Draft Development Plan for Pune - Un-sustainable Transport
Citizens urged to oppose these changes.
The Pune Municipal Corporation has recently published the draft Development Plan for Pune (old city limits). The last plan was sanctioned in 1987 and was incredibly progressive for its time. It recognized the dangers of increased motorization, far before the explosive growth in vehicles started and before the ideas of sustainable transport were widely accepted. It had proposed a cycle track network, including a subway for cycles (the Wakdewadi underpass) and cycle-only bridges. It had also proposed a High Capacity Mass Transit Route (HCMTR) as an access-controlled, public transport only ring road. Sadly none of these provisions were implemented.
In the last decade, the city has really started to suffer from the lack of public transport and poor infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists, with a resulting dramatic increase in personal motorized vehicles. To make matters worse, the city has continued to pursue policies that encourage the use of personal motorized vehicles, while ignoring public transport and non-motorized transport.
The National Urban Transport Policy (NUTP) of the Government of India published in 2006 has recognized the ills of adopting vehicle-centric policies and has advocated a shift to public and non-motorized modes. It made funding under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) conditional to cities preparing a Comprehensive Mobility Plan (CMP) in line with the NUTP. Accordingly, the Pune Municipal Corporation prepared a CMP in 2008, which was finally approved in 2012.
The CMP for Pune has set many transport related goals, the main one being to achieve a public transport modal share of 80% (of motorized modes). It shows that this is possible through a series of scenarios, which include improvement in the basic bus service, a complete city-wide BRT network, Metro and strong Transport Demand Management (TDM) measures. But more importantly it created for the first time a clear roadmap for Pune to follow in order to address its transport problems.
Integrating transport plans with land use plans is critical and has been strongly advocated in the NUTP. The revision of the 1987 development plan for Pune, therefore assumes great importance from this point of view.
Provisions in the draft Development Plan
However the proposals in the draft Development Plan are utterly disastrous, not only in the specifics, but also for the fact that it has been conceived of in a completely unscientific manner, without any studies, surveys or analysis. The statements in the report contradict the proposals and the provisions in the Development Control (DC) rules. A careful reading of the plan reveals glaring errors.
The main provisions in the plan are
- The Metro rail project, with routes running along all major roads, overlapping completely with the proposed and under-construction Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) routes
- A proposal to allow 4 Floor Area Ratio (FAR) (also known as Floor Space Index, or FSI) along the entire Metro corridor for half a kilometer on either side, which all told will cover about a third of the entire developable area of the city
- A re-alignment of the HCMTR (with the alignment broken at one location) and a new road running parallel to it
- New roads in the river bed, on hill slopes and three tunnels
- 30 flyovers ignoring the recommendations of the CMP which advice against flyovers as a sustainable solution to traffic congestion
- 11 foot over-bridges (FoBs) and 30 pedestrian subways ignoring the fact that these are not preferred by pedestrians and violate the provisions of the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995
- A skywalk from Shivajinagar station to Swargate in violation of many issues that have been raised by Parisar in a letter to the Commissioner and the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 2010 which prevents any construction in the prohibited area of a protected monument (in this case, Shaniwarwada)
- An indiscriminate widening of roads everywhere
- Incentives for more parking and a raising of the parking minimums
- Only lip service for improvements to public transport and non-motorized transport
Citizens urged to oppose these changes
Parisar has drafted a letter and urges citizens to download, print, sign and send to the address given before April 26th, 2013 - the last date by which people may submit suggestions and objections to the draft DP