Let the trees be

A design proposal from Vijay Narnapatti to widen Sheshadri Road without cutting the roadside trees is an attempt at a constructive engagement between a citizen and the government.

On 12th November 2008, Hasiru Usiru (HU) volunteers, in a symbolic act of protection, tied white ribbons around the trees on Sheshadri Road. The road is slated to be widened, with several 40-50 years old trees along its strength to be felled.

Design proposal

Vijay Narnapatti (far left) engaging the members of the Empowered Committer in discussion (12 Nov 08, Sheshadri Road)
(pic: Deepa Mohan)

As Chairman, Yellappa Reddy, of the Empowered Committee, himself turned up for the inspection of the road, he was met by Vijay Narnapatti, an architect and a HU volunteer. Naranpatti pressed for the cause of retaining as many trees as was possible, and reiterated that road-widening was, at best, only a short-term solution. Reddy countered that as a lane with a depth of 1.5 metres would be dug, the roots of the trees would be weakened anyway; it would be better if all the trees were removed at the outset. Also, he said that since all the trees were not in a linear alignment, preserving all of them would be difficult. The space would be allocated for footpaths of 3 metres on each side of the road, apart from a two way road with six lanes of traffic, he added.

Narnapatti also pressed for the need of a dedicated cycle path, keeping in view the number of educational institutions in the area. He offered to give a design for one from Sheshadri Road to Jayanagar as a first step in the direction.

Click here for the complete design proposal from Vijay Narnampatti.

Synchronization of traffic lights was also mooted, and Reddy asked HU to submit a proposal for the same for the Committee’s consideration.

Tree Officer, Suresh, signed the design proposal letter for Sheshadri Road to be submitted by Naranpatti and also acknowledged the document with analysis of the situation on Sheshadri Road and Naranpatti’s solutions for it.

On November 29th, the volunteers of Hasiru Usiru got together with several like-minded citizens to congregate on the steps of the Puttanna Chetty Town Hall, holding up placards and once again re-iterating that the roads of Bangalore were not meant only for motorized transport, but were meant also for children, the elderly, the disabled, the cyclists, the pedestrians, and even for the vendors who eked out their livelihood there.

The strength of the turnout was greatly augmented by the presence of large numbers of Avenue Road shopkeepers, who see their businesses being badly affected by the widened roads and the increased traffic. Several cyclists of Bangalore also joined the gathering, and spoke out about the way they feel marginalized by the present road-widening plans of the BBMP.

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