Friday, November 25, 2011

Callousness in waste management by Municipalities in Kochi

It is nothing but the waste disposal and waste management issues that rake up in every day media stories in Kochi. there is nothing positive but mismanagement and callousness of the stake holders that fill the columns of the newspapers every day. Other day, I was shocked by the media report featuring Kalamassery Muncipal chairman statement on waste management. According to the reports he has stated that every one should process and settle the garbage in their own courtyards and Municipality cannot take the responsibility any more. I sense this as the common disease in the governance structure that requires immediate curing. I cannot appreciate this stand any more for the following reasons;

1. I wish the municipalities in Kochi area understand the floor area and land owning structures of each apartment and conventional houses. Many times, it is found that there is no room for waste disposal that leads to the throwing away the disposal in the open ground wherever sited. Municipality only has given the permission as per the plan and building rules. if any one has violated the building rules, they be found guilty and brought before the rule of law.

2. Hon. Kerala High Court has intervened in the waste management mechanism and suggested legal remedies. But what are the rules made by the respective municipalities? what are the plans they have to manage garbage disposal?

3. Issue here that no one recognizes the mandates for a local Government. Even the Municipal chairman thinks that 'a clean and healthy living environment' is not their duty to ensure with. If that is the case, why do we need a Government?

I believe that Municipality has definite role in city management. They can't escape from their responsibilities. Waste management may not be or not ought to be a responsibility of a municipality but they have the responsibility of ensuring a livable environment. if they believe in the rule of law to ensure calm and peace in the neighborhood, same is the case with the healthy environment to be ensured. it is a legal entitlement citizen enjoys in a democratic country.

Instead of disowning from the issue, Municipality has to come up with the stringent guidelines for waste management system for outsourcing it to the best player in the field.From the past, it is proved that no Municipality or Corporation has got the requisite expertise to handle the waste management and processing plants. Instead, they should concentrate on regulating and monitoring of the procuring agencies into the business. Municipality can easily photograph the waste disposal by private agencies and post them on their websites and FaceBook pages. GPS can be utilized to test the efficiency level of the agency than getting into political debates in the council hall.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Feeder system in Kochi - Share auto services

Shared service transport systems like share autos, share taxis or buses which feeds commuters to other modes of transport. Primarily they are small vehicles accommodating 5-8 passengers which can travel through narrow roads. They are flexible as they can commute to any location; convenient as they pick and stop wherever the passengers demands and are available throughout the day, cost effiecient, as people can commute to different locations spending less compared to autos, taxis and buses, and finally they are user friendly as it can provide comfortable seating and other facilities.

  • Permit: Permits shall be given by relevant RTO’s to vehicles to ply as shared feeder system for short distances spanning 5-10 kilometeres. For eg: In Chennai shared services(share autos) travel 6 kms on an average per trip.
  • Shared service vehicles: Popular vehicles used in other cities are maxi cabs (TATA Magic, Mahindra Maxximo), and share autos (Vikram , Arjun etc). Chennai, Alwar, Rajkot, Lucknow, Hyderabad are few major cities where share autos are very common. They help people to reach railways stations, bus stands etc.
  • Best for city like Kochi with numerous bye roads and places without access to public transportation. For eg: Kochu Kadavanthara people can commute to Thevara, Vennala residents to Eroor.
  • The services shall connect the unconnected locations and where accessibility is minimal. The road density (per 100 sqkm) of Kerala is 414kms while the national average is only 74.9 as per Economic Review of Kerala, 2003. Kerala including Kochi has a high rural road penetration which means that by introducing such services, we can provide accessibility to the rural population of Kerala. Further the road density/lakh population is 505.46 when the national average is 259.20, which shows that a large population lives in a single area. Providing access to such areas would therefore support a huge population of people. The demand for such services is therefore huge which the current KSRTC and private buses are finding it difficult to operate.
  • Connectivity to major transit points: The services shall enable people to travel to major bus terminals like Kaloor and KSRTC Bus stand, jettys like Ernakulam jetty, Fort Kochi and Vypin Jetty and Vytilla Mobility Hub. Facilities shall be provided in railways stations, bus stand, jettys and mobility hub for such services to drop and take in passengers resembling ‘hop on hop off’ services.
  • Suitable to Kochi : As per the Economic Review, the roads are narrow (varying from 11 m to 26m) and congested leading to distortions in traffic and slowing the pace of traffic movement. Introduction of new buses and building infrastructure will not help a city like Kochi which has very less space for expanding of roads. In such scenarios shared services which take very less space and accommodate more people than private vehicles will be a useful alternative. With BSIII norms coming into places, the pollution levels and energy levels can be controlled.
  • Operational ease: The drivers shall be at liberty to fix routes and ply in areas where there is a considerable population looking to travel short distances to catch a bus, boat or train.The service shall allow maximum 7 people to travel at a stretch and a distance depending on the landscape pattern. Such services shall be useful in during nights or early morning and also facilitate passengers to commute to offices on a daily basis. Major offices centres like Panampilly Nagar, Kakkanad
  • Support other services: The services shall not substitute existing transport modes like buses, but augment the services. The shared services which operate as feeder systems to buses, trains and proposed metro rail can provide the required ridership. For a person travelling from Netoor to Muvattupuzha. He can take a shared service till Vytilla Mobilty Hub and get buses from the Hub. Likely conflicts between buses and such services can be avoided by fixing routes and time on a case to case basis. For Eg: Buses plying between Fort Kochi and Cherai shall not be affected by short services to various locations like Munnambam, Elakunnapuzha, Kadamakudy etc
  • Fares are reasonable: The fares shall be fixed according to kilometers travelled and range from Rs 3 to Rs 10. For Eg: In Chennai, a typical share auto charges Rs 5 for 1.5 kilometers and Rs 15 for travelling around 6 kilometers. The fares shall be flexible depending on the location and time but monitored by relevant authorities.
  • Incentivise passengers: Passengers travelling in buses or boats can be incentivized to use such services. Giving offers, monthly passes and other facilities will be useful to attract commuters. For eg: Special offers for travelling to Cherai beach or visit Palipuram Fort. Tourist centres in locations like Cherai, Kadamakudy, Vypin, Kadambrayar (Pallikara) etc can leverage on such opportunities.
  • Huge Employment opportunity: Huge employment opportunity can be created by allowing such shared services to operate. As per our Study in Chennai, the share auto industry generates revenue of Rs 2 Crores per day which is 66 times more than Chennai MRTS collection. They carry around 1.8 million passengers every day and are one of the most preferred modes to commute to locations within and outside the city.

    Kochi can become the first city in India to formally integrate shared services like share autos as a feeder system.

