Elevated corridor row rages on

Elevated corridor row rages on

Citizens meet again and look at multiple ways to improve mobility in Bengaluru

Citizen activists say that suburban rails can reduce 30 percent of Bengaluru’s traffic problems and 50 percent of traffic around the IT corridors

The 94-km long elevated corridor project is on hold, thanks to citizen resistance.

However, some in neighbourhoods such as Doddanekkundi, Koramangala, Bellandur and Varthur are rooting for the elevated corridor.

Some citizens met on Sunday at Springfield Apartments, Sarjapura Road and raised a number of concerns.

Clement Jayakumar, member of ‘Doddanekkundi Rising,’ points out Phase 1 of the corridor--from Silk Board to Hebbal--will help reduce traffic towards north Bengaluru.

“It will tackle the traffic congestion on Outer Ring Road from Silk Board to Hebbal. Traffic congestion at Silk Board and KR Puram will also come down. I also believe the air quality on Outer Ring Road will improve because of improved traffic,” he says.

The city lacks adequate road infrastructure, says Nitin Seshadri, activist and resident of Koramangala 3rd Block.

“We have a shortage of commuting modes: there are 45 lakh trips made by the BMTC, 45 lakh trips by private vehicles and four lakh trips on the Metro every day. If the city’s population doubles by 2031, buses will have to increase by 86 per cent and private vehicles by 20 per cent, even with suburban rails and the Metro,” he says.

Road infrastructure must be added to the other initiatives, in his opinion.

In a recent debate on mobility, K G Mohan, member of ‘Bellandur Jothege’, argued the elevated corridor should be built but after public consultation. 

“The mandated design of pedestrian last mile connectivity should be followed and BMTC bus routes rationalised,” he says.

With exit points, the corridor will help in increasing the pace of vehicular movement, he reckons. “A ramp from Agara into the corridor will help exit faster, and mobility would increase from 5 km to 20 km,” he says.

Citizen groups are also seeking better suburban rail connectivity. Srinivas Alavilli, co-founder of Citizens for Bengaluru, says, “There’s a quote: ‘Insanity is doing something over and over and expecting a different result’. I feel that way about the elevated corridor. We are repeating the same mistake again and again.”

The flyover in Electronics City is the best example; it is one of the most dangerous roads, and witnesses an accident every week, he observes.

“Bengaluru is proof that flyovers do not ease traffic. We lack proper public transport… We need a comprehensive mobility solution that prioritises trains and buses,” he says. 

Nagesh Aras, activist and resident of Bellandur, says roads chosen for the corridor are random. 

“Only the traffic density of selected roads was measured. The starting point should be where people live, where they go, number of trips, and the mode of travel. The economic status of public should be kept in mind,” he says.

Narendra Kumar, founder-president of Nagarika Shakti, says all the authorities need to do is invest in railway rakes. 

“Suburban rails can reduce 30 per cent of Bengaluru’s traffic problems and 50 per cent of traffic around the IT corridors. There are existing dedicated tracks not being used,” he says.

Radha Chanchani, urban designer, says the detailed feasibility report of the project was not based on any comprehensive mobility plan and does not flow from the Revised Master Plan 2031.

“How these places and alignment were chosen for the corridor is not explained,” she says.