|Project Status||Planned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)|
|Conflict outcome / response:||New legislation|
Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
|Development of alternatives:||The 'Urban Street Design Guidelines Pune' project has set out with the stated vision of ‘re-establishing streets as experiential public spaces that offer citizens to use all modes of transport, including walking with a safe and dependable commuting experience.’ |
Within this initiative is the Pune Cycle Plan (PCP) which adopts a multi-step process of understanding the concerns and needs of cyclists in the city and which subsequently gives detailed technical recommendations on how to meet them effectively. The pedestrian paths themselves are to be made free of obstacles and smooth for wheelchair usage, while the cycling tracks are to be segregated with physical barriers that prevent encroaching by motor vehicles. Further, these cycling tracks are to be connected on a greater scale so that accessing more distant parts of the city on bicycle is possible. For even greater distances, the guidelines also include creating a network of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) routes for an uninterrupted public transportation experience. Other design elements include providing shade trees to pedestrian and cyclists, traffic calming speed-breakers in residential areas, intuitive universal signage (traffic signals etc.), street furniture (seating, trash bins etc.) and other features.
|Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:||Not Sure|
|Briefly explain:||As far as conceptualising a vision for an alternative transportation system that is based on equitable access and sustainability is concerned, the project can be considered as a success. However, the project is lagging behind in implementation. By the original timeline of the project, a draft plan was to be placed before the Pune Municipal Corporation General Body by September-October 2016. Instead the corporation felt a need for an additional survey to obtain a more updated data-set on the feasibility of creating a cycle share program. The consultants hired to carry out this survey have submitted their report, but there has been no discussion on the matter as of December 2016. |
While the municipal commissioner is enthusiastic about the project, the structure of the corporation is a potential hurdle to successful implementation of the project guidelines. The final responsibility of implementing design schemes lies with the corporators of each ward and not all of them share the same interest as the commissioner does. This seems to be an important determinant, as observed in road maintenance on current stretches of roads and existing cycle tracks.
A more serious impediment however could be the metro link project that has been approved by the corporation simultaneously, under the Smart City plan of the central government. The metro project was not part of the comprehensive mobility plan for Pune, and is not a recommendation of the technical consultants. The estimated cost of building a metro network is 10,500 crore rupees with the stated aim of transporting 7 lakh people per day by 2031. However, the existing bus network in Pune already transports more than 10 lakh people per day. The relationship between the metro project and the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is thus not mutually complimentary. In fact the commissioner himself has been quoted as saying that ‘the metro is a glamour project, but that the future lies in the bicycle.’ As such, the go-ahead given to the metro project seems like a move made under pressure from the larger political machinery of the state and the country, in keeping with the grandiose neoliberal vision of ‘smart’ cities.
In summary, this case cannot yet be considered an environmental justice success since it is still in the planning stage, and faces issues of both implementation and interference in the time to come.