Wednesday, December 28, 2011

An Open Suggestion to BBMP - On Parking & Living.

(Cross-posted from a post on Through Tinted Glasses).

Every time I visit Bangalore, I feel an inner need to reflect on what particular work can improve life in Bangalore.

On this visit, one Bangalore fact that sticks out in my mind is its parking problem. Most roads in residential neighborhoods in Bangalore, are created by the Bangalore Developmental Authority, and have a 30' width, not including the space needed for drainage. So, if you leave about 5' on either side for pedestrians, you really only have about 20', or about 10' for traffic in one direction. (A frequently found sedan on Bangalore roads these days, such as the Maruti Suzuki SX4 Model, is 69", or nearly 6', wide).

But, the problem is that cars are frequently parked during the day on either side of the street, thus using up to 15' for the 30' width. Pedestrians thus are forced to walk on the asphalt, and this reduces the available asphalted portion for automobiles even further, to barely accommodate a moving car in a single direction.

What is the solution?

A Residential  Building, at Chestnut & Octavia in San Francisco.
A possible solution is to adapt, within the city limits, what cities like San Francisco have been practicing for quite some time. (It was not long ago that San Francisco and Bangalore established a sister city relationship). The accompanying picture shows one neighborhood in San Francisco, specifically at the intersection of Chestnut and Octavia streets.

A key point to be noted in this picture is that the garage doors seen here are very deceptive. The parking space is not just for one car: As a car enters through the garage door, the entire ground floor is opened up for parking, and living space starts at the next floor — 1st floor in Indian parlance or 2nd floor in American parlance. An immediate consequence of this arrangement is that the streets are left free for moving automobiles and pedestrians and, where possible, for curb-side parking.

Thus, if all future construction within Bangalore City Corporation limits takes place in such a way that adequate parking space is provided for inhabitants, and visitors, of a building, an important problem will have been solved. Otherwise, we will create many more Mantri Square-like disasters throughout the city.

Is anyone from BBMP or the Bangalore Team of the San Francisco-Bangalore Sister City Initiative or the Bangalore Developmental Authority listening?