Civic activist group Bellandur Jothege on Sunday organised a debate on the contentious issue of Elevated Corridor.
Proposed by the state government, the project has seen stiff opposition since its mention in the state budget in 2018 from a section of activists and experts. While there is opposition, there are some who are in favour of the project. Currently, the matter is also the subject of a High Court case pertaining to the functioning of the Metropolitan Planning Committee.
Full statement from Bellandur Jothege
Bellandur Jothege (BJ) organised a mobility debate on March 31 with panellists comprising citizen changemakers and co-collaborators from Bellandur, Koramangala, Varthur, Doddanekundi and HSR to view the proposed complex Elevator Corridors (ECs) infrastructure project through the south-east suburbs lens. For ECs were RK Misra, Nitin Seshadri, Clement Jayakumar and Pratik Ghosh. Against, were Srinivas Alavilli, Radha Chanchani, Nagesh Aras and Narendra Kumar. The debate was moderated by V Ravichandar and KG Mohan (details in the introduction deck below). The idea was to facilitate alignment of thoughts and perspectives on the proposed project, provide a platform to subject matter experts on urban infrastructure development with a local context, and understand pros and cons of how ECs will impact the infrastructure starved south-east suburbs. We, at BJ, would like to believe that with this debate, more awareness and clarity was created on the EC project and viable alternatives possible.
We will work on immediate, mid-term and long-term traffic decongestion and people mobility solutions, with active collaboration among Infrastructure and Transport subject matter experts, policy influencers, citizen groups, civic bodies and the State Government. BJ is deeply committed to take forward, with active citizenry engagement, the key debate takeaways relevant for Bellandur and its neighbours. Bellandur Jothege stands strongly for safe, sustainable, multi-modal transport systems that prioritise pedestrians with last-mile connectivity to all transport hubs and interchange points. We must strategically give in a little to get back a lot; keep asking for, as RK Misra said, "and more" not "this or that".
For that, yes, we need the Elevated Corridors incorporating:
1. A few modifications after public consultation so that the project does not erode the history and culture of our great Garden City
2. Mandated design of pedestrian last mile connectivity in all road projects (policy level)
3. Running our public transport projects concurrently a) starting with BMTC mini green buses NOW on chakra loops; b) have more scientifically planned and rationalised BMTC bus routes per the debate (one month)
4. Operationalise Yelahanka to Heelalige Suburban Rail Route twice a day at peak hours
Green mini-buses on chakra loops are a quick win on Sarjapur road for Inner Ring Road-Outer Ring Road-Sarjapura Road-Hosur Road connectivity through narrow “halli” ward roads in congested pockets of Haralur, Kasavanhalli and Doddakanelli.
As Venkat Hariharan said in the audience Q&A, we don't treat ECs as a case of an obese city buying longer belts to hold up our pants for a thickening waistline (increasing accommodation capacity for bad food choices), rather view the city as a growing child, who needs a new belt every few years.
Vinitha Kaul's question from the audience is still left unanswered though, "How can the government resolve land acquisition deadlocks to move forward on ECs or Sarjapur Road (15 years and still unresolved) or any infrastructure project, for that matter?"
Which is why, BJ maintains, we want it all, concurrently rolled out, by authorities, we can trust. Regardless, our BJ projects continue as planned, per this graphic and map (the key one being Bellandur Walks—being rolled out June 2019).