including a busway through Brigade rd & Comml St itself (the width would be sufficient if pedestrianization is carried out at both streets). Thus, buses will then serve also as shuttles for pickups & dropoffs at Brigade/MG Rd & Comml St, thus enabling car users also to take them for these short hauls, assuming of course that once the parking facility comes up, parking would be banned on Brigade rd as also Comml St..

The Ho-Ho buses would then also serve as departure & arrival options too for those coming directly by bus from elsewhere & if connected to the Metro station at Plaza & Trinity, it may help those arriving & departing by Metro also & may become much more viable than at present.

Ravi_D's picture

Army lifts ban on parking

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@ Ritesh: Army has already reversed its stance, per this news stub from the Hindu.

Army lifts ban on Kamraj Road


psaram42's picture

The ball is in our court

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 Pedestrianization is beneficial to the CST Merchant’s business. The BBMP is hostile to the idea of helping CST Merchants out of the way as they may not have funds to support or improve the lot of these rich merchants. BBMP would rather expect CST Merchants to support themselves as the Merchants are sitting on a gold mine (Central Business area). CST Merchants are facing a stiff competition from the new Malls which are sprouting all over Bangalore. Helping these CST Merchants does not fit in BBMP agenda as such. They would rather help the poorer strata of citizens of Bangalore.

Now where does the current Praja project fits in? This project would like to safeguard the once high tourist’s spot image enjoyed by CST, commensurate with the cities image of luxuriant climate and hospitable people. Pedestrianization of CST foots the bill.

Unless Praja takes up the issue now with the Army by contacting the commanding officer concerned with the purpose of taking his dream forward nothing may happen I am afraid. So let us start.However, we should not wait for the Army project to start. We can start right now with the BBMP, Police and the Government if necessary. But start we must.

Are there any Ideas and Valuable directions from VKM sir’s front?


psaram42's picture

What are the likely Pedestrianization of CST road map objectives

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Here are some that come to my mind:


1.      A single lane Access to Merchant Goods Trucks during non business hours only.

2.      No Parking during business hours.

3.      Unrestricted Pedestrian access during business hours.

4.      Good attractive street furniture

5.      A competitive, children friendly, pedestrian road design by competent architects of Bangalore or country.

6.      Sufficient Car park near by

7.      Central Car park like the one dreamed by Army at Parade ground.

8.      Shuttle to the above Central car park

9.      Take BBMP, Police into confidence at every stage

10.  Get good BMTC bus connectivity at both ends of CST.

11.  Get a suitable law passed by Karnataka State Government Legislative Assembly and BBMP

12.  Etc.



Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

Raise my toast to D S R

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PSA Sir,

On behalf of Praja, let us all give a standing applause to  D S R = Defense Social Responsibility - great - Parade UGParking is what I had in my mind whenever I saw the vast expanse lying like an orphan - I had posted earlier.

PSA you have already covered some of my thoughts.

This is reality:  I have already parked my car in the Parade Underground Parking Lot and have started walking towards commercial street with my grandchildren.

I mean it when I say - I have started walking - there is no necessity to go on pampering our Indian citizens who do not even vote - to provide them Ho Ho or Ha Ha service or dig tunnels to make life more miserable overground

 Walking is good and let them walk and improve their health. For those elders, disabled etc., the Association can provide Green cars - like Golf carts - with some baggage area for carrying their purchases with a dedicated lane from the circle near Coml.St., to the PUP - ParadeUndergroundParking.

BBMP/Defence/Police/ABIDe guys can intereact with Assn., - a PPP - ONLY UNDERGROUND - to cover concrete top, create Hanging Gardens, Art Corner, Mini-open air theatre - see my post please. 

 chalk out a viable proposition, charges for parking - 2 wheelers/4 wheelers and other terms and conditions.  Since Defense is involved, they will ensure transparency and accountability - Army itself can be entrusted with construction and maintenance - if I am not asking for too much. 

Mr.Melwani, on behalf of Prajegalu, your positive thinking for making Coml.St., pedestrian friendly bereft of all the dust, honking - at the same time - please see that we do not have to depend upon our service providers for giving us quality walking experience - share your ideas and resources for creating a beautiful walking experience - then see your profits soar.   Let us get going Sirs, 

-Vasanthkumar Mysoremath

[edited to remove unconfirmed names - moderator]

Kudos to Army

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Time has indeed come when we should be properly utilising such large tracts of Army Land in Bangalore.

