Commute

Last Friday, my visit to a friend’s place was reminiscent of a typical journey that most of us are so accustomed to in Namma Bengaluru. Meandering through the famed Brigade Road in order to connect to Bannerghatta side of the city, it took a good 15 minutes just to cross the stretch of 200m. As we crossed the signal, we couldn’t see an apparent reason for the delay in moving across the street. There are no feeder streets coming onto this road to cause any conflict in the flow. On further introspection it can be realised that the real culprit…

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Metro rail projects are fast progressing in many Indian cities, and more are to come. They have been projected as the best solution to cities reeling under traffic jams. Currently eight cities have metro rails, covering a span of about 370 kms. The longest line of 217 kms is in Delhi, and next comes Bangalore at about 42 kms. In these and five other cities, 537 kms of additional metro lines are being constructed. Even more is in the planning stage. This also means huge public spending, as metro projects require investments of thousands of crores. Yet, many studies have…

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Given the current scenario of increasing pollution in Indian cities, it’s quite likely that we shall soon have to breathe from canisters of clean air to avoid chronic respiratory issues. What we’ve been noticing in Delhi is clearly a man-made catastrophe. PM 2.5 levels are at an all-time high and almost 10 times those seen in Beijing. Citizens are seriously considering options to escape the toxic and unacceptably high levels of air pollution in Delhi. But as things stand, not everyone is lucky enough to be able to do so, the burden falling disproportionately on the poor. What is most…

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Church Street is among the busiest streets in Bengaluru. It houses some of the most upscale business and entertainment establishments in the Central Business District (CBD). A few years ago, it was also synonymous with decaying infrastructure and chaos—crumbling footpaths, roads that would flood with the slightest shower, garbage. And these were just surface-level problems. In 2015, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) announced that the stretch would be redeveloped under the TenderSURE guidelines. The project was going to be financed through the Nagarothana Yojana by the Government of Karnataka at an estimated cost of about Rs 9 crores. However,…

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Vijay Kundaji didn't really figure in my list of friends, though we met at regular intervals during Citizens for Bengaluru meetings. He seemed reticent and a man of few words who liked a comfortable corner—very unlike me. But when we began work on the Beku Beda Santhe, I realised his shy nature was a sham. He turned into a one-man army, whose stoic confidence was what kept most of us calm during the run up to the event. Murphy's Law would not meet a more determined adversary. Our shared moments over absolute disasters and accomplishment also saw us become friends.…

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Somewhat surprisingly, Bengaluru’s Intelligent Transport System (ITS) for buses — the first of its kind in India — has been shortlisted with four other cities worldwide in the sustainable transportation category by the C40 Cities Bloomberg Philanthropies Awards in New York for climate-related initiatives. The city has been proverbially bogged down by traffic snarls and lack of public transport, including taxis and auto rickshaws, and there have been few visible signs of an improvement in the situation. Nagendra, chief systems manager in the Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), said work on the project had started in 2015 and was officially launched in May 2016.…

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Square sections of tar have appeared on various roads, as BBMP and the government scramble to resurface the city. While these will provide immediate relief, they will also become the reason why we end up in the same problem once more later. This is this trap we need to get out of. In crisis mode, we must do something NOW. And inevitably the only option left at that time seems to guarantee a future crisis. There is only one way to solve the problem. We have to bite the bullet, and start doing the things that will solve the problems…

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BMTC is the lifeline of Bengaluru. Its buses deliver 5 million (50 lakh) passenger trips everyday. This figure of passengers carried is close to half the population of the city. Without BMTC, we would all be dead, in a manner of speaking, as the city's already beyond-clogged roads would need to carry this huge number of people in vastly more motor vehicles. In comparison Namma Metro does not yet carry even one-tenth that number of people a day along its currently functional 2 lines. And reports are that their service is already 'at capacity' until much-needed coaches are added and…

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It is not possible to make the city pothole-free in 10 days. So it is unclear what the government hopes for, by ordering BBMP to do this. It may as well order the rains to stop! Keeping a city pothole-free is not difficult. But that requires doing a few things right to BEGIN with. The responses after things go wrong won't help. The only thing we can hope for in 10 days is to see whether the government and the BBMP begin to do things differently in the way construction and maintenance contracts are set up for roads and footpaths.…

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So what does it mean to open a superbike in a city where roads are a death trap even for the normal ones? I have been a biker from the time I was in college. The feeling of being free with the air in your face was an unparalleled experience and I was hooked after my ride. My first bike that was a Yamaha RX and there was no looking back from there on. I have owned a number of bikes—the Royal Enfield Thunderbird, Duke 390, Kawasaki Ninja 650, Yamaha R15 , Kawasaki Ninja 1000 and the Triumph Daytona 675r.…

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