An Infographic Blog
Conceptualised and Designed by Kawin Kumaran, Aishwarya Soni
Content created by Nashwa Naushad, AV Venugopal
Photographs by TD Achuthan
An Infographic Blog
Conceptualised and Designed by Kawin Kumaran, Aishwarya Soni
Content created by Nashwa Naushad, AV Venugopal
Photographs by TD Achuthan
The first two days of September saw two big changes to make India’s streets safer, freer and less congested. The new Motor Vehicles rules came into force on the first of September, attempting the impossible, controlling the behaviour of Indian motorists on the streets. Through heavier penalties, the rules seek to reduce violations. On September 2, the Supreme Court released a judgment on the Delhi Maintenance and Management of Parking Places Rules 2019, under the umbrella of the MC Mehta case. This judgment can be seen as a landmark not just for improving parking management in our cities, but also for other steps towards reclaiming spaces for pedestrians.
Our cities are known for their chaotic streets. Pedestrians and cyclists competing with other vehicles for space on the streets is a common sight. This is further exacerbated by the ever increasing need for parking space for all these vehicles, mostly on the street or on footpaths, blocking the movement of traffic and pedestrians. The Supreme Court judgment begins with an admonishment of the state for its failure to provide adequate public transport, and mismanaging the consequences of that failure, the increasing number of private vehicles that have taken over our streets.
The judgment has taken some progressive first steps, emphasising some important aspects such as the need for footpaths in all residential areas to be cleared of encroachments to make it usable for pedestrians, and the significance of modern technology in ensuring efficient utilisation of parking spaces. It also raises the possibility of charging people for parking, though leaving that decision to the state.
However, there are some aspects of the judgment that need more scrutiny. The judgment also called on city planners and architects to provide adequate off-street parking at major demand hubs – commercial and institutional areas, transportation hubs, etc – accommodating the potential demand for the next 25 years. The order touches multiple times on creating off street parking spaces to cater to parking demand. This can be effective only post an effective on street demand based priced PM system.
Multilevel car parking (MLCP) complexes are one such solution to provide off-street parking. It is a popular myth that high parking demand can be addressed by building MLCP complexes. However, examples from India and around the world clearly indicate that it is a short-sighted attempt. In India, these MLCPs are built at great public cost and remain underutilised and vacant in many cases. Most often, the high demand is an apparent local demand, centred around one or two streets with higher levels of activity (commercial for example), while the other streets in the neighbourhood are relatively free of vehicular parking. This demand could be eased by zone-based on-street parking management, so that parking supply is distributed evenly across different streets in the neighbourhood. Hence, detailed studies are required before proposing new MLCPs.
Another way to provide off-street parking are requirements that already exist in the Development Control Regulations(DCR) set by local development authorities, but are not adhered to in many cases. That might not be such a bad thing.
These requirements are referred to as parking minimums. They are laws that require property developers to include a fixed number of off-street parking spaces according to the size of a building. The reasoning for this is that without enough off-street parking, efficient traffic flow can be compromised due to vehicles cruising for parking or parking on the street. These parking minimums can be extremely problematic in practice.
The hidden costs of parking
Global experts on parking such as Donald Shoup and Paul Barter point out that providing for parking minimums has a cost. By forcing developers to build huge amounts of parking, these rules increase traffic and harm the environment by encouraging more people to drive. They also lead to inefficient land use. Planners and architects tend to overestimate the demand, providing more off-street parking than necessary, leading to wastage of space. The increased cost of development are then passed on to buyers, even those who may not own vehicles.
At the same time, there is a reluctance to engage with managing on-street parking demand. This leads to a situation where we see the extremes of large, empty parking lots and streets choked with parked vehicles. As a society, we should think about the sense in using up valuable space to prioritise private vehicle parking demand for the next twenty-five years.
Cities around the world have moved away from the concept of parking minimums, realising that they result in a wastage of both public and private land and investments. Mexico City has now converted their parking minimums into a parking maximum. This would change the high levels of mandated parking into the maximum allowed amount of parking, allowing developers to provide lower amounts of parking. Parking maximums are more effective because they ensure that excessive parking is not created based on norms, and developers can choose to provide less parking according to market demand. Any parking above 50 percent of the maximum would be charged and the revenues from this fee would be used to improve public transport and subsidise housing.