- Few Routes where such services can be utilized:

Kakkanad

Kakkanad- Palikkara
Kakkanad- Infopark- Edachira
Kakkanad- CSEZ - Karingachira- Irumpanam- Thripunithura
Kakkanad- HMT Junction –Pukkatuppady
Kakkanad- Thuthiyoor- Vennala- Chalikavattom

Thripunithura

Thripunithura- Eroor- Vennala
Thripunithura- Maradu- Kundanoor- Panangad
Thripunithura- Karimughal
Edapally
Edapally- Elamakkara
Edapally- Amritha Hospital
Edapally- CUSAT- Thrikakkara

Kadavanthara

Kadavanthara- Kochu Kadavanthra- Panampilly Nagar- Thevara
Kadavanthra- Kathrikadavu- Kumaran Asan Nagar- Kaloor
Kadavanthara- Subhash Chandra Bose road –Thammanam
Kadavanthra – Gandhi Nagar

North

North –Kacherippadi-Chittoor
North-Ayyappan kavu-Pachalam
Kacheripady
Kacheripady- Vaduthala
Kacheripady- SRM Road
Chittor- Cheranaloor- Manjummal- Eloor- Pathalam- Edayar

Vypin

Vypin- Elamkunnapuzha- Cherai
Vypin- North Paravoor- Kadamakudy
Cherai- Munnabam- Chendamangalam

Thoppumpady

Thopumpady- Panayampilly- Kapalandimukku- Mattanchery- Fort Kochi
Thoppumpady- Perumpadapu- Edakochi- Kumbalangi- Aroor
Edakkochi-Aroor

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Urban eco system - a change over to M G Road

by D.Dhanuraj

Urban ecosystems are evolved over the ages. Cochin has ignored rich and traditional past. Fort Kochi and Mattancherry are good examples of how planners can kill the rich culture and traditions of an ecosytem. In my school classes, I was so curious to study about these places and I was so excited to be in the land of historical importance. I was shocked when I got an opportunity to visit these places as I grow older. These places are dead are does not carry any vibrancy that I had learnt in my school classes. From M G Road to Fort Kochi, it takes an hour by bus. my History teacher had taught me that Fort Kochi and Mattancherry are part of Historical ferry centres. but where are they?

today, M G Road is undergoing such a change over. The planners say that they have diverted the city traffic to help metro rail construction. Mobility hub at Vyttila has helped them to decongest the city. but it also raises a question on traffic ban in Cochin city? have the authorities ensured accessibility to M G Road to commuters? Buses could be replaced by mini buses, autos and share autos. in the last two years, whenever i drive on M G Road, I am greeted with 'For rent' banners on the buildings on both sides. In recent times,I am told that many are vacating M G Road for Metro rail construction. I do figure out that M G Road is becoming increasingly deserted and the site rings alarm bell for all of us.

I do not want M G Road to become another Fort Kochi. Proper arrangements for connecting M G road with the outside world shall be there even during theses changing times. dont think that metro will solve the woes and plights on M G Road. rather it shall be converted as a walking mall. it shall be an aspiring destination for on street food cafes and entertainment. let the city grow eastwards and the business and commercial establishments also let loose with these developments. it gives ample opportunities for the eco system to rearrange itself to provide the best street amenities on M G Road to the public at large. lets have free rides and green space and window shopping on M G Road !!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Parking in Kochi

PARKING IN KOCHI

Parking has been a major concern for all countries, states, local authorities and traffic police across the world. Parking has now been taken as a part of the larger traffic and transport development by the entities concerned with city development. Since the effects of parking has direct relation to traffic movement and at the same time car sales are considered as a measure of urban development.

Parking has been given minimal importance in the various city plans in India. Though the National Urban Transport Policy 2006 mentions about the need to integrate parking into city development plans (CDP), very few states have taken the lead. Fortunately Kerala has been one of the states which have framed a policy under the directions of Ministry of Urban Transport as per the JNNURM scheme. The Kerala Parking policy is a noteworthy attempt inspite of the fact that it does not contain a clear strategy to implement parking management methods. In fact Mizoram and Sikkim has come out with a policy to regulate parking by heavily restricting car ownership, following the Japan model of Proof of Parking. A Sikkimese needs to show that he has parking space while buying a car, was a clear indication of the hill state to decrease the proliferation of private cars. While such policies may not be replicated in other states, there is an urgent need to relook the strategy of the state towards parking keeping mind the huge growth of private cars. Building flyovers and roads would not facilitate the huge growth of private vehicles, let alone providing huge parking spaces (multilayer or otherwise).

There has been no data to calculate the number of parking spaces required to facilitate the 9,38,124 vehicles been registered in Kakkanad RTO office alone as on 2010. Even if we see that less than 5 percent of the total registered vehicles travel through the city a point of time. The parking demand is still very huge compared to its supply. The question here is whether we need to provide more parking spaces or provide regulations for parking or car ownership to restrict private cars into the city. Restrictions in parking or car ownership will require a better public transport system and a seamless traffic management system. This is however a long term process demanding time and money. New York and Hong Kong have excessively priced parking topping the list of the most expensive list to park your vehicle at monthly rates of $933 (Rs 42,237) and $ 745 (Rs 33,726) respectively as per Global Colliers International Parking Rate Survey 2010. While India states of Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai figures among the lowest in the world with $1.28 (Rs 58), $1.07 (Rs 48.4) and $ 0.96 (Rs 43.42) respectively. Parking rates are often fixed excessively to discourage people to use private vehicles and often act as an incentive to use public transport.

Interestingly if we go by the National Urban Transport Policy, which mentions that parking rates shall be calculated according to the land value and land use pattern. Then it would be interesting to note what the parking rates in places like Marine Drive, Kaloor or South Junction would be.

The need of the hour is to devise parking management strategies aligned to the growth of traffic and the necessity of balancing growth in terms of car use, space and public transport. Kochi which has already found its place in the urban map through its projects like Vallarpadam Transhipment Terminal, Metro, Smart City etc will need to systematically plan its growth through traffic and parking management strategies. The common perception that providing parking space is the duty of the state and extends to right of the citizens to demand marking is skewed. This can be correlated to the predicament of asking the state to give a room to keep ones Air Conditioner!! Making parking costly and encouraging people to use public transport is the model which needs to be followed. At the same time, there is a need to clearly demarcate parking spaces and provide parking options through multilayer parking facilities or other models at a PPP basis. Parking structures shall be developed as a revenue generating model for the Corporation by renting out parking spaces and attracting investment. Other strategies which have been followed to restrict parking is making car ownership very costly by increasing taxes like in Netherlands, where the car cost is less than the total taxes spend for buying a car. Kochi and Kerala need to move ahead of other states by taking the lead through such policy interventions intend to ease city development.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Mobility hub row unwanted: CPPR

Mobility hub row unwanted: CPPR


KOCHI: Even as debate continues on the role of Vyttila Mobility Hub Society and the KSRTC in deciding the transport routes and operations in Kochi, the Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR) has come forward with the statement that the whole row may be unnecessary.

“While submitting the report, the CPPR had clearly stated the vision for having a mobility hub in a city like Kochi. If questions are raised about the role of KSRTC in deciding the city operations, it is because the concept and vision of the mobility hub at Vyttila is not understood,” the organisation said in a press statement.

