Unblocking Bangalore a challenge: Minister

BENGALURU: In 2011, IBM’s Commuter Pain Index ranked Bengaluru sixth (Index—75) among world’s worst cities when it comes to commuting, public transport etc. Mexico City was the worst of all, where commuter pain index was 108. And Bengaluru ranked second after Delhi in Global Parking Index for having the worst parking infrastructure and ill-mannered parking.

Even the Bengaluru development minister K J George admitted that the single biggest problem of the city is traffic/congestion. He read out a slew of projects including the elevated flyovers, commuter rail and metro that are aimed to decongest the city in the long run. “Few of the immediate projects is to widen the Hebbal flyover and by December throw open another 12 roads that will be redesigned as per TenderSURE roads.

“We proposed a steel flyover between Hebbal and Basaveshwara Circle but it received flak from many. We are again going back to the experts who have suggested to connect the elevated road from KR Puram to Hebbal via Mehkri Circle. And instead of constructing a steel flyover from Basaveshwara Circle, we can connect the same ramp to the elevated road at Balekundri Circle and go through Cunningham road Jayamahal. Our engineers are doing a feasibility study of the suggestions and we will place it before cabinet.

 I am also a private entrepreneur but working in the government is different and it takes time. It needs various approvals and has to be transparent process,” he said.

There were many discussions and debates over transit oriented development, how to manage the urban sprawl and decongesting the roads among researchers from across the globe who have worked on urban transportation issues and government representatives from Bengaluru, Mumbai too. One of the major solutions that was being discussed at length by all was to push for Bus Rapid Transit Systems in Bengaluru to increase the reliability and reduce travel time by the buses.

Shivanand Swamy, professor of planning and Director at the Centre of Excellence in Urban Transport said, “We spend too much time in planning. Instead of quickly changing some minute details in it, we go back and forth with the fringes in the planning. Bengaluru has roads but no road network. Now is the time to connect outer areas of the city and BRT is definitely a solution. Ahmedabad did it because of JnNURM funds but look at Indore. It is trying to earn money and expand it’s BRT system now. At the end, all modes of transport should be integrated to impact congestion. Parking should be heavily priced to disincentivize citizens to use their private vehicles all the time.”

 Through WRI members from Rio De Janeiro and Mexico City, Bengalureans were also given a glimpse of how these cities have been able to decongest.

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