Across our cities, free parking is viewed as a right by motorists, leading to a reluctance by city authorities and private developers to charge the full cost of parking onto motorists. It is strange that most people are outraged at having to pay for parking, while showing no surprise on hearing the cost of property in commercial and residential areas. Why should the cost of land for parking not be the same as commercial or residential rental value in a locality? Charging people for parking would discourage personal motor vehicle use, shift to alternative modes and ensure that they pay for the valuable public space they use up for parking.
As the judgment rightly observed, a primary cause for our current situation has been the failure of our governments to provide adequate good quality public transport. While enforcing the new Motor Vehicles act and creating efficient parking management systems are much needed steps, they will fail to achieve their goals without the support of an efficient public transportation system and last mile connectivity.
The judgment is a great start to a national level discussion on parking. Delhi has notified the Delhi Maintenance and Management of Parking Places Rules 2019 which aims to dramatically change parking in Delhi. The policy contains provisions to formulate hundreds of area-specific parking plans which will be developed in an exhaustive exercise over the next four months. Bengaluru and Hyderabad have also attempted to implement parking policies. Cities like Shimla and Gangtok have already created and approved city-wide parking policies. Chennai is also on the way to implementing a parking management system across the city.
Efficient parking management can be an effective way to ensure better streets and cities. Removing parking minimums and charging people for parking are important and necessary steps that can help cities to effectively manage the demand for parking. The judgment is a good starting point and Indian cities have already started taking the first steps towards this future.
Written by Keshav Suryanarayanan
Technical Direction: Vishnu Mohanakumar, AV Venugopal, Aswathy Dilip
An Infographic Blog
Designed by Aishwarya Soni
Conceptualised by A V Venugopal, Santhosh Loganaathan and Aishwarya Soni
To know more about the best practice standards for designing intersections and complete streets, check out our Complete Streets Design Workbook, Volume 4 of a 7-volume toolkit prepared by ITDP India Programme.
One week. One week is all it took for Ranchi to see a huge change on M.G.Road, one of its busiest streets. The efforts of the Ranchi Municipal Corporation(RMC), the Ranchi Traffic Police(RTP), and ITDP India Programme brought about an incredible transformation almost overnight by a quick tactical urbanism intervention. Using simple temporary measures like paint and traffic barricades, the street space was redesigned to create colourful, dedicated walking paths for pedestrians. This simple first step has created a cascade of promising changes – a first in the state of Jharkhand.
M.G.Road, leading to the Albert Ekka Chowk is one of the busiest streets of Ranchi. Imagine a street filled with cars and two wheelers. Parked two wheelers lining both sides. E-rickshaws stopping throughout the stretch to pick up and drop off people. The shopfronts overflowing onto what’s left of the street. Somewhere in the middle of all this, despite little to no footpaths, every hour more than four thousand pedestrians try to navigate through this chaos safely. This was M.G.Road until very recently. So, what changed ?
In early August, Manoj Kumar, the Ranchi Municipal Commissioner and Sanjeev Vijaywargiya, the Deputy Mayor came together with the ITDP India Programme to identify solutions to tackle traffic congestion and lack of pedestrian space on M.G.Road. They showed great enthusiasm for a tactical urbanism intervention – a low cost, temporary change with barricades and paints to improve walking conditions on M.G.Road. The transformation aimed at creating wide dedicated walking paths on the street, clearly demarcated and painted with colourful patterns with the participation of pedestrians, in order to create a sense of public ownership of the streets. The result of this intervention would help raise awareness and a public demand for a permanent intervention. This would be the first trial of its kind for Ranchi and the entire state.
Once approved, the project moved forward rapidly with the support of the RMC and the RTP. At astonishing speed, within the next two days, all stakeholders were brought on board, a detailed study was conducted, and the designs were created. On the stretch between Sarjana Chowk and Albert Ekka Chowk, a 6 metre wide walking space was demarcated on both sides. The RMC and the RTP worked together to clear the area of all parked vehicles and mark the designated areas with barricades for a two day trial run before the final tactical urbanism intervention.
From black and white to a dash of paint
The night before the inauguration, the street saw a lot of activity. Members from the RMC, RTP, and the ITDP India Programme worked with a team of painters to transform the demarcated walking area into a colourful and vibrant space. Slowly, images of white paint started to take shape on the black footpath. Outlines of children playing, a child flying a kite, and imprints of bare feet started to add life to the space. Meandering paths of paint led the way through a field of shapes of varying sizes, of bubbles and butterflies, stars and sunflowers. Hopscotch tiles for children to play, and circles to jump around. Next came the splashes of bright pink, yellow, green and blue to fill in these shapes.
