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Bothering Deepak Krishnan ( and tens of million others ) January 17, 2007

Posted by Sharath Rao in general, india, rant.

Deepak Krishnan asks :

There are also times when I leave aside blind emotion and think with reason. What can the planners of Mumbai do more than what they have done so far? There is no place to lay extra tracks; and the roads are already loaded beyond their capacity. The only factor that I can blame is the ever burgeoning population of this giant city.

All the bus routes that I can take back home, 373 Ltd, 310, 350 etc are all jam packed, with no opportunity to set foot into them, leave alone have a comfortable ride. And this story holds good for all other bus routes as well. The story of the trains is only too well documented to warrant any attention here. The option of letting a few buses go so that you can take the next ’empty’ one is also thrown out of the window…..

Firstly, I sympathize with DK that he has to go through this.

Having exercised my right to feigned condescension 🙂 , let me make a mention of things people do. I am no urban planner but there are a whole lot of things cities around the world have tried. Some of these things already are in place in Bombay – like restricion on where Autorickshaws can ply. But other things include –

Congestion pricing in London and making parking expensive in downtown areas as in NYC ( $15-40 per hour in some areas – roughly Rs. 300 per hour in terms of purchasing power ) are simple examples. Also parking rates depend on not just day of the week but if there is an event etc. For eg: Parking rates near and around stadia almost doubles/triples if there is an important match ! I guess that should apply to near wankhede for One-day matches, Tuesdays near the Siddhi Vinayaka temple and Fridays near mosques etc.

For the interested you can read this interview with an urban planner. Of the many things he says, this stands out :

For example, someone who starts gaining weight COULD say, ‘Oh the problem is my pants are too tight’. Of course it is true but it is not a useful way to look at the problem. You would probably not ever think of eating healthily or exercising if your focus is ‘tight pants’. Focus on people and goods instead of vehicles and traffic jams. Concentrate on how can we move people and goods in the most efficient ways. When you think like that, you tend to think a lot more about public transport, which is much more space efficient.

What he means by “Focus on people and goods instead of vehicles” is probably :

These include downtown parking policy, the encouragement of bicycling, the staggering of work hours by dominant employers, and the use by medium-sized cities of a “multimode” ticket that charges cars entering the city center a toll equal to the transit fare. The reorientation of urban transport analysis that they advocate will by no means eliminate traffic delays but should speed up the adoption of a richer, more flexible, and ultimately more effective set of policies to alleviate urban traffic congestion.

Another example I can think of is to have schools in the same area start at different times – schools in city centers are a big cause of traffic jams – vehicles have lower speed limits, parents’ cars are parked by the side of the road to pick up and drop children.



1. Somayaji Ravi - January 18, 2007

Man, you’re going to lose your party seat by drafting your messages out here 😛 Well, in case of the additional taxes they aint gonna work well coz the mumbhaiyyyaa tekhedars are sure going to make a big buck out of it!! In this democracy, the abstraction is tooo high, and the wrongdoers just dont realize their mistakes, but all you know you get shouted at for being banged into!!

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