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Known as the Silicon Valley of India, Bangalore is one of the fastest growing cities in India and in the world. It is home to a USD 150 billion IT sector that amounts to 10% of India’s GDP. Prior to the development boom, the city was a quaint little paradise with many gardens and green spaces, because of which the city was often referred to as The Garden City. The city boasts having the most beautiful climate throughout the year. However, rapid expansion and urbanisation over the last two decades has not only changed the city drastically but brought it to a tipping point, with the number of vehicles in circulation up by 6000% since the year 2000, resulting in horrendous traffic conditions. This has pushed private vehicle users to use car rental services which only impacted the situation further.
MOST IMPORTANT CURRENT ISSUES
Traffic Congestion and Air pollution have become major problems in the last couple of years. Due to heavy congestion, average traffic speed is just 4.5 km per hour. Most of the city streets and highways are relatively narrow (74% are two lane carriageways). Along with the lack of enforcement of traffic rules, these conditions encourage riders to drive on the footpaths, creating an unsafe mess for everyone. Data indicates that 60-70% of emissions originate from vehicles, making it the top city in India to be impacted by vehicular pollution.
BEST LOCAL EXAMPLE TO SHOWCASE
The city is attempting to address these issues: “Bus Day” is a social campaign where people are encouraged to use public transport for their daily commuting within the city, and it was started by the Local ULB. The first Bus Day was observed on February 4, 2010 and since then, it has become a tradition to observe Bus Day on the 4th of every month.
ONGOING PROJECTS AND CAMPAIGNS
“Church Street” is an active street in the centre of the City’s Business district which was transformed into a pedestrian priority street, completely redesigned with wide footpaths, cobbled streets and cycle parking facilities. On every Sunday the street is completely blocked to vehicles and is used by people as a public social space.
Cycle Day campaigns are held once every month at different neighbourhoods in the city, where streets are closed off to vehicles, allowing cyclists and pedestrians to freely move about and children and adults to come together and participate in community activities and games.
SUCCESSFUL PREVIOUS PROJECTS
Open Streets OMG was held in 2016 on M.G Road,with the aim to revive the long lost charm of the Boulevard of Bengaluru City. Traffic movement was restricted between 9 AM and 9PM for one day, opening the streets for festivities that celebrated the city of Bengaluru in all its traffic-free glory.