Despite some rain during the painting, the teams worked on tirelessly through the night, just stopping once in a while for a cup of hot chai to warm themselves. Even late into the night, journalists and other passers-by stopped alongside the chowk, their curiosity piqued by the hustle and bustle, to find out what was happening. As a result, the project received widespread media attention, bringing many people to the chowk the next day to see the results of the nightlong efforts.
Within a few hours of hard work, the space was transformed completely. Visitors to the street in the morning were pleasantly surprised to see the results. The Deputy Mayor, the Municipal Commissioner joined a team of volunteers from the Rotaract Club of Ranchi and other institutions along with passers-by to finish painting the walking path.
The trial was a big success with the pedestrians and cyclists on the street who responded to feedback surveys with great eagerness, expressing that they felt safer and more comfortable with the new space and expressed their support for the project asking for it to be made permanent throughout M G Road.
Ranchi has already started moving in the right direction with several positive changes as a result of this intervention. The intervention has convinced the officials to replicate this approach in other parts of the city as well. The RMC has started planning a complete redesign of M.G.Road with permanent footpaths as a pilot project for the entire city. In preparation, RMC has already issued a call for bids to repair all the drainage systems along M.G.Road.
The RTP has also decided to take progressive steps to implement smart parking management on M.G.Road. Another major development is the decision of the RMC to start running city buses on the main road from early September. The department will begin working on a detailed bus operations plan for this stretch along with new infrastructure for buses.
The quick tactical urbanism intervention that happened over one week has acted as a catalyst for all these changes. These quick, low-cost and scalable initiatives can lead to a process of creating wide reaching changes across the city. This can create a city wide network of streets that enable safe walking and better transit for all.
Ranchi is already on its way!
Written by Keshav Suryanarayanan
Edited by Kashmira Dubash
A case for improving Delhi’s last-mile connectivity
Delhi—yeh sheher nahi, mehfil hai— a nostalgia bestowed upon Delhiites, from savouring the aromas of gully food, to being enchanted by the mehfil on old streets, and sometimes combined with a feeling of impending chaos. What happens when this chaos threatens the very existence of Delhi’s mehfil? Are we ready for ‘yeh Delhi sheher nahi, parking garage hai’?
As difficult it may be to let go of the age-old nostalgia of streets imagined as mehfils (gathering spaces for sharing poetry or classical music), the reality is that Delhi is clogged with cars! This is despite the city operating India’s “best-run mass rapid transit system” – the Delhi Metro. It’s vast network of over 340 kms helps 26 lakh people commute every day in the National Capital Region (NCR). While the system is classified as one of the largest in the world, it caters to less than 10 percent of NCR. Personal motor vehicles continue to rule the roost.
On the other hand, Delhi’s bus system is completely omitted from the public transport equation. Based on the existing demand and the burgeoning population, Delhi is short of over 6,000 buses – which means, Delhi needs to double its existing fleet strength. Efforts to bridge the gap in the supply of buses is the need of the hour. Lack of efficient public transport systems and the absence of last-mile connectivity has fuelled the insatious demand for personal motor vehicles. Let us now look at the issue of ‘last-mile’ connectivity.
Last-mile connectivity—how people actually get to and from the stations, particularly the Metro—has been a matter of concern among Delhi commuters. Issues surrounding the safety, convenience, and comfort to reach a station from a workplace or home, and vice-versa, has been the talk of the town for a few years now, yet neglected.
Privately run CNG autos, e-rickshaws, Gramin Sewa, and the Phat Phat Sewa have stepped in to provide last-mile connectivity, in the interim. While these systems have the stamp of legality by the State government and have managed to satisfy a portion of the mobility demand, they are largely unorganised and unregulated. The debate of whether they are a resource or a nuisance, continues.
Delhi is reported to have one lakh e-rickshaws, of which a mere 35,000 are registered, and over a lakh CNG autos. Filling the last-mile connectivity gap comes at a cost of traffic snarls and safety concerns among its citizens. Areas around metro stations have become the new choke points given the lack of integration with formal public transport, haphazard parking on main roads, and an overall lack of traffic and parking management.
It may be time for Delhi to shift focus from its archaic approach to connect the dots of its public transit system – bring home the mini-bus. When it comes to bus-based transit, let’s face it, this underdog of transit is by far one of the most efficient, affordable, and convenient modes of transport. Just one mini-bus can replace five rickshaws, or in other words, the bus can move more people in fewer vehicles in a compact amount of road space.
