Update on roads over storm water drains

It was just over an year ago when BBMP talked about the project – about 250 km of roads over Bangalore’s storm water drains. Local papers, when covering BBMP budget today, are saying that this project is now funded. Here is a quote from TOI:

“Here’s what people can see within one year: Bangalore will see its first set of toll roads that will be built over stormwater drains. Four such roads are proposed under the Swiss Challenge method (14.7 km in the budget): KH Road to Inner Ring Road of Koramangala (5.1 km); Old Madras Road to Airport Road in Challaghatta Valley (2.7 km); Airport Road to Bellandur tank in Challaghatta valley (4.2 km) and Outer Ring Road to Raja Canal STP of Hebbal Valley (2.7 km). Infrastructure major IDEB has offered to take up the project. “

Getting to see this in an year sounds like a stretch. But, interesting stuff. These would be tolled roads. No mention of tolls yet. Not sure how many exit and entry points these roads will have. No talk of dedicated Bus corridors on them. That BBMP tender last year had talked about “upto 250 km” of roads. Is there a bigger plan for 200-250 km worth of road network, or the current proposal (about 30 km) is only a piece-meal project? Last, was this part of CTTP, or is outside of that project?

So lots of questions, we should hopefully be getting the answers over next few days.

[Cross posted from Praja-Bangalore, comments off]

Bangalore’s Water: 38% is not “accounted” for!

Some newspaper reports (Hindu, ToI) this week mentioned that:

… water supply to Bangalore is … 694 million litres a day … consumption which is actually billed … around 429 million litres a day. The unaccounted for water comes to an alarming 38.2 per cent

Wow, 38.2 percent (quoted from Hindu)! This would include two types of losses, 1) distribution loss: damages, leakages etc, and 2) water that is not getting billed. There is no clear mention or estimates of split between the two categories. Assuming distribution loss (leaks) to be 20% (double the 10% developed world aims for, google “Water Management Act US”), 18% of water could be going unbilled. That guesswork tells us that 1 in 6 of us, Bangalore citizens, isn’t paying for his/her water.

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So really, who owns Hindi?

Alright, okay. So I am a North Indian, and someday I will be branded a Northie and questioned in Bangalore as well. I can take that, and would understand the sentiments and politics around that. But, at times, when I am called a Hindi guy as opposed to a Northie, I pause and think.

Would you have guessed that both my grand-moms (ajjis, as in daadi and naani) found it hard to talk in Hindi? One used angika, and another maithili, both of which I can describe as languages that sit somewhere between Bengali and Hindi. Yeah, one is more of a dialect today, but maithili has well documented grammar and literary history as well.

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Why do they do it?

“Richmond Circle”, I said as I hopped on to the yellow-black three wheeler. The driver cut across a crowded road to do a flashy U-turn inviting glares and screeches from other motorists. But I knew my journey had begun and I was in safe hands. This is one set of service providers that respects its customers’ time, isn’t it.

While admiring his deft maneuvering skills, pavement hopping and well timed red-signal jumps, I wished for more entertainment inside the auto. Inhaling soot was the only option – I don’t like smoking – so I started watching the meter. Time ticked slowly, so did the meter, but after a few minutes, I witnessed it. 1.50, 1.60, 1.70 … 1.90, all in about two seconds.

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Story of Bangalore traffic – in pictures

This is how it begins, so I told you a few months ago. Nothing but a no-parking sign in June. Small shops sprung up in August. September: two wheelers parked and pedestrians off the pavements. Now, no-parking sign is almost gone, and road-side parking is common on Varthur road, right next to the busy Kundalahalli intersection. Unregulated construction, irresponsible small businesses who think roads are free parking space, motorists with scant respect for no-parking signs, and no enforcement of pedestrian rights (pavements are almost gone) – this my friends, is the story of most roads and intersections in Bangalore with annoying traffic congestions. Pictures tell the story – Aug, Sep and Jan –

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BTRAC – smart signals are coming

Hope you still remember BTRAC-2010, the nice sounding traffic management project for Bangalore. Seems like KRDCL has started the process of putting up new traffic signals under this project. This bidding document talks of 204 locations for these signals. Thankfully, this document contains the specifications of these new signals as well, and they do seem smart – vehicle detectors, remote control from a Traffic Management Center, pedestrian crossings with audible alarms, and more. Have a look:

The new system shall comprise of outstation units (OU) at each intersection and an in-station unit (IU) located at the Traffic Management Center (TMC) in Bangalore city. Out station unit at any intersection shall comprise of a Vehicle Actuated Signal Controller with backup power resourses, vehicle detector and detector module, polycarbonate vehicle and pedestrian signal lamp heads with LED lamps, countdown timers, audible alarm, interconnecting cables, an appropriate interface to connect the OU with IU through a wireless or wired communication system. The in-station unit shall comprise of servers, a workstation, communication system and an operating system

Read section 4 of that document if you are curious for more. The list of 204 proposed locations is in there as well.

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How do you react?

Before I start on a long rant with my reactions, thoughts and ideas, tell me this. How should one react or behave on seeing things like these? And what should change to prevent these drivers from resorting to these shortcuts?

Its small things like these that slow our traffic down. You know, one wrongly parked vehicle, one driver on the wrong side, one red light jumper, one illegal shop on the pavements, one illegal building close to the road etc. Why do we not see any focus on eliminating these problems – sum of which is what causes most of our jams and bottlenecks – and instead we find BDA/BBMP/BCP etc trying leapfrog solutions like instant flyovers and elevated roadways?

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