The Mobility Hub Society, according to the CPPR, shall be in charge of the entire transport operations in the city. Meanwhile, at the Mobility Hub Society meetings and discussions, all stake holders, including the KSRTC, private bus owners and associations, autorickshaw unions and inland water navigation operators shall be represented.

Government functionaries like Southern Railway, Metro Rail, RTOs, traffic police and district transport officers shall be represented but the power to decide the operations and city routes shall be vested with the Mobility Hub Society.

The society will also have the power to decide upon the modifications in transport routes owing to emergencies, festivals or other local requirements.

“This arrangement will help them to sit around a table and discuss the transportation requirements.

“One does not have to rush to Thiruvananthapuram to address the traffic needs of the city. That way, the city will have a comprehensive transport plan and thus increase connectivity to the remote and ignored areas.

The KSRTC, on the other hand, will continue to decide its inter-city operations.

“The hub will decide on owning intra-city buses whereas the KSRTC can continue to decide on the inter-city operations,” the statement said.

The Mobility Hub Society will work in tandem with the Kochi Corporation and can facilitate the city planning and influence land use pattern.

The Mobility Hub Society can help the city development plans by providing consultancy and services in terms of bridging the gaps in connectivity. Same shall be the case with the inland water navigation priorities. The society can develop the inland water navigation routes and entrust the operators with the task of easing out the traffic congestion on the city roads.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cycle Diaries


Usual day, usual routine, usual food, usual dialogues to mom, usual paper reading, usual mannerisms.... unusual thoughts!!!

The sun has risen, but shrouded by the meandering clouds..perfect day for doing an unusual thing to happen...few things came to my mind..why not walk? why not cycle? cycle!!! reminds me of the days i used to 'not use' cycle having a wildcat kept at my home...of the day when i slammed to a waste bin devoid of breaks, of the day we celebrated cycling with 500 odd participants in the Reinventing Cochin Cycle Rally.... this was enough to spur me to take an unusual route !!

I didnt have second thoughts to ask my neighbour to lend me their cycle!! for i dont know anyone who rode cycle in this motor cycle days!! BSA SLR was ready to take me..i chose to ride to my office located 10 km from my house which had the National Highway (NH 47) converging at the busiest junction of my state (vytilla, Kerala). This thought was enough for a person to retract from the endeavour. Inspite of father's 'its high traffic and dangerous' talk, I had made up my mind to take the unusual route!!

The Journey

Without much fuss i pedalled my way through the route, which I and many others usually sped in motorcyles and cars. My first uphill task was to cover the first stretch consisting of small hill and a potholed road. I had to meander the curves and junction points without losing 'my mind and balance'. I looked for companions, only to find one student of the adjacent school (Vennala High School) staring with his geared cycle... i am facing competition!! i swiftly overtook him, only to find that he took another route!! Missing a chance to satisfy my ego of touching the finishing line first, I continued my journey...

By that time I had overtaken a 'Driving School' learner, learning the basics of controlling a machine!! Pondered over a moment as to the time and money spend in learning an art operated by a motor!! Recalling P.T Usha, our Payolli Express, who had opined that motorsports in no sports, when compared to the physical limits experienced when she missed the bronze and the glory!! Aint I smarter than the Driving School? aint the inventor smarter than the invented!!

I threaded a different route to meet a BMW (KL-7 AL 5555) who jealously pushed me to the sidelines... i wanted to take revenge!! so did I.... the humps, the narrow road and the busy junction conspired to help me to win the Cycle vs the Car unofficial race... enough reasons to smile and push me to complete the latter stretch, which had hundreds of such competitors.

Reaching the National Highway touted to be the lifeline our the country (as aptly put my dearest Vajpayee that Highways resembled the lines of his palms), I took the service road. The heat was on and I had a discomfort feeling setting in. The newly introduced JnNURM buses looked at me with sympathy!! Didnt they know that cycle is much cheaper, more friendly and better saver compared to their high investment vehicle..

Interestingly I was taking a route which had the Maruti Suzuki,Hyundai, to the Prosche and the Jaguars!! I encountered a board displayed before the latest Maruti Suzuki Swift Diesel calling for 'Switch to Maruthi, save on fuel' ..what a dichotomy for a cyclist? The issues at Maruti's plant at Gurgaon have been making daily headlines...lost in the midst would be the number of people (above 15 years olds) who had bought cycles in the last 5 years!! Will I hit the headlines for venturing to ride a cycle amidst a sea of cars, at a time when growth of the economy is depended on the automobile population, when driving schools and showrooms have thrived!!

I wondered whether man is a better form of ape or is it vice versa, when I rested in front of the Porsche !! My apprehensions were laid to rest when I saw a natural modified Hyundai vehicle.. prayers for the souls who drove it... lot of time to think while riding a cycle!!! I advice not to think too much while riding a car, or else you stand a chance of following the souls who had driven the car...

I was relieved to see an cyclist carrying eggs, opting to take the hatchery safe in his 'life' cycle. I had to help him out in the railway gate which was shut for repairs. I was encountering another human intervention which had changes lives..the chuk chuk express...

I was feeling the heat.. , but the enjoyment of riding a cycle has relived me of the pain. I reached my destination and opened by smart phone to assess the speed and time of my cycle travel. It showed that I reached in 29.52 minutes stopping for 2.31 minutes moving at an average of 18 mph touching 20 mph!! Not bad for an amateur biker!!! I replenished my soul with water and living to tell the tale of cycling in a motor world!!

Few things I learned :

1) Take enough water, or you will feel melted in the heat
2) Try not to overtake, maintain the royalty and chime on the shroudness of others
3) Start early morning before the sun sets in and return before the sun sets!!
4) Cycling helps to improve fitness, stay healthy and understand human emotions (when you are dead tired with a punctured tyre on a highway with no shops)
5) Have short breaks while pedalling, make sure your ego does not overcome you..or else you break your back

Waiting to repeat the exercise!!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Why KSRTC?

By D Dhanuraj

Today, most of the media reports discuss the lack of cooperation from KSRTC to extend their services to Vyttila Mobility Hub in the late evening. it seems both the parties have strong points to justify the cause. KSRTC believes that the KSRTC bus stand might lose its value if they shift their operations to Mobility Hub. I do not understand why KSRTC should own such a vast land in the midst of the city. whenever I travel across Kerala, i realize that KSRTC owns acres of land at the prime locations and no one knows how effectively they utilize the land. I am not surprised since all the transport companies of the State has this perennial problem whether it is Air India or Indian Railways or KSRTC. in contrary, no one discusses about what is going to happen with Kaloor bus stand. it shows how much we are dented in state property that is not effectively utilized or traded.

another argument is that west Kochi goers will be affected by this shift. I am so happy that at last some one is discussing the issues of west Kochi commuters. not even 5000 crores metro rail project is silent about the west Kochi goers and their plights. so what need to be done?

