Traffic on ORR is likely to worsen. Here’s why!

Traffic at the Marathahalli-Sarjapur Outer Ring Road. File pic. 

It has been two years since I wrote this on the sorry state of commuters and residents along the Outer-Ring-Road. Fast forward to the present, nothing much has changed. It might in fact have gotten worse as more and more bottlenecks have sprung up. In these two years, more people have added their own cars to the roads, more buildings have come up and more companies have moved in to the stretch between Sarjapura Road and Doddanakundi. Ecospace, a word that now mainly conjures up images of traffic jams when heard at random, has expanded further inland and added more buildings that house more employees. More office space is coming up in whatever space is left between all those campuses that house JP Morgan, Oracle etc and the frothing, burning, exploding, but ultimately shrinking, Bellandur Lake.

The traffic pileups now amount to multiple ones:

  1. Silk Board (of course, the grand-daddy of all these): More people probably pass through this junction per day, than those who passed through the Silk Route per century.
  2. Iblur which used to be a once-in-a-while flare-up is more or less consistent now, and is crying for recognition as a new traffic jam in its own right.
  3. Ecospace: “Ah those pedestrians, why do they have to cross the road to get to the other side?! Why don’t they build a pedestrian overpass here?” Well, let’s face it – it hasn’t happened in all these years, it’s very well not going to happen in the future either.
  4. JP Morgan: Well, where there’s a signal, there’s a traffic jam. Again, “those pedestrians yaar!”
  5. Marathahalli Innovative Multiplex– Well, innovative traffic solutions mean buses and lorries have to take a U-turn to turn right to Airport road here.
  6. Marathahalli Kalamandir: The corresponding U-turn for those going to Whitefield – a piece of art by itself.
  7. EMC2: Einstein’s elegant equation is also a major traffic bottleneck which takes 15 to 30 minutes to cross depending on your luck.
  8. Tin Factory: Pretty much the Newton to Einstein, a real factory that doesn’t exist anymore. But it is a major bottleneck that you need to pass to get to EMC2, or to Whitefield. BTP keep claiming that they have solved it. Except that instead of spending 20 minutes there, you spend 10 minutes between Tin Factory and KR Puram, and another 10 minutes before that to get to Tin Factory from Beniganahalli or Kalyan Nagar.
  9. In between all this, there is Old Airport Road, and its own ecosystem of traffic jams culminating in the U-turn for those coming from Whitefield to take right towards KR Puram.

Together, the bottlenecks of Iblur, Marathahalli and KR Puram guard the companies of ORR like the three-headed dog Cerberus guarding the netherworlds of Hades. No security expert could have designed a better system by sitting and thinking this through.

Thankfully, the police have now realised that the ‘situation is grim’ after visiting the areas. 


Source: https://twitter.com/AddlCPTraffic/status/629205975686381568

Solutions are now being sought from citizens. Of course, this can be perceived as a good way to involve citizens in planning and solving their commutes. You could also say that BTP and their ‘traffic consultants’ are clueless about what to do. I am hoping it’s the former, but it’s hard not to think it’s the latter, going by past history.  

Source: https://twitter.com/AddlCPTraffic/status/629208945886793728; Note that it’s addlcptrafficbcp@gmail.com

There is of, course, the question of what the future holds. It would be nice to be able to think of a happy ending, where the police solve the issue and people get to drive their cars to work and back home, and spend more time with their respective spouses, children and dogs in their ‘lakefront ultra-luxury apartments in the heart of greenery’.

Sadly – brace yourself – the situation is going to continue to look grim. In fact it might be looking a lot grimmer than you can think.