I am hopeful land with the Army at places such as Hebbal, Ibblur, Challaghatta can be used for making a lot of parks like Lalbagh. 

silkboard's picture

Unconfirmed, off the record stuff and loss of focus

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Just want to warn everyone that nobody from Army was present in this meeting. Things were said on Armymen's behalf by those present in the meeting.

psaram42 sir - please be careful when posting meeting minutes, we should only quote things said and confirmed by second persons you met.

Interested members - let us treat the UG parking lot as a concept, and not put any names in the fore front here. By doing that, we will only make things difficult (if you are a supporter of the UG parking lot idea) for some.

Reminder - this project is about pedestrianization. Parking lots, criticims of people's walking habits, Ho Ho etc are, right now, secondary issues for this project.

Let us keep the focus, please. As a rule of thumb, one should not comment on a project update post (like this) unless you want to dig in and help yourself, or want to make a strictly project-focused point.


SB aka Pranav

das's picture

The meeting - my take

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The first meeting of Praja with the Commercial S. Association was just to achieve these:

1. Get to know each other
2. Understand that we have common goals
3. Understand that there may be differences of opinion, but Praja will not work against the interests of the CSA.
4. Determine what the CSA wants out of this project, and what it does not want.

This was achieved.

The conclusion of the meeting is that both of us want these:
1. A pedestrian-only street
2. A free lane for fire trucks and movement of goods.

CSA's non-negotiable is alternate parking space for 80 vehicles that are currently parked in the street. They feel that the first priority must be to resolve this issue, and that things can move very fast once this is done.

Our next job is to do a physical study of the area, determine possible alternate parking areas for 80 cars within a radius of 0.5 - 1 km. This would be ideal, but if the parking spot is beyond this range, then we can think of using the HoHo service to get people from the parking spot to the street.


Objectives of Praja in this project

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These are the objectives we have to focus on to ensure the support of CST Association.


In the words of Mr. Nazim, "rest of the things would fall in place like a pack of cards".

This is their BIGGEST concern.

Also to give a more realistic perspective, these are some of the things that came to my mind-

1. CSTA wanted 1 lane where traffic would be allowed for fire engines/ physically challenged.

2. As part of the plan, We would have to open up traffic a few hours before the shops close down for their goods to come in. Their would be resistance from the shopowners if we dont do it.

Will post more details as I remember them.



das's picture

Some ground rules for the project

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1. Some information (opinions, long term plans, etc.) that we obtain in meetings with any of the bodies in the project (CSA, BMTC, BBMP, etc.) may be unconfirmed or confidential. There is no reason to discuss these in, and making them public may in fact harm our project in various ways. Let us just discuss the immediate issues and tasks to be done.

2. Each organization will have its own motive behind why it wants this project. CSA may want it to improve business, Praja wants it with the long term objective of promoting sustainable transport, etc. The individual motives do not matter at all, as long as everyone is working towards the same end objective.

s_yajaman's picture

How can 80 cars wag the dog?

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Das sir,

Sorry I could not make it as I was out of Bangalore.

I still don't understand how 80 parking spots can make or break this.  There must be 6000-8000 people visiting everyday.   Let's assume that each car parks for 2 hours - over the day (12 hrs) about 480 cars would have parked.  2 people / car - 1000.  This is very optimistic as the evening is when the street comes to life.   I would say that the utility of the parking on the street is restricted to 500 people.   Less than 10%.  Why is this such a make or break issue?

Do they have any ideas of where parking is feasible? 




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

Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

No Armyman was present?

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PSA/SB Sirs,

I was overwhelmed by the 'minutes'(?) so, I raised my toast to DSR.  Now that reality is a little different and pending clarifications, let us stick to focussed point: pedestrianising CSt.

Hereagain what VP/CST Mr.Nazim has said is of importance at the meeting : his biggest concern is providing alternate parking lot for customers/shop owners etc. and 'the rest of the things will fall into place'. 

Prajegalu will have to blend the best of both and work for a solution that will have 'class action' and our aim is to see that at least a stretch of the popular commercial area is enjoyed by the pedestrians and by reducing all sorts of pollutions along the area.

- Vasanth Mysoremath




das's picture

A test of various skills

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In a project like this we'll have to carry all the stakeholders along, see that everybody's interests are taken care of.  We'll have to assume that the CSA knows its street and its customers better than we do, and let's also remember that unless we have CSA's cooperation every step of the way, this project will never take off.

We want to implement this project now, in a matter of months. Our solution must therefore depend on what we have on hand now (which does not include the Metro or possible underground parking anywhere).

We have various parking spaces around Comm. St., and we have the HoHo. We'll have to use these as key components of our solution.

srinidhi's picture

Army OK with Manekshaw parking proposal

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From DNA paper..

