Time to get our road planning priorities right [%new%]
News Credit- Garima Singh
As the new Tender SURE (Specifications for Urban Road Engineering) roads are taking shape on St Marks Road, Cunningham road, Museum Road, etc, there has been two kinds of criticisms i.e. first, about how long it is taking to execute leading to slow movement of traffic on these roads and more importantly, secondly, the motor vehicle lanes have shrunk.
The construction challenges are aplenty – new underground utilities (storm water drain, water, sewerage, power) need to be laid while leaving the existing infrastructure in place and the acute monsoons till last week has affected the speed of work. Further, one has to ensure that existing trees are preserved and this requires re-routing the planned utilities.
Moving on to the shrinking of road width for motorists, uniform lanes along the entire road length will result in relatively faster movement even with multi-modes of transport like autos, two-wheelers and four-wheelers. Currently, the extra road width is used to go out of lane and re-enter it when the road width crunches. This is hugely inefficient and slows down those drivers who are following lane discipline.
Critical Analysis: Government authorities across cities pay lip service to the cause of citizens who walk on the streets but do little for them. Nothing about the city planning is planned around the walker and often, they walk on the road at the mercy of motorists.
The pedestrian is at the heart of the plan under Tender SURE. They are followed by provisioning for cycles, public transport and lastly motorised private vehicles. More importantly, efficiently-planned public transport is necessary as the essential mode for sustainable mobility over time – Bangalore will have no long-term traffic solution without serious, effective investments in public transport.
It’s time we started preparing for the future in a sustainable mobility built around walkers, cyclists and public transport. For too long these three have got step-children treatment. It’s time to set our priorities right and uniform motorist road lanes is a first step towards a mobile Bangalore.
 V. Ravichandar, Time to get our road planning priorities right, The Times of India, (October 20, 2014).