The mini-bus can provide the best option to improve last-mile connectivity. With better technology, services, and integration with the metro, the bus can unclog streets in Delhi, especially those around metro stations. So what does that mean for rickshaw drivers – are their livelihoods at risk? A successful transition should ensure that rickshaw drivers are formally employed into the system.
For Delhi to transition towards a people-friendly city rather than a personal motor vehicle garage, it needs to improve accessibility, affordability, and frequency of public transit as well. Cities like Pune have taken the initial steps of assessing public transit system gaps through the People Near Transit (PNT) tool, prepared with technical assistance from the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) India programme. Pune has endorsed the PNT tool to further improve its public transit reach to reduce dependency on personal motor vehicles – a similar issue that Delhi has been tackling for over a decade. Delhi can use the PNT tool to reshape its public transport to serve maximum and pollute minimum.
For far too long, cities have ignored what is arguably the most affordable and flexible public transit option, the humble mini-bus. In the name of last-mile connectivity, rickshaws have filled the gap and where unavailable, cars have taken over. In the case of Delhi, where the city can no longer afford to squeeze more cars onto its roads, the bus can provide mobility to the maximum number of people in a compact amount of road space. Delhi should champion a publicly-run mini-bus system to solve its last-mile connectivity woe; after all, a successful bus-system has never failed to move a city.
Written by Kashmira Dubash
Technical Direction: Vishnu Mohanakumar
Be it Chandni Chowk in Delhi or Pondy Bazaar in Chennai, our busiest streets are lined with rows of vibrant street shops selling everything under the sun from flowers, fruits, and vegetables to shoes, clothes, and gadgets. Street vendors are a constant presence in our cities, but are often seen as a nuisance, encroachers on public space. They suffer harassment at the hands of authorities, paying bribes under the constant threat of being evicted from their spots. We need to look at their role in our cities and find efficient and humane systems to include and integrate them rather than removing them unceremoniously from our streets.
Historically, bazaars and street shops have defined commerce and shopping in India with their colourful displays, variety of goods and their bustling crowds. Even today, we all remember walking and stopping by stalls and tarpaulin sheets filled with a variety of wares catching our eye. We enjoy the feeling of satisfaction when we spot bargains and end up buying three pairs of things we didn’t even know we needed at a price we didn’t think possible. Street vendors bring life to our streets, giving us a chance to stop in the middle of our busy lives and look around. They also ensure that there are “eyes on the street”, their presence making people feel safer and more comfortable being on the streets.
Street vendors form a crucial link in the informal economies that run our cities. On the buyer’s side, they provide essential goods to people at affordable prices and convenient places. On the other side, they ensure the livelihoods of a large number of workers, who work in local small-scale industries that manufacture these goods.
Despite their historical significance and economic contributions, street vending remained illegal in independent India for almost sixty years until 2014, when it was legalised by the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act. Many people still regard vendors as a public nuisance and as encroachers causing traffic problems. Authorities see them as illegal groups, and often harass them to pay bribes for their spots with the constant threat of eviction. Resident associations see them as eyesores in an otherwise “modern” city. As a result, vendors face a great difficulty with obtaining licenses, unstable earnings, and a constant fear of harassment.
When street vending spontaneously starts in areas, it is not without its issues that need to be addressed. In places which are hubs of street vending activity, there is a lack of safe and sufficient pedestrian space, forcing people to walk in traffic. We need to prevent overcrowding and unsanitary conditions in public spaces. The response from city authorities have been to conduct eviction and demolition drives to erase even traces of their presence from cities. But should the solution be to completely ban a vital activity and displace people without viable alternatives?
In 2004, the National Policy on Urban Street Vendors stated a need to recognise the role of street vendors in the economy and protect them from harassment, calling for a move from prohibition to regulation. The Act of 2014 specifies that Town Vending Committees (TVCs) must be established to carry out surveys of vendors, ensure that all existing vendors are accommodated in vending zones, and issue certificates of vending.
City civic bodies are required to design a Vending Management Plan informed by periodic surveys, certification of vendors, and designation of special vending and no-vending zones in the city. This framework can be implemented to effectively plan areas where vending can happen and reduce the issues that result from unregulated vending. The sad reality is that while extensive city-wide plans are required in all our cities, very few cities have started designing and implementing any such plan.
While the overall result is a city-wide plan, it has to be created as a series of local area plans. This is primarily because vendors already exist and cannot be displaced too far off from their current locations, and different streets in a region will have different capacities for vending zones. This can be assessed only at the neighbourhood level.
