Tender SURE – a walkable CBD

Tender SURE is a set of street design guidelines which advocates for unhindered movement of vehicles and pedestrians by dividing the existing right of way to more equitable proportions. Seven roads in the CBD of Bangalore are being redeveloped with uniform travel lanes, designated cycle tracks and continuous footpaths as per these guidelines to bring back a walkable more liveable Bangalore.

Jana Urban Space Foundatiion, Bangalore, India

Bangalore a fast growing city in southern India has had an exponential population growth in the last few decades resulting in an explosive increase in car numbers and the famous traffic jams synonymous with the city today. The city decided that widening the roads was the answer, leaving negligible leftover space to be shared by pedestrians, cyclists and utilities. With the undue prioritization of vehicles, many roads in Bangalore had no footpaths forcing pedestrians to use the loosely placed slabs covering the stormwater drains at the ends to walk! This lead to pedestrian accidents and an unsafe public realm.
This complete lack of pedestrian infrastructure has forced people to use vehicles even for short trips despite a salubrious climate. It has changed the mindset of people, and is almost like they have forgotten how to walk.
Tender SURE (specifications for urban road execution), authored by Jana USP in 2011 (a not for profit trust) is a set of street design guidelines which advocates for unhindered movement of vehicles and pedestrians by dividing the existing right of way to more equitable proportions. In 2012 the government of Karnataka allocated 40.5 million USD to redevelop 45 roads in Bangalore as per Tender SURE guidelines. Of these Jana USP is redesigning 7 roads (currently under construction as a pilot for the rest of the city) in the central business district of Bangalore to allow for smooth vehicular movement while promoting non motorised transport with wide, evenly paved footpaths, continuous cycle tracks,designated vending, street furniture, landscape, active pause points and plazas; creating a vibrant public realm.

Some of the key tender SURE design details which promote walkability are;

1. Creating a network : The seven streets in the central business district are physically connected to each other, creating a strong pedestrian network and providing last mile connectivity to the Metro and bus. Choosing a network maximizes the impact and is a definite step towards reducing the number of vehicles in the CBD.

2. Designated footpaths : The footpaths on all seven roads are separated from the travel lane and cycle track with landscape strips setting it in and providing a safe path where old people and children can travel unattended. Bollards have been placed strategically to prevent two-wheelers from driving on the footpath. (Another common affliction in Bangalore)

3. Continuous footpaths: The footpaths on all seven roads are continuous, evenly paved and free of utilities. Where vehicular entry/exits are required the footpaths are not broken as per convention, but a ramp has been provided for vehicles to access the entry/exit at the footpath level.

4.Good urban lighting: Apart from street light poles, pedestrian lights have been provided thoughtfully to creating active streets which are safe.

5. Creating a Public realm : The tender SURE streets are designed to be more than mere routes, with active pockets, designated vending,(the informal economy is an important one in India and is part of the cultural ethos) landscaped pause points and plazas to make walking a pleasure. A tender SURE road is one where one can comfortably commute from point A to point B but also where one can walk peacefully, meet friends or sit and just be.

The biggest achievement for Tender SURE is changing the mindset of the people, the politicians, and the city officials, by shifting priority from vehicles to people. A walkable city is a more liveable city, and Tender SURE aims to achieve this by example. The strong pedestrian network in the central business district will bring in more people and businesses, create better living conditions and improved air quality and allow Bangalore to be the world class city it can be.

List of pictures
1.St. Marks Road footpath, construction almost complete, April 2015
2. Network Map
3 -5 St. Marks Road - before and after
6-7 Plazas in the TS roads

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