I would strongly recommend for a consortium managed by mobility hub society to take care of the transport needs of Kochi city. All the Intra-bus operations shall be under the management and monitoring of Vyttila mobility hub society. The Society shall identify the corridors and circular routes and should invite operators to bid for these routes. Inter city operations can be managed by KSRTC and other operators as of now. Vyttila mobility hub society shall work with Kochi corporation as a nodal agency to fix the transport issues in the city. integration of various transport authorities to issue permits and routes for intra - bus operations within the city shall be under the strict monitoring and evaluation of mobility hub society. I believe the mobility hub society should bring traffic experts and urban planners on the board to manage the intra city operations. It shall not be left to someone in Trivandrum to decide on the intra city operations of Kochi city. let it be a smart beginning for Mobility hub society...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

it shall be Street conclave rather than Road concalve

I was present during the Cochin Conclave hosted by Cochin corporation. Though it was a good program, the theme of the discussion was not aptly presented. In my opinion, roads cannot be approached as a stand alone entity. in fact, roads are getting repaired because the other elements surrounding the roads are not taken care of or properly addressed. Roads works are not more tarring and repairing works. Streets need to be conceived as Public Spaces and roads are the major component for that matter; that’s all. What we need to improve upon; design the new or existing roadway, including streetscape design components and complete conceptual level engineering plans. It shall be a holistic plan to attract users of street to own and take proud of the streets and not alone in the case of roads as we look at it today.

There shall be a detailed project concept including the improvement plans for the existing roads. The detailed Project Report would inter-alia include detailed engineering survey, traffic study, sub- soil investigation, X-ray mapping of existing utilities like Electrical cable, Telephone cable, Water lines etc,. and storm water drain, condition survey & adequacy survey of storm water drains, Identification of future requirement for utility department, incorporation of various proposal of Highways and PWDs, Corporation of Kochi, Metro Rail, KSEB, KWA etc., detailed design of foundation, Sub-structure & Superstructure for Flyovers, Foot Over Bridges, subways, skywalk, etc., Multi level parking system, designing of adequate lighting arrangement, Designing the adequacy of drains, Bus shelters with detailed cost estimates and assessment of social and Environmental impacts along with necessary mitigation measures.

There shall be comprehensive plans for the following;

  1. Traffic and roadway improvement
  2. Streetscape improvement
  3. Design of individual elements

Today, everyone is concerned about Kochi roads because of gutters and potholes. But we should not forget that there is an increase in the number of private vehicles hence wear and tear is also been accounted to these facts. It is not an excuse as there are new technologies and methods available in plenty to ensure the long life for roads. But this is the time to reorient ourselves for the concept of roads and streets. It shall be a happy place for pedestrians, motorists, joggers, jay walkers, vendors, cyclists etc. more private vehicles are on the streets because of the poor public transport. Causalities are on raise on the roads not only because of poor conditions of the roads but also because of the poor pedestrian facilities and lack of separate lanes for cyclists and two wheelers. We need street furniture and comfort stations so that citizens can use this secular place for not only for mobility requirements but also use it as public spaces.

We need streets that have the following benchmarks;

- Establishing widths of Rights Of Way

- Connectivity

- Accommodating all modes -Pedestrian, Bicycles, Motorized vehicles, etc.

- Concept of Lanes and Shared Street Space

- Pedestrian Networks

- Pedestrian Street Crossings and Curb heights

- Turning radii

- Service and emergency vehicles

- Utilities

- Road Safety

- On-Street Parking

- Lighting

Next time, when Corporation hosts such an event, it shall be 'Cochin Street conclave' rather than 'Cochin road conclave'. there shall not be a fundamental flaw in judging the issues related to streets..

Friday, September 16, 2011

Do we need Metro rail?

By D Dhanuraj

Media reports say that Planning Commission agreed in principle to sanction metro rail in Kochi while posting the matter to purchase committee to evaluate the financial obligations. My friends in media are a little apprehensive to conduct the due diligence of the metro project as they fear public backlash on this subject. Same is the case, when Italked to political leadership as many confess privately that they don’t agree with metro rail project. There is a moral hazard as they perceive it in the public domain as they go in either ways on this subject.

I have a firm belief that metro rail in Kochi is not going to solve any public transport issues for many reasons. In city like Kochi, where the population is almost stabilised in CBD area as per the census figures, metro taking its route through MG road cannot be comprehended. Many reports say that the average speed in Cochin city will be 6 km/hour in 2030 so metro is advocated. I am not sure which part of the city they are citing for this 6km/hour argument. This is a city where the master plan is pending for decades and no one even sure about the growth pattern of the city. I am sure it is not going to be M G Road or Banerjee road for that matter. FSI is low in the state that high raise buildings are not a possibility in the near future. Or, I am not sure whether metro plans are linked with FSI and real estate development so that it becomes a comprehensive town plan. i searched for it at many places but could not find out any documents related to such a plan, nor is the case with ridership. I am convincingly told that no one has any studied numbers on the floating population even now. Only number that we have is that cochin has a population of 6lakhs plus as per the latest census figures and it accounts for 1.5 million when the city is connected to suburbs and mofussils. But we are going to spend around 4300 crores of rupees to get this fancy project. What does it mean? Each kilometre will cost 160 crores. Are we in the right direction understanding the real time issues of sustainable public transport in cochin?

The present alignment starts from Alwaye to Pettah going via MG Road. A large portion of the metro is running parallel to National Highway where as the other part is along Petta – Vyttila road. I am not sure whether Thirukochi buses and private buses in these routes are going to compete with the metro ridership? Do we have that much of population coming to MG road every day? How many are going to alight at the stops like Elamkulam and Thykkodam during the off peak hours? What is the feeder system for the commuters from west kochi side including Mattancherry, Fortkochi, Kannamali, Vypeen, Palluruthy etc? the present alignment does not connect to boat jetties of bus stations. I am told that metro station at Vyttila is not in mobility hub but opposite to temple thus commuters have to walk to the Hub to take the respective buses. Why can’t we plan all these if we are so possessive about the metro plans? At Edappally, Lulu Shopping mall is coming up and it is considered to be one of the largest in Kerala. Why can’t we have a station in one of their floors and ask them to fund it? I am surprised why cant we ask private parties to fund each station where jewellers and textile shops are known for its daily trade volume. If they are not willing, i will assume that there is some problem with the metro plan. No private party will be ready to burn their fingers.

The land use pattern of Kochi is getting transformed. GIS maps show a huge difference in the last thirty years. Interestingly, those areas not connected by these plans. so what are we trying to prove? Please help me to understand this metro rail project in Cochin... I am not against any good project but I am really concerned about the use of public money worth of Rs 4300 crores for 25 km build up in a small city like Cochin. Are we looking for big ticket project? Dont we have the logic to address the traffic issues with a small pie since Cochin is a very small city and its problems are also manageable? We are building this metro where there is no money for the corporation and the government to repair the roads. I am curious and anxious to know what is going to happen. What is going to be the recurring expenditure for the daily operations of metro? Help me to understand the numbers and figures correct as i am not convinced about this big ticket project...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Share Autos in city of Cochin

by D Dhanuraj

it is astonishing that traffic problems in cochin city has been solved well before metro rail started its construction. Authorities claim that it is traffic diversion but what they have done essentially is that diverting city bound long distance buses through National Highways or asking them to terminate at Hub. it seems that an effective chain service from Hub to city side is yet to be inaugurated. Commuting public started complaining about the difficulties they face every day and man hours lost. Especially for the ladies who commute from the areas like Aroor and Cherthala, any delay at Vyttila junction can cause immense trouble back home.