  1. All these buildings that are coming up all over the ORR will be complete and more companies will move in from within the city. Let’s face it, rents in the CBD are crazy high. Not that they aren’t much lower in the ORR, but more people can be accommodated in the same rent, apparently.
  2. Bangalore has been sitting pretty at No. 2 in the number of cars owned, after Delhi. More people will continue to buy cars. Especially in the East and South. (Source: The Hindu)
  3. Those flyovers at Devarabeesanahalli and Kadubeesanahalli aren’t going to go away soon. With every passing day, with every increase in traffic, these twin flyovers more and more resemble the monumental flaws that they are.
  4. There might be a plan to build an underpass near EMC2. Whether this will give traffic the quantum leap to the other side or not needs to be seen, but only after three to five years of struggling through dust and traffic.
  5. The Metro Phase II is going to start.
    1. For those commuting via Old Madras Road, the extension from Byappanahalli to Whitefield will choke OMR till KR Puram. Not that it isn’t choked already, but any road that can choke, can choke more, as those who live in Whitefield can tell you. Those from the West thinking of taking the Metro, you still have to deal with Tin Factory. Not much change considering that that was the first bottleneck even by road.
    2. The Southern side will see an extension from RV Road till Silk Board and then onward to Electronic City. The good news is that they are planning an elevated road along the same pillars as the Metro from Jayadeva to Silk Board (Please don’t laugh). This might improve things half a decade or more later, if the traffic volume hasn’t exceeded what they’re currently planning for.
    3. The underground section from Gottigere to Nagawara is also going to start. This might mean less pain, except at points where there will be underground stations. So if you were thinking Dairy Circle from Jayadeva, and then through Koramangala, you might be a bit disappointed. If you are commuting from Bannerghatta road, you might be more than a bit disappointed.

There are no easy solutions. In fact there are no permanent solutions, as long as the relentless onslaught of private cars is going to continue. ORR will live and die by Single Occupancy Cars. Who’s listening though?


Addendum (as on August 26th 2015)

After all those deliberations, they’ve come to the conclusion that reducing vehicle density is the way to go.

Source: https://twitter.com/AddlCPTraffic/status/636419094841962496

Now to hope people actually start thinking about the consequences of their choices. As one of the commenters below suggested, might be worth having tech parks also start charging for parking.

Related Articles

ORR at Bellandur: Signal free corridor adds to commuters’ stress
How can we improve the traffic situation in our city?
Games you can play while stuck in traffic

About Vaidya R 0 Articles
Vaidya is an engineer working in Bangalore and tweets at @aydiav.

22 Comments

  1. I also want to add that only if there are parallel roads will authorities be able to make any improvements on existing roads. If they even try to flatten out a pothole, a section will have to be closed down and this will lead to utter mayhem if that’s the only road available.

    And making bus users have to walk half a mile near the Silk Board or Marathahalli to change buses discourages using public transport (apart from further clogging up those junctions).

  2. Avoiding cul de sacs (dead ends) and allowing parallel, alternative roads to be available could greatly spread out and smoothen the flow of traffic. Vast campuses like Ecospace should have circumferencial roads and multiple functional exits. They should take a leaf out of http://www.amoretravelguides.com/blog/the-roman-coliseum-a-travelers-guide.php
    “There are 80 entrances through which spectators entered the stadium. The passageways were built so it would only take 15 minutes to fill and 5 minutes to evacuate.” Note that the Ecospace is a workplace rather than a residential complex: each employee enters it once in a day.

    There must also be reasonably frequent buses that go in different directions from an important intersection. Because 505 is so rare, hundreds of people need to cross over Silk Board to get a 500 after coming from Electronic City. The Jail Road route has no buses. Likewise at Marathahalli. Nothing from HSR Layout or Bellandur (or Mahadevapura) to HAL or Domlur and further into the city centre. The interior roads of Bellandur ought to be upgraded and buses run over them. The road by the lake can be taken to go to Old Airport Road, for example. If there are buses, private vehicles will become less lucrative.

    Also, a few bridges over the Bellandur lake can create shorter routes eschewing jammed junctions. Some of the areas around the old airport can be reclaimed for infrastructure building, now that it is no longer a full-scale civilian airport.