Bhubaneshwar was one of the first cities in India to come up with a plan working with stakeholders, vendors and the authorities. Between 2007 and 2011, the plan created 54 vending zones with 2600 permanent kiosks through a public, private and community partnership model. In February this year, Agra implemented a vending zone plan with 46 spots in the city. According to the plan, the zones will have drinking water facilities, street lights, pavements, parking space, dustbins and seating for visitors.
However, there is a long way to go. Bhubaneshwar, for example, needed a total of 180 vending zones to accomodate all 22000 vendors in the city. Most other cities have not even started the process of engaging with street vendors.
We can learn from these cities and design inclusive and integrated cities. Imagine our cities with streets filled with people, walking along a variety of shops, and safe and vibrant communities in every public space. Implemented well, the policies we already have in place can ensure that street vendors find their place in our cities, making better cities for them and for all of us.
Written by Keshav Suryanarayanan
Edited by Kashmira Dubash
The French philosopher and sociologist Henri Lefebvre interpreted space as an entity that is not static, but one that is alive and dynamically shaped through the interaction of people with it. He stressed on the importance of the production of space through these social relations over merely treating space as an object. We, however, live in a world which largely follows the technocratic planning principles for managing these spaces, rather than embracing the relations that form them.
Through understanding the relationship between people and their surrounding environment inherent to every space, the cities can ensure a demand-driven approach to solution making, where decisions are largely tailor-made than mass produced to the context. This will ensure a multidisciplinary approach to solution making, where there is open knowledge sharing and a collaborative work of different stakeholders. An intervention will thus have more credibility when it is shaped through a participatory approach involving all participants who have a stake in it.
An interesting example of how the participatory deliberation of the people can shape spaces they live in was observed in the case of the tactical urbanism intervention along the Sringeri Mutt Road, facilitated by ITDP India Programme in Chennai. The quick and cost-effective initiative that was largely community driven, was aimed at enhancing the road and personal safety of the neighborhood, primarily women and children.
Deepening Democracy: Innovations in Empowered Participatory Governance by A. Fung and O. Wright highlights three key principles of Empowered Deliberative Democracy which seem to be strongly embraced in this case.
The first principle speaks of ‘practical orientation’ of having a specific focus on tangible problems, which helps solve it through the next two principles. With abandoned vehicles and unauthorized parking lining the stretch along the canal, the dead spaces had become a breeding hub for anti-social activities. The tangible problems in this case were identified as the need to enhance road and personal safety for the street users in the neighborhood.
The second principle is about ‘bottom up participation’ which calls for including people directly affected by the problems, to serve as a channel for experts and citizens to work together. The direct involvement helps in increasing efficiency, trust, and accountability. The ITDP India Programme was able to measure the root cause of the concerns through initiating dialogues with the different stakeholders in the neighborhood. Those who faced the brunt were frequent users of the street, which were the local residents and the students and teachers of the neighboring school. The different layers of the problem were gradually unwrapped through site visits and discussions with these users
The third principle on ‘deliberative solution generation’ involves joint planning and problem solving through a process of deliberation. The participants hear out each other’s concerns and work together towards developing a solution through discussions than heated arguments.The fresh lease of life that the space witnessed was due to the efforts of the Chennai Traffic Police, Greater Chennai Corporation, civic action groups like Thiruveedhi Amman Koil Street Residents Association (TAKSRA) and Karam Korpom, Chennai High School (Mandaveli) and the ITDP India Programme.
This case showed alternate approaches to transformations that a city can witness, where deciphering the needs and solutions is a joint process with the people involved, than a top-down approach.
The intervention on the ground, its success and the interest it has lit amongst the city officials to scale- up, draws parallels to stage model of social innovation discussed by Robin Murray, Geoff Mulgan and Julie Grice.
The tactical urbanism solution as a prototype addressed the poor social conditions that prevailed. The smiles that it achieved in bringing to the faces of the children and other users have reflected the triumph of the approach and the city is pushing towards scaling up these quick, low cost and community driven interventions to other areas.
Pugalis and Giddings in their work on ‘The renewed right to urban life’ extends on the Lefebvrian philosophy which values the coproduction of space. They bring up the concept and importance of ‘little victories’, small wins that add up to create strong ripples capable of bringing a systemic change. A systemic change involves the gradual reshaping of mindsets that have been accustomed to a set machinery and distribution of power. These steps to scale up the interventions, however reflect the possibility of bringing a systemic change that values the collaborative approach to decision making, by prioritizing the needs of the most vulnerable users. The interest of the city to facilitate this decentralized approach, indirectly shapes this into a coordinated decentralized system, taking the best of both systems.
