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Complete Streets for Ward 85

A community working to make our streets safer, healthier and happier places.

In September 2020, the Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT) in Bangalore, India, initiated a programme called the Sustainable Mobility Accords (SuMA). Under this programme, 10 neighbourhoods across the city would get funding to implement various interventions that help prioritise sustainable modes of transport (public transport & non-motorised transport) over personal vehicles.

I am working on this project as the lead member from my neighbourhood.

Initial Proposal

Inspired after reading about New York's Open Streets & Paris' Pop-Up Cycle Lanes, I created a unique proposal for Ward 85 based on my own experiences and the community's inputs. It included improving footpaths, building protected cycle lanes, tactical interventions for placemaking, and more.

It was selected for funding and implementation following a competitive selection process by DULT.


Community Engagement

The first six months of the project were dedicated to community engagement and capacity building. We undertook handlebar surveys across the neighbourhood's streets, completed over 300+ household surveys, and conducted focus group discussions (FGDs). This gave us crucial quantitative & qualitative insights into the travel patterns, preferences, and concerns of the community. It also helped us document street-level challenges and problems that needed to be addressed.

Identifying Problems

As we delved into the process of designing interventions, we created detailed maps and plans highlighting conflict zones, crash-risk areas, junction geometry, pedestrian desire paths, and more.

During brainstorming sessions with urban planners and designers, we explored options for varying types of cycling infrastructure and interventions. This included comparing design choices from different parts of the world and finding the right solution for our local context. A context where law-enforcement can be poor, funding is limited and people from highly diverse backgrounds view public spaces & infrastructure very differently.


Reimagining Our Streets

Over the months, we collected data, took measurements of footpaths, carriageways & travel lanes, studied best practices from around the world and reimagined how our streets could look.

From cycle lanes and wider footpaths, to safe crossings at junctions, street furniture, public art, and bus stop signage, we truly approached this from a wholistic perspective.

Our objective was to create a sustainable mobility network that would allow ease of access to transit hubs, schools, offices, and recreational spaces for local residents and commuters.

Collaborating with Stakeholders

As a city that's only just starting to realise the importance of public transport and active mobility, many existing streets are designed in a highly car-centric way.

We spent countless hours engaging with city officials, local residents and other stakeholders to rethink how street space is allocated.


Executing our Vision

With our mobility interventions finalised, we moved into the implementation phase. Over the last 2 years, you'd find me standing beside streets monitoring the construction of cycle lanes, footpath repair works, street art, and other interventions.

Whether it was thermoplastic markings at 2 am, the installation of bollards in peak summer, or coordinating with city officials, I've truly enjoyed the process of finally seeing our ideas come to life. I'm also glad to have overseen the implementation myself, because it's important that we do this well and to the standards that are expected.

Spreading a Message

A critical aspect of the transition to sustainable mobility is messaging and engagement. When citizens are able to be a part of the change and feel included in the process, they tend to be more open to making different choices and trying alternatives.

Considering this, we made sure that local communities were involved with various parts of the project. One such example is a street art installation where children, the elderly, and a diverse group of people came together to paint a mural promoting sustainable mobility, waste segregation and green spaces.


Our First Cycle Lane

In May 2022, we completed the project's first protected cycle lane. This was particularly exciting for us, since it connected a residential area, two schools, a metro station, and was in fact the city's first ever bi-directional protected cycle lane.

With a clear RoW of 2.5m, the lane is designed to be comfortable for cyclists to pass or overtake other riders in both directions. We are also using standardised floor markings and signage as per the Karnataka State Cycling Brand Manual to ensure consistency.

Complete Streets for All

Over the course of this project, I've gained invaluable experience in community engagement, street design, inclusivity, team leadership, stakeholder management and other skills.

I'm grateful for having had the opportunity to collaborate with the Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT), local communities, city authorities and organisations like Sensing Local.

There's a lot to be done to make our streets safe, sustainable and more liveable across the city, but we'll get there one step at a time.


This page contains an overview of the "SuMA Doddanekundi" project (Complete Streets for Ward 85) with excerpts from my blog post. Read the full blog post on Medium.

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