‘If the plan is implemented, it could greatly increase congestion in the city centre’

Is the Central Business District (CBD) in the city doomed to see greater congestion in the years ahead following the implementation of the Mysore Master Plan 2031?

The issue comes to the forefront because of the Mysore Grahakara Parishat’s (MGP) fresh input to the document, which was released by the authorities last year.

The plan has drawn flak from the public for “not addressing the needs of the city.”

Ashok Kacker, R. Chandra Prakash and B.V. Shenoy of the MGP have called for a fresh look into the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) described in the plan, as it has a direct bearing on the density in an area and the future of the city.

FAR is the ratio of the constructed area to total plot area, which is dependent on plot size and road width. The Mysore Master Plan 2031 — prepared for the Mysore Urban Development Authority (MUDA) by Ahmedabad-based SAI Consultants — has increased the FAR for the CBD.

However, it has retained the existing FAR, which varies from 1.25 to 1.5, for residential areas.

What it should be

“This is inexplicable,” according to the MGP, which pointed out that if the plan’s stated objective was to reduce congestion in the city centre, then the FAR should have been frozen in these parts. As the MGP representatives pointed out, the policy should be to discourage high-rise buildings and commercial complexes in the CBD by keeping the FAR low, while increasing it in residential areas.

However, the plan stipulates a high FAR in zone A, which comprises the business areas of the city, and low a FAR in residential areas. The fallout of this will be more shopping malls in busy areas, which will add to vehicular congestion.

“In commercial areas, land coverage increases with decrease in road width, while it should be the opposite,” according to the MGP. Stakeholders have pointed out that if the FAR was further relaxed to add floor space, it would have a negative effect on the city centre, which is already quite congested.

The official version

Officials have tried to justify the increase in FAR: they say that as the land cost was higher, limitations on construction would not yield good returns. The MGP questioned this approach to underline the fact that the plan’s objective was to protect the city from “descending into degeneration”, not to protect the investors.

A solution to decongesting the CBD is to spread out the commercial areas instead of concentrating them in one place.

The grid

At present, the grid comprises K.R. Circle and the surrounding areas, Devaraj Urs Road, Dhanavantri Road, Irwin Road, Ashoka Road and Sayyaji Road. This grid constitutes the main commercial centre, which is clogged and overrun with buildings.

Stakeholders urge for freezing sanctions for new structures or floor space in this area, and push for commercial development on the outskirts and residential areas.

If this happens, it would reduce traffic congestion in the city centre and hence result in less footfall in and around the market area. However, the question is whether MUDA will incorporate such suggestions in the plan.

Decongestion of the CBD gains significance in view of Mysore’s growing vehicular density and the lack of space for road-widening and pedestrian walkways.

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