The St Mark's Road question

The St Mark's Road question

The TenderSURE project has been in the spotlight ever since motorists complained about widened footpaths at the cost of reduced vehicle lanes. But the seven roads planned for TenderSURE upgrade in the first phase might just help Bengalureans understand the benefits of uniform lane widths, lane discipline and need for public spaces geared to walking and cycling. 

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has gone on record stating that footpath widths of all future TenderSURE roads should be reduced. Does this dilute the project's inherent objectives? JUSF’s Swati responds: The TenderSURE guidelines provide good design principles and standards, but each individual road then has to be designed specifically for its unique geometry and conditions. No two roads can be the same, and often stretches of the a single road vary greatly.

For example, the criticism on St Mark’s footpath being too wide, is actually only for a 10 per cent stretch outside Bowring Institute – 90 meters of a 900 meter stretch. This is due to the specific condition of greater width at this point and existing trees. The other six roads did not have this extreme condition, so footpaths on these roads are more consistent in width.

The two important aspects to retain in TenderSURE as far as possible are for the lane widths and flow to remain continuous, and for the utilities – water, power, OFC, drainage, sewage - to be contained and accessible without cutting up the road.Were traffic density studies undertaken before the design phase of TenderSURE roads?

JUSF: Yes, we conducted traffic studies and these indicate that the road congestion is only going to get worse. The numbers of vehicles are only going to increase and faster than the population will increase. Neither can we expand space of these existing brownfield roads with predefined widths.  Next time you travel on the roads, observe the vastly varying road widths, vehicles parked randomly creating road blocks, and people walking on the roads. This further impacts the movement and speed of vehicles, and increases the chaos and accidents on the road. The solution is not mindless land acquisition and road widening. Instead we need to also invest in public transport and non-motorised travel.

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