BRT MESS: DELHI GOVERNMENT TO INFLICT FURTHER TORTURE

SCRAP THIS TRAP PART-III

Govt plans to choke city with 38 more botched BRTs

        DIMTS Ready To Replicate Flawed Experiment 

     Govt Refuses To Allow People’s Participation In Decision-Making

Rumu    Banerjee TNN

      New Delhi:The Delhi government decided to rechristen the bus rapid transit (BRT) corridor as integrated transit corridor in 2011, perhaps hoping to erase the memory of the ordeal Delhiites undergo everyday on the Ambedkar Nagar-Moolchand BRT.

        Unfortunately, that’s the only change it has brought about. Plans for 38 new corridors — 14 of which have been approved by Delhi government — clearly show the government is hell-bent on implementing a design that has already been panned by the city.
A case in point is the preliminary design for BRT corridors to be constructed by DIMTS (Delhi integrated multi-modal transit system). The agency, which operates and maintains the existing BRT, has been entrusted with six corridors. Despite the experience of running the Ambedkar Nagar BRT with its attendant jams and long-signal cycles, DIMTS opted to replicate the same design on corridors it will be building — central dedicated lane for buses, girded by the motor vehicle (MV) lanes on both sides.

      The rest of the road, DIMTS officials say, will be retrofitted as per guidelines set by the umbrella traffic and transport agency, UTTIPEC. “The principle of the BRT at Ambedkar Nagar is sound. We only have to learn from our experience and design a better model for other corridors,” said a senior DIMTS official.

        A better model, according to DIMTS, is a corridor that will have 15m set aside for the dedicated bus lane with 11m on either carriageway for MV lanes. On either side, a section of the road space measuring 10-11m will be devoted for the footpath, cycle and non-motor vehicle track. This is a typical cross-section on a 60m road, as suggested by UTTIPEC. On roads that are narrower, the lane width goes down correspondingly. But the segregated bus lane is not done away with, unless the road is narrower than 24m. That’s not all. The design also suggests separate parking zones for autorickshaws and Gramin Sewa on the road space in the corridor, aside from hawker zones near intersections. All this will be carved out in the existing road space.

        BRT proponents say existing lane space for private vehicles will not be touched in the new corridors. “We will make more space on the road where possible,” a DIMTS official said. Considering the corridors are going through highly congested areas like ISBT Kashmere Gate, the airport intersection, Vikas Marg, Seelampur, Dilshad Garden, Azadpur, Shahdara, Mahipalpur and Gokulpuri, the idea may seem ludicrous. DIMTS claims that’s why it has opted for a ‘hybrid’ system — where the segregated bus lane may merge into mixed traffic on stretches that are too narrow.

       Transport planning expert Prof P K Sarkar says, “The design as implemented at Ambedkar Nagar BRT is not optimum utilisation of space. The biggest problem is with the junction treatment in the BRT, where signal cycles are too long. Only if the bus lane is completely segregated at these junctions, perhaps made elevated, will the corridor work in Delhi.” According to Sarkar, any traffic-heavy junction where the bus lane is at grade with the MV lane will result in traffic jams. He dismisses the government’s proposal to reclaim road space in areas like the Yamuna riverside, by concretizing strips along the stretch. “Can that be done along all the roads in Delhi? Obviously not,” is the scathing retort. Sanjiv Sahai of DIMTS says the benefits of the BRT will be felt once the network is completed. But why wasn’t the network completed in the past four years since its inception? There are no answers.

           That the government itself is confused about the project is apparent from the fact that the PWD, which has been asked to build the rest of the seven BRT corridors (with one to be built by the MCD), has no clue whether the BRT will be a central or side-dedicated bus lane. PWD officials say the design will be finalized by consultants. The PWD is still in the process of hiring them.

       With a cost of Rs 15-20 crore per kilometre, the experimentation drive by the Delhi government on the BRT project that will cover over 300km raises several questions. Why is it insisting on extending the corridor when the existing one still doesn’t function properly?

       In a city with shrinking road space, rampant encroachment, lax enforcement, why is the government relying on a system that can only tackle moderate traffic flow? The government’s refusal to allow public participation in the decision process has only mired the project in more controversy. But is the government listening?
( C o n c l u d e d )

CORRIDOR OF CHAOS
In 2011, Delhi govt gives nod to 14 more BRT corridors .   BRT now called integrated transit corridor .Corridor will now be built by land-owning agency
DIMTS, PWD & MCD are selected agencies .Corridors cut through congested areas like
ISBT Kashmere Gate, IGI intersection, Gokulpuri, Dilshad Garden, Karkari More, Sarai Kale Khan-Jor Bagh (via Barapullah), Connaught Place

LESSONS LEARNT: NONE
Design chosen by DIMTS same as Ambedkar Nagar-Delhi Gate BRT
Dedicated bus lane to be at centre
Bus stations to be staggered, bus stops on either side of lane
Rest of road to be retrofitted with footpath, cycle track, kerbing of central dedicated lane
Pedestrian crossings near bus stations
Bus priority at minor junctions
CHANGES SUGGESTED IN NEW ITC Follow guidelines for streetdesign laid down by UTTIPEC
Corridor not to eat into existing vehicle space/ road space
Will have parking zones for autos and Gramin Sewa on corridor
Hawker zone near intersections
Higher parking charges
for vehicles in corridor
Grade separators at major junctions
Ban on turns
More buses
STATUS OF PROJECT
DIMTS ready with initial project report of six corridors
PWD yet to hire consultants. Once hired, design will be chosen for corridors
CM called for review of BRT project

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