  3. I think a reasonable solution for stretches on ORR exists. Break down all barriers separating the main road and the service lanes on ORR and delete the concept of service roads. So the entire road should be usable. Along with this signals need to be implemented every 500mtrs to 1 km for people to be able to take U turns and get to their destinations. This will take away the need to have service lanes. Merging service lanes and main roads will double road width painlessly.

  4. Yes infrastructure could be better but, Why is that all employers are moving to/getting stuck to one part of city/one particular stretch(ORR/WF)!!!???? Why are you/we creating/increasing problems for your/ourselves!!??

    what employers can do IMMEDIATELY is to start expanding or shift your current base itself to other parts of Bangalore(spread over) & this will definitely give you/us the relief to much more extent than, what we are hoping for with an better infrastructure from govt.

    Lets first do what we can do to ease out the problem, implement the solutions/measures that are in our control to overcome the problems & then, start fighting with concerned external deptmts/authorities to ease it out to a greater extent.

  5. Without artillery road widening and connections this problem will always remain as it is.

    What authorities can do as short term measure,
    1) Allow EcoWorld access through Wipro-Sarjapur road, traffic coming from Silk board need not go towards Bellandur.
    2) Widen Sarjapur Road
    3) People living around Sarjapur road has no easy way adopting public buses for office transport. Make part of 500D Volvo buses start from Carmelaram. It will give open up rail as another way to commute to office.
    4) Interlink Global Tech park, Intel, EcoWorld.

  6. Start Car Free Days on ORR by providing lots of 500C and 500D buses and see the change. If it works out, start charging parking fees on tech parks like EcoSpace (which is not so eco!)

  7. The only way this can be resolved is by stopping all further real estate projects in this corridor. The real problem is that the city administration is in hands of real estate developers. Voters have to kick out politicians with stakes and connections in real estate companies. Every place has a carrying capacity and with projects being sanctioned right left and center, congestion will only increase because roads are not getting any bigger while more and more people and vehicles are being added per square feet. The joke is that the names of these projects make you want to laugh and cry at the same time because “Serene Valley” or “Whistling Woods” comes at a fancy price when these places do not even remotely resemble the images thrown up by these names. It may be more apt to call these Fools Paradise 1, 2, 3 and so on!

  8. Now see the condition of roads. Full of potholes. In BTM they started to build cycling space and took away road section. Have not seen anyone cycling, but yes a travel of 30 mins on those roads now is 1 hr. Jai Ho Sidhhramaih ki

  9. What stops govt from building an underpass from Silkboard to BTM. Any time of the day it s a mess. May be the CM should spend some time daily visiting silkboard and see the fun citizens have while waiting in jam for hours DAILY

  10. Well, I thought that only I am overreacting and got trafficophobia.
    I changed job from Manyata Tech Park to Kundanhalli and found that only kms have reduced but time didn’t.
    I came to know about rideally.com ( a shared taxi and carpool platform) and felt that it is a right step in right direction if its execution is well. Registered there but didn’t find many people in my route.
    We all complain. I take public volvos also till all muscles give up after standing for 1.5-2.0 hours to cover 10 kms. Hpw many will sign up for shared taxi or car pool to do their bit?

    There is some silver lining in the dark clouds that I found today.
    Please check out the below link. There are few roads in Bangalore that have this TenderSURE initiative. More are being undertaken. We can try to get our road as well on the list.
    http://cityconnect.in/sites/default/files/tender_sure_-_a_new_approach_for_city_roads.pdf

  11. This is good article and thanks for highlighting the problems in ORR.

    The few things I like to comment are .

