Roadwidening with no plan cannot achieve mobility

The proposal to widen six roads – actually, just small segments of these roads – lacks everything we would wish for in urban design. It’s not part of an overall strategy of mobility in the city; it’s not clear what goals are expected to be achieved; it’s not being done as per the KTCP Act which requires these projects to be carried out through town planning schemes, and it doesn’t even copy the best of such efforts from other parts of India.

First, they are not proposing to actually widen roads, but only some stretches of the roads. Widening Bannerghatta Road from Dairy Circle to Sagar Apollo junction, for example, will address only about 1/10th of the total length of the road. Similarly, widening the outer ring road between Silk Board and Jayadeva hospital will still leave a large chunk of the ring road up to Mysore Road junction unaddressed.

Secondly, what many of the roads need is not widening, but better flow. This can be achieved by first constructing the necessary under-passes and overpasses to handle the junctions. Silk Board junction, the most important node of South Bangalore, has remained in this poor state for almost six years now, with plans for its improvement never taking off.

Moreover, the widening is also not part of any larger strategy for mobility, but merely a set of ‘projects’ to keep BDA busy in the short term. What would be better is to complete the ongoing strategy of BBMP to make the Big10 roads and the Outer Ring Road signal free. This will create a preferred mobility corridor for movement in and out of the city, and also around the city. Such differentiation between high volume corridors and other roads is necessary to have any chance of managing the growing demand for mobility infrastructure.

And finally, all of this would have been ok, if the announcement had also included some plans to improve bus service and pedestrian facilities. I am confident that on many stretches, if the ‘widened portion’ is given for a wider footpath and better bus bays, a lot more people would benefit, than simply making more and more space for cars.


  1. Chitra Char says:

    I completely agree with Ashwin Mahesh regarding arbitrary road widening. One of the roads to be widened is from Mekhri circle to BDA office. Immediately after the BDA office is the Windsor Manor bridge/underpass, which cannot be widened. So they expect all the traffic from mekhri circle to jam up this underpass?

  2. Kanishka Lahiri says:

    On the one hand the author laments the lack of pedestrian facilities, on the other, he is a proponent of making the “big 10” roads signal free. How does Mr Mahesh expect people to cross Old Airport Road near say, Domlur, a residential area, once the road is made “signal free”? The truth is, he doesn’t. Under planning schemes like this, the pedestrian has no real rights left in this city.

    Another “Big 10” road, Bellary Road has already ripped through north Bangalore, robbing everyone who is not an athlete of the right to get from one side to another safely. Mr Mahesh, if you could personally demonstrate how to safely get from say, Palace Grounds to Sadashivnagar as a pedestrian, especially at night, then I’d feel a lot more enlightened. The idea of signal-free corridors running through the city is a regressive one, and is at fundamental odds with improving the percentage of trips made by public transport.

  3. A W Xavier says:

    Road widening projects in Bangalore are very important for the residents and the visitors to the city. In fact, concerned agencies failed to achieve the desired results among the residents and the visitors. When you drive on any widened road, neither the motorist nor the residents at any section of the road are comfortable. For those, who want to cross the road or cross an intersection joining the main stretch is a nightmare. No doubt, the motorist avail priority right on road use. Local residents / pedestrians after a brief waiting to cross, are compelled to force the motorist to give way. Often, this ends in undesirable incidents. What we see is total ignorance of basics in planning and execution of any projects. Pedestrian crossing does not exist at almost 99% length of new widened roads. In any project, pedestrian crossing should be opened for use even before road widening work commences. Construction agencies do not follow safety during construction, resulting damage to four wheelers two wheelers, motor cycles and so on. My car was also damaged during rod widening between Mekhri circle and hebbal flyover, due to uncleared debris left without proper caution sign.

  4. Srivathsa says:

    It is okay to widen certain stretches if those are the bottlenecked stretches. Not sure if the stretches being widened are indeed the bottlenecks.

    Wholeheartedly agree that pedestrians need to get their fair share of the road widening via even and wide footpaths and at grade crossing.

    Better flow is what is needed. But before we go for overpasses and underpasses, maybe simple junction improvements could do the trick. Also many roads have their left most lane unusable because of mud/dirt/projecting tree roots, transformers.

    If ORR and Big 10 had no pedestrians using them or trying to cross, then signal free would make sense. Big 10 cut across the center of the city. Is it really feasible to make the center signal free. ORR might make sense, but pedestrian crossings have to be provided at at least 1 km gaps (no more than 5-6 mins walk to the nearest crossing.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Similar Story

Train travails at Chennai Central signal dire need to solve overcrowding

Overcrowding in trains bound from Chennai to faraway places points to an urgent need for additional trains to ease the rush.

Last month, news reports emerged of ticketed passengers stranded at Chennai Central railway station. They carried bonafide tickets for seats on a train bound for Howrah, but discovered that unauthorised travellers had occupied their coaches; it is said that people began to board the train even as the railcars were entering the platform so that the sleeper coaches were full by the time they made a stop at the station. According to a report in The Hindu, ticketless passengers had not only overrun the reserved coaches but also blocked walkways with their luggage, making it impossible for those who had…

Similar Story

Alternative to Bengaluru’s tunnel roads: Improve public transport, enhance mobility, complete projects

Instead of expensive tunnel roads, Bengaluru needs better mobility, metro, suburban rail and buses. Sustainable mobility is the way forward.

Part 1 of this series looked at the cost, risks and challenges of tunnel roads. Part 2 will focus on the alternatives to tunnel roads, and how they can be implemented.  Improve traffic flow: BMTC, Namma Metro and Suburban Rail Metro to Airport:  Namma Metro is extending its Blue Line to Kempegowda International Airport (KIAL) as part of Phase-2B. This metro line, connecting Kasturinagar to KIAL, is expected to be operational by June 2026. Once completed, it will significantly reduce traffic on the road to the airport. Namma Metro Blue Line to Kempegowda International Airport (KIAL). Graphic: Rajkumar Dugar Suburban…