I am surprised that no one talks about para transit operations in a city like Cochin. I am told that there is no provision under state RT Act to issue licenses to share auto or share auto concept is foreign to authorities in Kerala. when we complain about the last mile and first mile problems in the areas like Chellanam, Kannamaly, Palluruthy, EdaKochi etc, we are not thinking of allowing these auto rickshaw services to be the part of larger public transport system. Same is the case with the complaints on narrow roads and efficacy of having bus routes to connect highly densed areas of Kerala not only in Cochin. Share autos can do a better job connecting these remote areas. let it start with connecting Cochin city from Vyttila Mobility hub by share autos...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Traffic Diversion and Metro rail

For many in the Government, yesterday was the D-day for their immediate future plans. The much awaited traffic diversion was scheduled for yesterday. there were protests, agony and confusion after their first trial run. The crowd might have felt lot of ease at the end of yesterday's experiment for the simple reason that traffic congestion was not felt in the corridors. today, media also has written all good stories about the diversion and success.

But, was it a traffic diversion? to me, it is nothing but a ban in a reformed way. reports suggest that the city is devoid of 1500 per trips per every day. if that is the case, I am not surprised that there is no traffic blocks in the city. this could have been done even without reconstruction works at North over bridge. in fact, the mobility hub was supposed to meet these objectives. But i am concerned about the number of new city buses been introduced as a result of this ban. have they taken care of the needs of the public while they try to introduce the new permits?

No one has discussed about Vyttila junction and Edappally junction as a result of these changes. If there is a traffic block, it is because of the reason that they have not identified the proper lane traffic and entry-exit passages.

all the developments raise a very fundamental question; what are the issues with the public transport and traffic congestion in the city? isn't it because of the reason that route rationalization and rearrangements have not taken place in Cochin for a long time? do we need to spend Rs 5000 crores to solve these issues? yesterday itself, it has been proved that these issues can be fixed without much spending.

Has anyone studied on the impact of these plans in the areas like M G Road and Banerjee road?How do real estate market react to these developments. I wish these areas don't go in the lines of Mattancherry and Fort Cochin in another few years. we need a vibrant city and it shall not be at the cost of social fabric.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Agility and Mobility in Hub at Vyttila

by D.Dhanuraj

For the last few days, authorities have decided to ask the bus operators to incorporate Mobility hub in their operations for certain specified routes. Iam surprised by the fact that they are in a hurry to do that without making arrangements for smooth entry and exit for the buses. Taking right or left turn at the exit point on tripunithura- vyttla road lead to traffic block at vyttila junction. for the left turn, there is not enough turn around radius so that it does not hinder the smooth flow of the other vehicles on the que while for the right turn, there is congestion already at the signals and more buses can add more congestion!!

The criteria used is to take people to Hub premises. I am tempted to ask; why should they? there is a flaw in the thinking process as enforcement is law is different from the acceptance of law. In this case, what have been turned out to be is the enforcement of the law and not the acceptance of the hub. This is a larger issue when we deal with the sustainable public transport. Use of public transport is dwindled in the city because of the same old reasons; buses take more time, not on time, not many buses to meet the demand etc. what is happening at Hub at present can take people away from the public transport systems.

One may argue that the Hub is partially completed only and everything will settle down in the course of time when the project gets completed. I must say this is the typical Indian attitude in Governance. at many places, people deserted similar projects because of the inconvenience caused to them at the beginning and no matter how the system got improved over the years. the best example is MRTS on Beach - Velacherry Lane in Chennai. Today, if some one takes Vyttila - Vyttila circular route and wants to go to Chertahala side, he has to walk more than 1 km from Hub to hit the bus stop to Allapuzha side. this adds woes to the vehicle movements and pedestrian movements also at the junction.

I am not sure any one from the implementing agencies boarded buses like a common passenger to understand the plight of the passengers and understand the routing issues. they should have done trial runs for more than a week to understand the traffic flow and should have found remedies. transport is live on road and that shall be experienced personally and not by sitting in drawing rooms. Planning shall not be confined to the drawings on the map but by real time case studies. Mobility is nothing but social mobility and if it is not properly understood, we cannot solve these problems for ever.

Transport facilities shall be given priority in terms of accessibility and convenience. By just diverting the routes and shifting the bus stops, one cannot do justice to the public transport movements. Bus day cannot save the public transport unless it is properly organised and channelised.

tail piece : i used to take bus from my home to reach office. But the traffic congestion at vyttila may urge me to resort to private vehicle. at Vyttila i am wasting more than 15 minutes. I am just wondering how many man hours are lost at Vyttila because of this? commuters are wandering about the movements at Vyttila and at the same time wondering what can be done for the delays at Vyttila.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A powerful mayor is the need of Hour

D. Dhanuraj

Video of a Lihtuanian Mayor crushing an illegally parked vehicle shocked generated lots of interest in the last few days. I do believe that parking is not Government's problem but that of vehicle owners. A new orientation is required at the Government level to tackle the issue of parking. when cities are trying their best to give housing, sanitation and drinking water to the citizens, local governments should not venture out to lease the city space for parking. More orientation at this level is very much needed in Indian cities and especially at the level of city administrators.

The video also explicitly describes the mighty power of Lithuanian Mayor. I am a little shocked the way he crushed the vehicle. wish that his tendency is not a habit outside the parking issues as in the times of former Soviet era. At the same time, i am strong supporter of a powerful Mayor for a city. Mayor cannot be a clerk or a glorified signing officer. He should be a powerful persona with powers for execution and administration. All the major departments shall be directly responsible to him. Since the Mayor is a democratically elected position, he shall be able to rule the city as a chief executive officer.

A study conducted by Vinod for Centre for Public Policy Research on Mayoral system shows that Cochin mayor has not many at his disposition. This needs to be changed. All the para statal agencies shall come under him. Even if it is not same interest as the crushing effect shown by the Lithunaian Mayor, Cochin Mayor can deal with fundamental issues of the city by having such power. Why should he be at the mercy of state Government for each and every act in Cochin. This will also ensure that the mayor is responsible to the people and he cannot cite excuses.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Feeder system for metro stations in Kochi

By D.Dhanuraj

Every morning, Kochiates buzz about the dream project of them; Kochi metro. it has been a dream for more than five years and with the present government, every one thinks that the dream is getting converted to reality. The other day, the metro website was launched. I am not sure whether it was my mistake that i could not find the copy of the feasibility study report of Kochi metro on that site. anyways, i am more concerned about the ridership and accessibility points for the metro stations once it becomes operational.

