Malleswaram was founded more than a hundred years ago in 1898 when Bangalore was hit by a great plague that spread rapidly through the city. There was a move to decongest the crowded ‘pete’ areas and resettle citizens into new layouts like Malleswaram. It was promoted as a ‘model hygienic suburb’ and boasted a grid iron pattern with wide roads, large plots, parks and market areas, and it soon developed into a hub of culture, shopping and education.
A Tragic Decline
As Bangalore boomed, this beautiful neighbourhood started feeling the impact as much as the rest of the city. Rampant commercialization brought traffic into quiet residential streets, forcing residents to abandon walking and cycling.
This was a tragedy because Malleswaram's compact size supports the idea of a classic 15-min neighbourhood, where markets, schools, temples, cultural venues, as well as public transport hubs, are all within a 15 minute radius by foot, bike or public transport.
Traffic was not the only problem. A survey conducted in 2020 with residents in Malleshwaram found that there were multiple challenges :
Footpath encroachment of various kinds
Missing first-and-last mile connectivity
Poor design of footpaths - high pavements, no ramps, high dividers etc.
Speeding vehicular traffic
In response, residents and community groups mounted several campaigns to bring attention to this grave problem
A vigorous campaign mounted by community organization Malleswaram Social, to highlight the poor quality of pedestrian infrastructure and how it was affecting residents.
A video titled BharatnatyamSaaku FootpathBeku went viral garnering more than 10 million views worldwide
The aim of the project is to pilot well-designed slow-ways, leveraging the existing Conservancy Lanes in Malleshwaram that prioritise the movement of pedestrians, especially the elderly, children and disabled; and cyclists within the 15-minute neighbourhood using a participatory planning approach.
Areas proposed for this intervention
Ward 45 - 1.24 sq. km.
Ward 65 - 0.87 sq. km.
Ward 35 - 0.12 sq. km.
The project is directed at piloting various interventions to increase walkability across 4 sets of conservancies:
Parallel to Margosa Road, between 17th cross to 8th cross (880 m)
Parallel to Sampige Road, between 18th cross to 13th cross (556 m)
Set of 4 short conservancy lanes, between 6th Cross and 9th Cross (280 m each, Approx. 1 km in total)
19th cross conservancy lane (370 m)
proposed ROUTE MAP
This project aims to accomplish the following:
Engage a broad range of stakeholders like residents, community organisations, design firms in Malleswaram, and other professionals like historians, sociologists, planners etc. for the implementation of the pilot
Evaluate all 4 conservancies for becoming safe walkable spaces.
Connect to key destinations - places of work, schools and colleges, parks, lakes, shopping areas, etc. via safe, walkable routes.
Test potential of conservancies as an integrated network for walking.
Encourage more people in the ward to walk