Bengaluru recently got its first slow street, which is a pilot project to makes lanes safer for denizens.
Bengaluru recently got its first slow street, which is a pilot project to makes lanes safer for denizens.

Bengaluru makes way for pedestrians, pedallers: Citizens welcome first Slow Street

Alexandra Street in Richmond Town has been officially announced as the first Slow Street in Bengaluru.
By Mallika Bhagat, Bengaluru
PUBLISHED ON FEB 19, 2021 04:44 PM IST

What if you step on a road, and instead of hearing a blaring honk see vehicles slow down for you? No, this isn’t any foreign location but Alexandra Street in Richmond Town, which has been officially announced as the first Slow Street in Bengaluru!

A slow street is one that employs traffic calming measures in residential areas, and makes it safer for people to walk, cycle alongside providing space for children to be able to play. A new experience, indeed! “Earlier, I could not walk in Richmond Town owing to the vehicular traffic. During the lockdown last year I picked up cycling; it was good for a few months before cars again consumed the roads,” says Priyabrata, a cycling enthusiast adding, “Making Alexandria Street a Slow Street will help locals travel safely, and will stop instances of speeding as well. In fact, it’s important for all metro cities to encourage pedestrianisation.”

Many measures are being implemented in the city to make the lanes safer for pedestrians and cyclists.
Many measures are being implemented in the city to make the lanes safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

The pandemic saw many take to their old love for cycling and walking, to stay fit in the new normal where #WorkFromHome has become common. And this initiative by Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT) aids Bengaluru to become a safe haven for cyclists and walkers. Nihar Thakkar, a cyclist and an urban planning enthusiast, opines: “Lockdown helped push the agenda to make city roads safer for people. More cars mean more pollution, and the perils of environmental damage are apparent to people today. Earlier, it wasn’t easy to cycle or even walk on the roads due to the fear of traffic. But, incorporating simple changes around the city like pop-up bicycle lanes, banning traffic on busy streets like Church Street or even making artificial curbs for better pedestrian movement are adding to the eventual goal of sustainability.”

DULT had earlier undertaken project MarkYourCycleRoute, to create bicycle districts in the city, with the aim to provide better mobility for residents. In fact, cycling and pedestrian safety has been encouraged through various measures, which includes the weekend vehicular ban on Church Street under the Clean Air Street initiative and Sustainable Mobility Accord (SuMA), wherein nine neighbourhoods were selected to implement sustainable mobility interventions over the next one year.

“The Slow Street initiative is a positive and progressive step in the direction,” says Sathya Sankaran, Bicycle Mayor of Bengaluru, adding, “We’ve been encouraging cycling and pedestrian spaces since Bengaluru has many small streets. We need to slow them down so that the dedicated pathways on them can be used by other commuters, and we need to dedicate space on the streets to people, not cars... We’ve seen how the business on Church Street, post the weekend traffic ban, increased. The restaurants, pubs and book shops on the street are witnessing better customer footfall now. Even families turn up to cycle, walk or simply spend time. These initiatives prove that even with a limited bandwidth, a lot can be achieved to make our cities safe for pedestrians and cyclists.”

Author tweets @bhagat_mallika

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