Kochi is a city of 7 lakhs and its suburbs can add another 10 lakhs to the population. the floating population of the city would be around 3 to 4 lakhs if we go by the calculation by the city bus services today. To my knowledge, no one has got any realistic numbers about the city commuters. all are guess works. the proposed metro is from Alwaye to Petta. it is interesting to note that the CBD area of cochin is shifting eastwards and we are not sure about the prospects of M G road in another one decade as the city grows. the alignment is along M G Road and i am still looking for the study reports and ridership presently and the forecast to justify the metro projects. unfortunately, the old city of Cochin like Mattancherty, Fort Cochin etc are not bound by the metro plans. in fact, they are least served by the bus services also. not sure how are they connected to metro stations in the proposed alignment. have they planned feeder systems or BRTs? why cant they plan share autos and other para transit feeder systems?

lastly, I am not convinced about the plans for city aligned route which may become redundant in the days to come. i would rather argue that the city should have gone for a BRT and the suburbs should have connected by Metro. the city is expanding and my hypothesis is that this city of Cochin will have a very different geographical positioning in the next 25 years. the proposed metro should have connected Kakkanad, Angamaly, Tripunithura, Vypeen and Fort Kochi. it could have been done in phases and BRTs should have been operated within the present city limits. a random check shows that many offices from the proposed alignment are getting shifted and moving out of the growing region of the city.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Toll collection at Aroor

Any construction work related to national highways is looked with lot of suspicion these days. the main reason is that of BOT mechanism adopted by national highway authority (NHAI). many complain that the toll fee levied at Aroor is exorbitant in a state like Kerala. NHAI and Central Government counters it saying that these numbers are accepted elsewhere hence why not in Kerala. they cite the examples of other states and then add that Kerala is richer than many other states in that respect to give this toll fee. I accept the argument that Kerala society has some how cultivated the habit of getting everything free be it water supply or electricity. at the same time, I disagree with NHAI argument on the pricing front. I am not sure how did they arrive at the same figures as such they apply in other states. NHAI publications report that PCUs per day on Aroor-Edapplly stretch is about 50000. this shows that this is a high dense corridor. they are expecting the numbers to grow to 70000 by 2015. vehicle ownership in Kerala is 1:6 and in Kochi it is 1:4. this is very much different from national averages. So BOT model should look for volume business since high number of vehicles are passing through this corridor. the rates shall be revised according to the number of vehicles that use this corridor. this is a classic example what happens when the decisions are taken in Delhi and not at the local level studying the demand and supply. Central Government should not decide on the local pricing though National Highway Authority is involved in the process. the decision should be left to the local government.

there is one more argument to substantiate the above reasoning. Kerala is different in the car sales pattern as many own premium cars and vehicles. those who own premium vehicles shall be taxed in these scenarios though the argument on equity front may differ. but i would conclude that it is the market driven mechanism to support and sustain the public transport.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Watch towers at Junctions

For the last few days, what amazes me is the way watch towers function at the various junctions in Cochin. even the busiest junction of Vyttila could not ignore it. Once we are asked to look at the various improvement plans at Vyttila, watch tower started playing a major role in junction improvements in Vyttila. initially, I was thinking that I am correct in my perception about the watch towers for their utility and significance in urban mobility plans.

It was shocking once our team started observing the traffic movements at Vyttila. Junction is designed in a poor way and then the watch tower and related space take away a huge amount of land unused. if the aim of the design was to give ambiance to the whole location. it is no more there. other day, i found labour removing grass from the whole area. if they wanted to provide pedestrian island, the whole area is fenced so that no one can use the area. every one complains about Vyttila Junction and then we found out that there is so much of space for a better junction design but unfortunately they are ill managed and designed.

watch tower at Vyttila took my interest to similar junctions at other parts of the city. in most of the cases, we found that watch towers have no utility. most of them consume good space intruding into the free and seamless flow of traffic. i think we need a watch tower audit in cochin. i wish the civil society organisations will take a serious look at this issue. watch towers can be designed and erected in a better way and the space they consume at present can be left for free flow of traffic.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Report on petrol price hike and its impact in Kochi


Study reveals 17% reduction in petrol sales 

A rise in petrol prices is not a new phenomenon for Kerala. After its deregulation in June 2010, petrol price was hiked eight times. Research states that in April 1989, petrol cost Rs 8.50 per litre, while diesel was Rs 3.50. Today, petrol costs Rs 65.6 per litre, after a Rs 5 increase on May 15, 2011. Due to public concern, the Kerala government waived off sales tax on the hiked portion of the price, which brings the price down by Rs 1.25 per litre. A study conducted by the Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR) at various petrol pumps in Kochi shows a 17% reduction in petrol sales in litres after the hike and an 11% reduction in petrol sales in rupees. 











This hike in petrol prices is sure to hurt the common man, irrespective of class or creed. However, rising fuel costs is also an opportunity to promote the usage of public transport. An endeavour like Bus Day assumes larger significance here, not just to mitigate concerns of rising fuel costs, but also to promote the cause of sustainable development.  


Friday, May 27, 2011

Kochi Bus Day on May 31


Kochi is set to celebrate yet another Bus Day! The Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR), with the support of the Indian Chamber of Commerce, telecom partner Uninor, and media partner Red FM is observing May 31 as ‘Bus Day’. Celebrities and politicians are expected to participate in the event, the route for which is the Fort Kochi-Aluva stretch. The event will be flagged off from Thoppumpady at 8 am. Both KSRTC and private buses operators will participate in this venture.

‘Bus Day’ will be conducted on the third Wednesday of every month, for the next three months. The state’s first Bus Day was held on December 18, 2010. It was flagged off from Kakkanad Civil Station at 9 am by actor Dileep. Transport Minister Jose Thettayil, Kochi Mayor Tony Chammany, Deputy Mayor Bhadra Satheesh, and Collector Dr Beena used the public transport system on that day, in addition to other celebrities, MLAs, and prominent persons from all walks of life.

A well-developed public transport system has been advocated by most advanced countries. Public transportation is a critical link to jobs, economic expansion, and quality of life in our community. Riding the bus is easy, inexpensive, convenient, and comfortable. It also saves money, and wear and tear of personal vehicles, while reducing traffic congestion and preventing air pollution.

‘Bus Day’ is a campaign aimed at branding buses as the best way to move about a city. It encourages people to leave their vehicles at home and hop on to city buses, to understand the importance of the public transport system in reducing traffic and environmental issues. It is definitely a call to persuade ‘well off’ people to use the bus.

Benefits of using the public transport system are aplenty. First, it saves money. Second, a person arrives at his/her office relaxed and ready to work, free from the stress of driving a car at peak traffic hours. It also reduces the need for on-site employee parking. Finally, it helps reduce traffic and pollution in the city.

For more details, contact Vivek Mathai at 9496326956 or email vivek@civitas.in

Support Bus Day: Take our Survey!

