The New Year could see Bengaluru on its way to getting more TenderSure roads that have already given a facelift to parts of the city with their broad pavements and aesthetic additions. But commuters battling traffic in the city may have a problem on their hands as the work gets underway unless the BBMP makes the required arrangements to divert traffic and avoid inconveniencing them. Can the city hope for a more organised effort than what went into white-topping of roads and TenderSURE makeover not so long ago? Aknisree Karthik reports
It should be a time for rejoicing as more of Bengaluru’s potholed roads are in for a facelift under the TenderSure project, which has already given a makeover to several parts of the city. But far from looking forward to it, Bengalureans, who have only recently suffered untold hardship during the BBMP’s white-topping spree ahead of the May assembly polls, are shuddering at what could be in store for them once the TenderSure project expands to cover more of the city.
Characterised by their broad pavements, quality roads, bus and parking bays, besides easy- on- the -eye streetlights and traffic circles, the TenderSure roads have added to Bengaluru’s quality of life. And now 20 more roads are set to get a makeover in the Central Business District (CBD) under the Smart City project at a cost of Rs 250 crore. The project will cover among others, the Raj Bhavan Road, Magrath Road, Commercial Street, Kasturba Road, Queen’s Road, Millers Road, Brigade Road, Lavelle Road, Dickenson Road and Infantry Road, which see some of the highest traffic density in the city most days.
So what precautions is the civic authority taking to make sure traffic runs smoothly despite the project covering so many of its main arterial roads? Has it learnt from its white- topping experience? After all it was forced to call a sudden halt to the project seeing the inconvenience it was causing the public. The state government had to step in and advise it to carry out the work only on stretches where the traffic could be diverted.
But whether or not the civic agency has learnt a lesson remains to be seen. With the TenderSure work expected to begin early next year, many Bengalureans are already preparing to battle chaos on the roads.
Says Mr Mahendran, a sales executive, “We know that development work like remodelling of roads is done for the welfare of the people. But the work should be carried out without badly inconveniencing the people. Look what happened during the remodelling of Church Street and the white- topping of roads! It takes months for these projects to complete and if we do not have alternative roads, the city will be crippled.”
Agreeing, civic expert, Ravichandar observes, “Our work sites usually resemble war zones. We need to execute our projects while managing the traffic flow. But the civic authorities don’t give much importance to public convenience.”
It’s time to give pedestrians priority
Having only recently received an award for the best non-motorised transport project by the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs for its TenderSure roads, the BBMP is confident of delivering on its promise to redo more of the city’s roads on similar lines without inconveniencing Bengalureans. Says a senior BBMP official, “The city went out of gear some months ago as white- topping was done simultaneously in many parts. As the work had to be completed before the model code of conduct kicked in for the May assembly poll , we had to do it in a hurry. But this time we have given clear instructions that whatever we do the people should not be inconvenienced. We hope to carry out the remodelling of roads one by one and not all at once.” Brand expert, Harish Bijoor too is all for the building of more TenderSURE roads in the city, arguing that despite all the criticism they attracted to begin with, they have created a template for pedestrian respect. “More than the roads, it is about the footpaths and the attendant practical utilities that a city like Bengaluru needs. I am happy that 20 more roads in the CBD will get this facelift. The city needs to bring back the joy of walking on safe footpaths and of cycling too. Hopefully this will return to Bengaluru what it lost due to unplanned growth,” he says. Mr Srinivas Alavilli, co-founder of Citizens for Bengaluru, too believes that roads in the CBD need more footpaths and carriageways of consistent width, besides walk signals on one- way roads. “This is a good time to experiment with pedestrian plazas and a no- vehicle policy in the CBD on Sundays,” he suggests.
Q&A: Project will boost Bengaluru’s image, Gangambike Mallikarjun said.
Has it been decided to remodel 20 more roads in the Central Business District under the TenderSURE project?
Yes, 20 major roads in the CBD have been chosen for a makeover. The BBMP has received an award for its TenderSURE roads and once more roads are remodelled under the project it will boost the image of Bengaluru both in India and abroad.
But recently, during the white topping of roads, people were badly inconvenienced. How will the BBMP make sure that they don’t suffer similarly this time?
For any project to be successful, we need the support of officials, government departments and most of all, the people. The government takes up these projects only for the welfare of the people. We will try our best to reduce the inconvenience.
When is the work expected to begin and from where?
I have not yet got all details of the project. If everything goes according to plan, the work could begin by January.