[Urbanstudy] On MG Road, Metro will be a circus

Vinay Baindur yanivbin at gmail.com
Fri Jan 19 04:08:38 CST 2018


*On MG Road, Metro will be a circus*

Just when Namma Metro should have begun to offer tangible solutions to
Bengaluru's transportation woes, the short-sighted and unilateral approach
of Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL) is returning to haunt both
decision-makers and commuters. When phase I of the Metro was taken up,
there was strong criticism from urban transport experts about the decision
to build overground the 5.5 km purple line from MG Road to Baiyappanahalli.
They had called for a 75-year perspective plan in building the Metro and
had emphatically pointed out that in most big cities, within the central
business areas, metro rail lines have been built underground. All that fell
on BMRCL's deaf ears. The authorities insisted that the per-km cost of
going underground would be 2.5 times higher than building it overground,
and went ahead with their plan. As the lovely boulevard along Parade Ground
made way for the ugly pillars and concrete carriageway, destroying the
beauty of Bengaluru's signature street, the citizens' worst fears about the
Metro came true.

With Metro now moving into the second and third phases, rapidly gaining
popularity among the people who have taken to it out of sheer necessity, it
is becoming clear that by going overground at MG Road, it was not just the
aesthetics that was sacrificed. The Gottigere-Nagavara red line will be
underground when it crosses the purple line at MG Road, and the design
integration - or the lack of it, rather - will force passengers going from
one line to another to walk at least 500 metres and descend or ascend 4 to
5 levels to catch their trains. Imagine the plight of women, children and
the elderly when they commute on this route. This situation would not have
arisen if the MG Road-Baiyappanahalli line had gone underground in the
first place. It would have ensured smooth integration for upcoming lines,
fewer technical challenges in creating different levels, and cost savings.
Most importantly, it would have been convenient for commuters.

It is abundantly clear that BMRCL has repeatedly missed the very purpose of
building the Metro at every critical juncture. After the fiascos at
Yeshwanthpur and Cantonment, it is now the turn of MG Road junction. It
only goes to show that BMRCL seems unable to envision even now what the
fully built Metro system will be like and whether it will serve its purpose
- which is to integrate multiple modes of transport into a seamless one.
Since BMRCL, on its own, seems unwilling to consult the public or listen to
experts, the government should consider ways to make the corporation do so,
either by rewriting its charter to make public consultations mandatory or,
if necessary, through court intervention.
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