A survey conducted by a Bengaluru-based NGO has found that several of the basic civic infrastructure and services available to residents in the city do not even meet minimum standards, rendering it almost useless in many neighbourhoods.
The Street Quality Score 2015, an initiative of Janaagraha, was conducted on 3,500 km of roads (Arterial, Sub-arterial and Collector) across the city to measure the quality of infrastructure (Footpaths, Pedestrian Crossings, Street lighting, Bus-Stops and Air Pollution) at a street-level, through the use of Android Apps.
The survey was performed by Jana Urban Services for Transformation (JUST) over the course of three months from September to November 2015.
The survey report states that not only are some parts of the city “evidently nicer” and more "liveable" than the others, but also that all areas do not have access to "basic minimum quality" infrastructure and services.
Here is what the survey found:
Of the 3318km of streets that were surveyed, only 1928km (i.e. 58%) have walkable footpaths.
The report states, "There are 23,343 locations across the city that have been identified where footpath may have to be laid, an existing footpath repaired, or an obstruction cleared."
Some of the major reasons why footpaths in the city are unwalkable, as mentioned in the report are illegal constructions, broken slabs, electricity poles which have been erected on the footpath, vehicle parking and temporary food stalls set up on it.
St Mark’s Road, Vittal Mallya Hospital Road (both Tender SURE roads), Brigade Road, Cubbon Park Road and Nimhans Road are some of the stretches that have proper footpaths.
"If we can build 1 km of footpath a day, in 21 months all streets across Bengaluru will have footpaths! This will just cost 6% of BBMP’s annual budget."- Street Quality Score 2015
Of the 3256 intersections that were surveyed for this project, only 279 intersections (i.e. 9 %) were found to have usable pedestrian crossings.
"We need 6 times more PCs on Arterial roads, 18 times more on Sub-arterial roads and 35 times more on Collector roads. Clearly, greater number of usable pedestrian crossings needs to be an immediate priority for better walkability in the city," the report states.
Some of the pedestrian crossings that "got it wrong" are GKVK Road, Whitefield Main Road and Bangalore University Road, with zero usable pedestrian crossings.
Street Lighting on Footpaths
The average street lighting on the 3,075km of streets that were surveyed was 8 lux (Lux is the SI unit of illuminance and luminous emittance, measuring luminous flux per unit area.)
While the minimum safety requirement is 10 lux and the benchmark is 20 lux, the report states that "127 wards are both partially lit and also have an average lux score below the minimum safety benchmark."
Only 665 km (i.e. 38%) of the 1750 km of streets that were surveyed were found to be serviced by bus-stops.
The report states, "On Collector Roads which connect citizens’ homes with the rest of the city, you are likely to find a bus stop every 2 km, which is 4 times the ideal walkable distance to a bus stop."
Air Pollution PM 2.5
"PM 2.5 or fine particulate matter, consists of particles with diameters that are less than or equal to 2.5 microns in size. PM 2.5 is a serious health concern, since its smaller particles can travel deeply into our lungs and long term exposure may be associated with increased rates of chronic bronchitis, reduced lung function and increased mortality from lung cancer and heart disease."
PM 2.5 concentrations were found to be 40% higher than the permissible limit in the 917 km of streets that was surveyed.