Monday, May 23, 2011

A drive to Oberon Mall

By D. Dhanuraj


it has been a sunny Sunday afternoon. Petrol price has been hiked up. Feel sorry about the politicians still play a major role in deciding the schedule of petroleum price hike. In Kerala, another hartal is over. Not sure how many crores we lost because of that hartal. no one seemed to have taken a stock of the events on that day, it seems ! i was driving towards city side from Tripunithura region. at Vyttila, i was caught in surprise by the number of cars taking right turn. My fellow passenger in the car told me that every body is rushing to Oberon mall to enjoy their sunday evening.

it struck me about the poor transport arrangement the city has. there are not many buses servicing the bye pass road. going to Oberon mall on any holiday tells you that the parking lots are packed and private vehicles are parked in front of the mall on the sides of the national highway. i do think that it is because of the lack of public transport facilities to that side, every one is compelled to take their private vehicles to go to Oberon mall. like hartal, no one bothers about how many liters of petrol is burnt because of lack of sustainable public transport facilities to Edappally side via bypass road. this is a good case study, similar destinations are plenty in city and we complain about traffic congestion without solving the basic issues.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Role of a traffic police man

D.Dhanuraj


Always surprised by the duties and responsibilities of civil servants in India. many times, their roles are not defined and some times they walk on a very thin yet blurred line of execution. here, my focus is on traffic policemen. any city in India, you can see them on streets and at junctions but they differ in uniforms and style from state to state. Yet their roles and responsibilities do not vary much. i am told that at many places, traffic police man post is given to the newly recruited chaps to the force just after their training. let them survive in the scorching heat of summer ! but i am yet to see a traffic police man on the street on a snowy day in Simla or Sri Nagar. but in Kerala, they wear a rain coat or hold an umbrella to survive during monsoon times. anyways, Kudos to traffic policemen for their tiring work and dedication !!

here the policy angle i want to discuss is about their duties and responsibilities. i have always come across SIs and CIs of traffic police in meetings related to urban mobility irrespective of the cities and states in India. the first invitee to such meetings are always the representatives of traffic police. though there is a direct involvement of traffic police in these decision making processes, i always wondered what kind of role they should have in these meetings and exercises. what is the role defined for traffic police; a facilitator or enforcement agency or the decision maker? most of the times, i found them sitting in the chair of both decision maker and enforcement agent and facilitator thus confusing a stake holder like me. what is the expertise and training given to the traffic police? how much are they updated on the happenings around the world in the field of transport and mobility? if traffic police man can do everything, then what is the significance of a transport engineer and mobility researchers? i strongly believe that the police department as well as the administrative session of traffic and mobility should understand the roles of every stake holder while discussing the new mobility plans for a city. most of the developed cities having better mobility plans separated the roles of traffic police and administrators and engineers and policy makers in addition to the role played by public at large. unless these changes are brought into the system in india, our future plans for urban mobility might look bleak.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Random thoughts on Metro railway project Cochin

by D Dhanuraj

there has been a marathon debate on Cochin metro. it is on limbo for the last seven years; reasonable time for completion of construction of metro rail in any city. still we are debating and discussing. From each one's point of view, there is fair concession to be given on the nicety of the arguments; each one is relevant and significant in their knowledge domain.

I am not arguing here for the merits and demerits of the funding side of metro in a city like Cochin.i am happy to be a citizen of a city having metro. now, the reports say that DMRC starts its construction activities by demolishing and rebuilding North over bridge. I was wondering we had to wait for a metro to come before we realign north over bridge. is it a development trap like poverty trap for the socialist economy? how many years we have taken to arrive at such a decision and citing metro now is a feasible option for the eye wash.

there is aghast among the general public regarding the time that metro corporation will take to reconstruct the works for north over bridge. what are the reasons for such a hysteria? is it because we don't believe DMRC team? given the track record they have in New Delhi in construction activities, i wonder what is it all about? if they can manage the construction activities in busy junctions by which many VVIPs drive through and busy markets like Karol Baghs and Chandini Chowks, why cant be rest assured in Cochin? whom should we blame for our own pinch for the delays and lockouts?

it is reported that there will be some traffic rearrangement in Cochin city while the construction works are going on. before scaling up the construction works, why cant the authorities make sure that access to Pullepady bridge is improved and smoothened? they can also assure the right turn from Kaloor to Elamakarra can lead to Edapally as the same case with the better connectivity between High court Junction and Kalamassery.

i am not sure when the actual construction work will start for Metro. lets hope the new government will take the steps to ensure the the project is on. i wonder why Seematti opposed railway station there in front of their shop. i think both DMRC and the stake holders must understand that stations can be designed in such a way that the value capture is enough for a party like Seematti to welcome to you to their door steps. instead of thinking aloud for their parking problems, Ms Beena Kannan shall invest in metro in a proper way. she can save time and energy and more importantly the money that she will invest for buying the land to expand the parking facilities. why cant these shop owners are taken into confidence and initiates a process where development rights are indexed with captured value of the business and metro to a variable coefficient? let them fund the metro and who knows the public can take metro at a lesser price and thus provide a solution for sustainable urban transport. Look at the models at Hongkong and other places. DMRC should make sure that these ideas give better opportunities to the opponents to be a part of the larger project. lets CBD enjoy and fund themselves from the project.

going to back to the theory of delays, i must confess that i am also pessimistic. if these roads are not relaid to the original position in a meaningful time frame, it will kill the economy. at the same time, i am worried about the plans of metro corporation; what about the first and last mile problems? are we designing the stations in such a way that the buses, autos and private vehicles can come and pick the passengers and drop at. will there be good light at these stations so that we especially the women dont have to be scared to board the trains. these are the questions need to be discussed while the project is sanctioned.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

City bus trips - small steps can improve the service

Other day Malayalam Manorama reported that a working couple; husband and wife are posted in a low floor bus. the writer argued that it makes sense and adds social happiness around them. Reading the news, I was also excited about it. then, i realised that the husban is from Waynad and the wife belongs to suburbs of Cochin. I remarked; 'lucky couple'

Today, i had another couple visiting our office from Chennai. They had taken low floor bus to reach our office at Elamkulam. they were telling me that when they told Elamkulam bus stop to Bus conductor,he responded like he does not know the place.the couple, senior citizens felt bad about the incident. they were asking me why it so happened. then i remember the news that i read yesterday. Like the Husband in yesterday's news, the bus conductor may belong to some places in Kerala. I appreaciate the mobility factor of Malayalees but i was surprised that the service provider (here in this case, KSRTC), never bothered to know about conductor's knowledge about the where abouts of Cochin city. they should give proper training to the employees that will help to the passengers (buyers of the service in this case) better.

these matters are small and silly when we compare the advancement in sustainable urban transport sstem. Either KSRTC can train its employees or put up an annoucement system or GPS so that passengers can know in advance where they are heading. so the soultion lies; absolutely zero cost to a few lakhs'. Lets decide what we need on a priority basis.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The lad


The lad came back to me,

Asking for a moment to play.