As a country that has shaped through over seventy years of democratic politics, there is an inherent need to see citizenship as something that is as dynamic as a space itself. Urbanist Luigi Maza speaks of the dual nature of citizenship, one that is not just a bundle of rights and obligations, but a dynamic social process of the citizens contributing to the production of spaces, redesigning its rules and obligations. As the city adopts new ways of decision making, the citizens also have to start thinking outside the walls of the homes they have built and see the entire city as their home and contribute towards improving it. After all, as Jane Jacobs rightly put it, ‘Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody’.
Written by AV Venugopal
Edited by Kashmira Dubash
An infographic story
Designed by Aishwarya Soni
Conceptualized by Venugopal AV and Aishwarya Soni
Survey and research by Naveenaa Munuswamy , Santhosh Loganaathan , Sruti Venkatakrishnan
This exercise is carried out by ITDP India Programme, in way of a grant agreement with GIZ Smart-SUT.
With a spring in their step and a song in their heart, elated school children walk along a vibrant walkway and cross over the new zebra crossing to reach their school. Thanks to the efforts of the Chennai Traffic Police, Greater Chennai Corporation, civic action groups Thiruveedhi Amman Koil Street Residents Association (TAKSRA) and Karam Korpom, Chennai High School (Mandaveli), and ITDP India Programme, Sringeri Mutt Road in Chennai has been given a fresh lease of life.The quick tactical urbanism intervention, using temporary measures such as paints and traffic cones, has helped reclaim the street for pedestrians, especially the children who use this street to access the seven schools in the neighbourhood, providing them with a safe and lively walking experience.
The menace that was
The school authorities further shared that a majority of the students walk to school. However, the adjoining footpath is uneven and dotted with obstructions that force pedestrians to spill over onto the road and into the swarm of motorists, putting them at even further risk.
Even the residents echoed much of the same concerns regarding safety. With abandoned vehicles and unauthorised parking lining the stretch along the canal, the dead space had become a breeding hub for anti-social activities. A survey among the street users, conducted by the ITDP India Programme, indicated that two out of three users felt unsafe to walk down the Sringeri Mutt Road after sunset.
Tired of living in the fear of using their own street, resident associations came forward to kindle a new approach to driving change.
The transformation brought about by TAKSRA along with ‘Karam Korpom – Stop Abusing Public Spaces’, a group that reclaims public spaces through art, displays the power of community-driven initiatives. Their work has inspired neighbouring groups and other communities in Chennai to take up the mantle for reclaiming their streets. The makeover of Sringeri Mutt Road is yet another instance of residents rolling up their sleeves to revive a desolate area into a vibrant community space.
Turning over a new leaf
In the first step towards Sringeri Mutt Road’s makeover, abandoned vehicles were towed off by the Chennai Traffic Police. To liven the dead space, the walls on both sides were given a fresh coat of paint. Following which, students, volunteers, and even excited traffic officials were given paint cans and brushes to let their imaginations run wild on these blank canvases. Next, a quick, impromptu tactical urbanism intervention was conducted.
Within a matter of days, the stretch that once instilled fear was transformed into a safe and colourful walkway. Post-intervention surveys show that over 90% of the users now feel safer in using the street.
Tamil Nadu has constantly hit the headlines for the dubious distinction of leading the country’s road fatality figures. In 2017 itself, the state recorded an abhorrent 3,500 pedestrian deaths in traffic accidents. The traffic police, therefore, is resolute in taking steps towards improving road safety for all users – most importantly, children. Measures like tactical urbanism interventions are significant in helping the cause and hence, public support for such movements are imperative for scaling this up successfully to more areas.
The case of the Sringeri Mutt Road makeover is an encouraging example of citizens shaping their public spaces and doing their bit to make streets safer. These small-scale initiatives feed into the ongoing work of creating a city-wide network of streets that facilitate safe walking and cycling for all. With over 1,500 anganwadis in the city, the Chennai Corporation envisions to improve the mobility to all anganwadis and schools, thereby making a leap towards child-friendly cities.
Let’s hope that the transformation witnessed along Sringeri Mutt Road sets the ball rolling for more community-driven initiatives. Such quick, low-cost, and scalable interventions are bound to catalyze long-term changes across the city.
Written by: Aishwarya Soni; A V Venugopal
Edited by: Nashwa Naushad; Rohit James
Video Credits : Santhosh Loganaathan, Aishwarya Soni and TD Achuthan