Basement parking proposal for Manekshaw Grounds

The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagar Palike (BBMP) is working on a proposal to to create an underground parking lot at Manekshaw Parade Grounds. The good news is that the Army Command of Karnataka and Kerala Sub Area, which manages the place, has told the BBMP that it is open to the idea.
Colonel S Kemparaj, attached to the General Staff of Headquarters, Karnataka, told DNA that the plan was discussed in a meeting with traders and BBMP officials. 
"We said we have no problems with the proposal and asked BBMP to make a clear proposal," he said. 
Col Kemparaj said that if the local command has no objection, the ministry is likely to clear the proposal early."


Finally some sense has prevailed..hope this project starts soon and we have atleset 1000 car parking solution..and MG road becomes a no parking zone/pedestrian zone!

Naveen's picture

Easy Access to Comml St. Is Their Demand

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What I gathered at the meet was this :

The CSA is willing to co-operate with pedestrianization efforts as long as it's up-market clientale is continuously assuerd. At the moment, they believe this is being ensured by available & easy on-street parking on Comml St itself. If footfalls on Comml St & business volumes drop, they will obviously oppose any moves for pedestrianization.

The 80 cars parking at any one time on the street is just a number & though the number is small, it is significant to them in that it brings customers closer to them & the potential for business gets higher as many more arrive there seeking parking or vehicles with drivers double-parked for short durations, making it convenient for customers & shops alike, though this is a nightmare for pedestrians.

Though we mentioned about the several hundreds of parking slots that were already available nearby, their sentiments were inclined & closer to the 80-odd slots on the street itself, that they seemed to believe was the driving force for business.

Thus, their demands were for a suitable, or better replacement to these 80-odd slots that would translate to the same, if not better business volumes. They see the development of UG parking as a positive development, but there are no guarantees that such a facility will mean the same or better business & there is also the likelihood that they may in fact, continue to demand for retention of the on-street parking, even when the UG facility becomes a reality if business could be better !

sanchitnis's picture

Valet Parking, shuttles, taxi drops and wat memorial

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We need to be carefull that the CSt association does not use us to get more parking around the area.

1. Valet Parking: If the CSt association is more worried about high end customers (and nothing wrong with that). let them provide Valet parking from a designated spot. I am sure the customers will be very happy paying 20-30 rupees rather than trying to go through the traffic jam for the so called 80 slots and finding that all are occupied. It will also generate employment. I like this kind of system being run very efficiently at Manipal hospital.

Now where will the valets park the cars? Existing space on Kamraj road (thanks to army) can be used. Also the open drainage / duct on the north side can be covered to provide space. the association can rent space from RBNMS college ground when there are no consumer fairs. Normally valet parking takes less space as cars can be parked very close and there is no need to remove each car individually.

2. No to underground parking at parade: I do not like the idea of underground parking on parade grounds till we have good access roads and BRT to CBD from all big 10 roads. All the radial roads to CBD are choked even now. WE NEED PUBLIC TRANSPORT. Creation of parking space will drop the advantage of public transport. SO I request everyone to oppose it.

3. Shuttle and taxi drops: The association can provide shuttle or shared car pickup/drops from all big 10 bus end points (which includes shivajinagar). Also, they can sponsor free taxi drop to home from home if they buy goods more than a certain amount (or pick up percentage of the cost). This is the way to go rather than creating one more ugly structure - though underground.

4. Recognize heroes: If the Military people are ready to provide the underground space I wish it will be to create an underground exibition cum discovery center. Currently there is no space where I can see the heros who laid there lives for the country and what their families think about them. Let people get first hand experience of how the life at Siachen is. Let citizens understand how to increase security, first aid etc. What will be a better place for this near M G road? I will certainly not trade this for underground parking for people who want to buy fancy dresses but do not want to use public tranport (including taxis).

Sanjay Chitnis

Naveen's picture

Formal Parking In Shopping Areas Essential

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Sanchitnis - I had the same idea previously as it would encourage use of cars & ignore PT. However, I have now changed my position since this is one of the largest shopping districts in the city that lacks good parking facilities, & needs a facility badly.

Anyway, this thread is not really about parking & as SB mentioned, we should concentrate on pedestrianization. Let us exclude what we do not have & proceed with our efforts with focus on what we have to work this with.

Vasanth's picture

Shivajinagar Bus Stand to Commercial Street Shuttle

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Shivajinagar is so close to commercial street and all the areas are connected to Shivajinagar. We may need hitech Volvos and Suvarnas running to Shivajinagar during weekends and holidays.

Frequent shuttles from Shivajinagar to commercial street entrance will help reduce the number of cars and cater to all categories of shoppers. Someextent HOHO can act as shuttle. comment guidelines

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