I refused: “Am not of your age,

Please find out someone else.”

He went back weeping.

He is my brother, young boy.

He insisted me to play the game;

Mad as the heart of the fans,

Hard to bring the reality into it,

The game enthused many.

It is called cricket: the blood and marrow

Of this country called India.

When I heard the word religion

The game already had a God.

When I heard the word heaven

The stadium got the name: Eden.

When I dreamt archangels,

The game was lauded by masters and legends.

But, we changed everything.

Gentleman’s game got dried.

Speed and innovation changed the classic face;

Still, the game is played in a spirit.

The lad was unaware of all these,

Went on playing, with a self-commentary.

I found it very solacing.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Agenda for Cochin corporation

Agenda that was submitted by CPPR to Cochin Corporation on January 28, 2011.


Agenda for City Corporation
1. Rearrange the city traffic and bus routes with the support of Traffic police and RTO.
a. Studies indicate that bus routes cater only 30 % of the urban agglomeration of Cochin. There are many places in agglomeration that need Kms of walk to reach the nearby bus stops.

b. Rationalization of bus routes in city needs priority. Many routes in city are either redundant or obsolete. Many of the routes are relevant when most of the existing roads (new connectivity) were not even visualized decades before. Now, with the changing scenario, routes need to be revisited for public transport so that burden on the Central Business District (CBD) can be reduced.

2. Rearrange the city bus stops

a. Most of the bus stops are either misplaced or irreverent. Bus stops especially at the mouth of an over bridge and at the junctions cause traffic blocks and congestions. This needs to be reevaluated and inspected on a priority basis.

b. There are many bus stops that are unlawful. Buses stop intermittently blocking the lane traffic is another reason for traffic blocks in city


3. Synchronise the signals at junctions.

a. Signal systems need to be updated on a frequent basis. This shall be done on the basis of traffic surveys carried out at the junctions on a regular basis.

b. A traffic management system with expertise in traffic experts and not the traffic police.


4. Effective dispute redressal system placed in corporation.

a. Those who come to the corporation office for different needs get a professional treatment. Dispute resolution system to sort out the issues within a reasonable time will be praiseworthy.
b. Mayor shall initiate regional face to face meetings (like Lok Adalats) on a frequent basis. There shall be a forum where Mayor reaches out to the general public.

5. Move to declare the city as pedestrian friendly city. (pedestrian audit)

a. Unfortunately, movement of private and heavy vechicels are given priority in the CBD region. Planning shall commence from the pedestrian point of view. Most of the city regions do not adhere to Indian Road Congress mandate on the pedestrian facilities to be provided on the street.

b. Involve civil society organizations and resident associations to conduct pedestrian audit on a regular basis.

6. Thrust on urban mobility and free flow of traffic

a. Focus shall be the mobility. Seamless traffic flow is possible with the rearrangement of bus routes, bus stops, rationalization of bus routes and dedicated bus routes. Sustainable public transport meeting the demands of the commuting population shall be the key area for development and discussion.

b. Bus rapid Transit System can be introduced at a fractional cost of Metro. This will help to ease out the present system till the metro comes to city.

7. Cycling tracks in the city

a. Cycling tracks along with pedestrian sidewalks are the global benchmarks for any livable city. Cycles which form the non- motorized mobility plans are very much significant in the overall improvement of urban area.

8. Rating and quality assessment of roads constructed and repaired by an external committee representing the civil society.
9. Tracking of bus positions using GPS. This will be displayed on display boards placed at bus stops for passengers' convenience.
10. Display of time schedule of public transport at bus stops and numbering of bus routes.
11. Public comfort stations

12. Create activity zones and neighborhood play zones and green space leisure activities in the city by raising FAR.

a. City is witnessing horizontal growth for many decades. Debates on vertical growth ensuring urban amenities shall be initiated. This would ensure a livable city concept having play grounds, street furniture and green space in the neighborhood areas.

13. Fees, payment of bills, issuing of certificates (application included) and tax remission through corporation websites.

a. Try to maximize the use of IT platforms for the needs of the citizens while dealing with corporation. They don’t have to come to corporation offices for paying fees/tax, to get certificates etc. this shall be done online.


14. Identify parking space at the major transit points and develop multi layer parking systems.
15. Provide better feeder systems at all the major transit points including railway stations, bus stands, Boat jetties so that there is no intermittent delays.

a. first and last mile problems are not solved in India. It adds to the issue of more private vehicles on the road. Better feeder system supporting the public transport will make sure that demands of the general public is addressed.

b. Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority (UMTA) shall be notified soon. This will help all the stake holders including railways, Metro, KSRTC, PBOA, Auto Unions, Taxi etc sit around a table and come up with sustainable solutions. This would increase their revenue as well.
16. Increase the inland water navigation systems. City commuters shall be given the option of taking boats.
a. Cochin has a very vast water frontage area which is suitable for inland navigation. Most of the port cities have developed in land navigation as the main stay of the urban mobility unlike cochin. Provide boat services and leisure activities that would reduce the traffic on the main roads. Moreover, it is cheap also.
17. Convert MG Road and Marine Drive into walking plaza and entertainment zones.
a. Downtown concept is absent in the city. Once parking facilities are given, some of the streets can be denied of private vehicle entry. Streets shall be the spaces where evening walks and leisure activities can be carried out. Outdoor dining, music, painting etc can be promoted at these places to make it a truly loveable city.
18. Revive/reclaim canals in Cochin city.

Studies need to be carried out to revive canals like Perandoor, mullassery etc. efforts shall be focused towards to revive/reclaim these canals so that water related issues can be settled for ever.
19.Storm water drainage
20. Garbage disposal stations and the effective mechanisms to handle the waste treatment. Dust Bins shall be provided at every place.
21. Information kiosks about the city information at major transit points.
22. City should have direction board in regional language and in English.
23. There can be complaining registration center to register complains on buses, auto rickshaws and taxies.
24. Exclusive market for street hawkers (Exclusive area for street hawkers) needs to be implemented. GIS study needs to be carried out to identify the appropriate areas for setting up these markets.
25. Formation of an urban task force

Declare

An ideal complete streets policy:
• Includes a vision for how and why the community wants to complete its streets
• Specifies that ‘all users’ includes pedestrians, bicyclists and transit passengers of all ages and abilities, as well as trucks, buses and automobiles.
• Encourages street connectivity and aims to create a comprehensive, integrated, connected network for all modes.
• Is adoptable by all agencies to cover all roads.
• Applies to both new and retrofit projects, including design, planning, maintenance, and operations, for the entire right of way.
• Makes any exceptions specific and sets a clear procedure that requires high-level approval of exceptions.
• Directs the use of the latest and best design criteria and guidelines while recognizing the need for flexibility in balancing user needs.
• Directs that complete streets solutions will complement the context of the community.
• Establishes performance standards with measurable outcomes.
• Includes specific next steps for implementation of the policy

Refer: http://www.completestreets.org