It’s quite rare to find a resident of Indiranagar who doesn’t gush about the vitality of the neighborhood, particularly when compared to many other localities across Bangalore. Unfortunately, this vitality also has its clear drawbacks, not the least of which being constant traffic congestion. All too often, the main road arteries of Indiranagar are jammed even at odd hours across the week. If you have the severe misfortune of roaming the streets as a pedestrian during this time, then God help you! Good luck hearing the peppy birds as chances are you will just hear the cacophony of horns and vehicle engines instead. If this vicious noise pollution wasn’t enough, try ingesting the natural deliciousness of 1985 bus exhaust or better still, the sweet whiff of diesel from that near ancient lorry zipping past.
at roaming the roads of Indiranagar as a pedestrian is quite an unpleasant experience. Some might even say that it’s an extreme sport: hello Indian X Games! Brutally pungent fumes aside, Indiaranagar lacks a sensible sidewalk infrastructure for pedestrians to casually meander and soak up the storefronts and cute cafes. This is certainly soul-sucking when compared to Mumbai’s stellar footpaths in stylish neighborhoods like Bandra or Kala Ghoda. This is not the type of urban mountaineering that citizens want!
Are there any potential solutions out there to this devilish chaos that’s consistently befalling the Indiranager citizen? What if there was a policy driven solution that could help pedestrians reclaim the urban core of Bangalore’s most storied new neighborhood?
Well, that solution does exist out there and it’s in the form of an outright vehicle ban on Indiranagar’s most hectic, dangerous thoroughfare, 100 ft rd. Drawing inspiration from world leading metros like New York, London, and Stockholm, this policy will ensure that this bustling commercial thoroughfare will once again be dominated by citizens on foot. By outlawing all vehicle traffic from the Domlur Flyover to Old Madras Rd, the neighborhood will see a significant improvement in air quality while also activating a huge amount of otherwise dead vehicle space for alternative mixed use. The possibilities are truly endless! Think about new urban forms of artistic expressions: eccentric sculptures, expansive public seating, innovative horticulture……I could go on and on.
Naysayers will attempt to belittle this plan and attach words such as idealistic and non-pragmatic. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Is it pragmatic to see 100 ft rd get clogged every day with more and more vehicles, thereby zapping the life out of the on-road pedestrian experience? Businesses suffer at present, there’s no two ways about it. By reactivating this vital commercial corridor, this issue can finally see a permanent fix and more small businesses can flourish. Say hello once again to al fresco dining on 100 ft rd. Maybe we will even hear the birds chirp again from those lovely old trees?
As for the traffic you might say? Well, transport research suggests that constraining roads for vehicles ends up lessening overall traffic since it creates a strong disincentive for these same vehicles to not even travel outside in the first place. While this disincentive might not hold true for commercial vehicles, this is very much the case for private white board cars since other options exist for these vehicle owners. The international data is overwhelming in proving out this behavioral reality of the urban citizen.
All it takes is a little imagination to make a sweeping change to one of Bangalore’s most anarchic stretches of urban jungle. Let’s join hands and make it happen!