    a. The planning is horrible by the BDA/BBMP authorities with no roads, no drains, potholes everywhere, etc. It is not one or two things , but there is a long list.
    b. I take the Kadubeesanahalli-Doddakannahalli Road to work and along that stretch there are so many multi-storied buildings coming up, within the next 1-2 years, I am assuming atleast 10 thousand families moving in, the traffic on stretch is already horrible and expect that stretch to get worst. How can the authorities give permissions to builders to build high raise apartment buildings without having the infrastructure to support. They builders don’t take any initiative to fix the roads, other than their own premises. They should at least work with authorities with get the roads fixed.
    3. The flyover at Kadubeesanahalli/ORR is horrible with traffic in all directions during the peak hours. I blame the people as well in this case, looks like everyone is in an hurry and they move in all directions not just 4 wheelers but 2 wheelers as well and they create a gridlock. It took me once 45 minutes to move through the grid lock created by people on this flyover. We need additional policemen on the flyovers to stop gridlocks and have traffic lights as well.
    4. The people should have common sense as well to give the right of way and allowing others to move on, by creating a grid lock situation, they themselves will not be reaching their destination early, rather they will be reaching late and they also will be delaying other people there valuable time. I see that 2 wheelers are horrible in this regard, trying to squeeze through and create chaos and dangerous situations.

    Looking at the state of affairs, it is sometimes disappointing at the way things are being done in Bangalore and can’t imagine where we as a soceity are heading towards.

  12. Look at the quadrangle comprising of Marathahalli Junction, Sarjapur Road / ORR Junction, Varthur Junction and Dommasandra Circle. This is a vast area with enormous growth happening in residential and commercial properties but there are no proper criss-cross roads. All the single lane roads that go through this area are jam packed every day during commute hours. I can see the Wipro HQ on Sarjapur Road from EcoWorld within a few hundred meters but there is no way to get there without a several km drive through congested ORR or through a lorry packed single lane road via Doddakannalli. No planning, no roads, no drains, let private developers do as they please and then BBMP comes in to dig roads to lay pipelines, make flyovers and exasperated traffic police come in to try and manage what they are given. Add to this short-sighted drivers who get into no-entry roads and prefer sitting in traffic than to go around when the policemen are on their lunch break.

    Same story with Haralur Road and Jail Road. Everyone is piling up their properties on these new stretches. The next bottleneck is going to be the newly built bridge near Carmelaram / Decathlon on Sarjapur Road looking at the huge commercial complex coming up there.

  13. Hi, From what I understand, there is no end to this problem. All buildings near the service road in ORR are completed .The situation is also grim at Marathalli to ITPL via Graphite india.I walk from Kundanhalli to SAP labs and I reach early than the buses. There is a huge rush of vehicular traffic. The only way to deal the matter is don’t use personal vehicle for going to office. Instead use public transport. If we people are health freak, we should go to few distant to catch a bus. It is humble plea to citizens of Bangalore, Please don’t come in personal vehicles to office, instead use it for long drives in week end. Please help to reduce the commutation time, so that you and we (bus goers ) all can spend those with our child.

  14. I don’t see any competents who have stood for BBMP elections – things will just get worse, but hey, there is always darkness before …

  15. “Those flyovers at Devarabeesanahalli and Kadubeesanahalli aren’t going to go away soon. With every passing day, with every increase in traffic, these twin flyovers more and more resemble the monumental flaws that they are”. Flyovers are the root cause of the problem on ORR. Instead of building flyover at every 100m, they should have planned an elevated highway from Silk Board to KR Puram. Every flyover now resembles a new KR Puram.

  16. @pramod: Yes, Jaipur has it. The laughing matter is not about technical feasibility, more about implementation technicalities, as this might need something unheard of in Bangalore – coordination.
    To give you an idea of how these agencies like BMRCL and BDA/BBMP work at cross-purposes, please read this: http://bangalore.citizenmatters.in/articles/unfinished-bda-flyover-metro-in-mysore-road-orr. And this was in a case where there wasn’t even shared costs.
    And this is from 2 years before: http://bangalore.citizenmatters.in/articles/bbmp-plans-to-merge-silk-board-elevated-road-with-metro-line
    Note that funding modes are different as mentioned in the article, and BBMP is infamous for not paying up on time and delaying projects while the metro construction is much better once they acquire land and start construction (assuming no one drags them to court).
    If they can really put the benefits of people and work together, that’s what we should be hoping for!

  17. BRTS with toll on single occupancy cars may be solution.

    The good news is that they are planning an elevated road along the same pillars as the Metro from Jayadeva to Silk Board (Please don’t laugh).

    > Whats is there to laugh.. Jaipur has this

  18. Pathetic planning with no futuristic thought lead to all these chaos what we are facing now. In the 2000 to 2004 time they missed the bus which other cities have got which is the mass rapid public transport system. The government gave permission to autos like anything assuming that is going to solve the issue in fact it gave a retro effect leading to more and more personal vehicles. When I talk about this to any Bangaloreans associated with bbmp bda or something like that they say it grown unexpectedly. Common guys give me a break how long you are going to say this??? It’s already 2 decades still you guys are planning???? Not sure whether the problem is with officials or politicians. With people they should come to reality yes it’s a paradise and now that more people have come means paradise will not lost it has to go through some transformation so that it will be an another paradise

  19. What the hell you people(BBMP and trafic) are doing in bangalore. You dont have a plan in place and you are allowing more offices to be sprout off day by day.I have some ideas which will reduce the traffic to a great extent.
    1.Build a foot bridge near ecospase which will reduce around 50% off traffic jam
    2.Ban the single car passangers and encourage car pooling.
    Hope you got it…

  20. It is a shame that a country which aspires to be a IT power and lead in all things technology has done nothing in very elementary yet important areas such as civic planning and road infrastructure , people are quick to blame increase in number of cars or private numbers because it is a convenient thing to do no one wants to talk about the elephant in the room i.e. the sheer incompetence (that would be a understatement by the way) and total dereliction of duty by the state machinery in such matters . Giving approval to construction of huge IT parks without considering supporting infra like roads or water , not planning for future by cutting corners and pilfering the public funds by making architectural marvels like the K R Puram Bridge or for that matter building a metro from Indiranagar to Vidhan Souda in 10 years (who travels by it ? Netas ?) have led to the current mess in Bangalore , actually the politicians have found an easy way to make money i.e. demarcate a land parcel for SEZ sell to highest bidder and move on to next SEZ. The biggest traffic violators on roads are BMTC buses most of the traffic snarls caused on ORR are due to a BMTC volvo coming up on wrong side of the service road or stopping right in middle of the road because in Bangalore unlike Mumbai or other big metros there are no Bus stands or bays buses can stop literally anywhere as they please. In last 10 years the only overbridge built by the BBMP is near Marathahalli junction which is more than 3 stories high and does not have a lift/escalator who is going to use it ? In absence of dividers pedestrians are more than happy to trust their lives with the guy behind the wheel on the road. The babus and netas here are more than happy to collect road tax which by the way is highest in India and take the general public for a ride and busy giving people sermons on ride sharing and car pooling.

  21. For people who commute to Bellandur/Sarjapur side from Yeshwantpur/Hebbal side, there is some hope in the form of the Yeshwantpur Hosure passenger train.

    It has convenient timings and takes about 25 minutes from Hebbal to Bellandur Station (add 5 more minutes for Carmelaram Station).

    Not only is it convenient, it is also cheap at just 10 rupees for one way journey.

    We need more such trains, that is the Commuter Rail project. That is the only way to overcome the growth of traffic to these areas.

  22. Superb commentary on the state of the ORR in the south east corner. The traffic police for their credit is trying all they can to make good of a horrible situation given to them. But with a nameless mayor and an apathetic chief minister, I shudder to think what the situation will be in another 3 years. Soon it may be faster to just ban all vehicular traffic on the ORR and let people walk to their destination !

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