Andhra Pradesh

Proposed road network in draft plan flawed, say urban planners

Tourists enjoying a ride on the circular train atop Kailasagiri in Visakhapatnam.   | Photo Credit: K.R. Deepak

The new draft Master Plan designed by the Visakhapatnam Metropolitan Region Development Authority (VMRDA) and hosted in the public domain for suggestions and objections, have been drawing mixed reactions from various senior architects, urban planners, public and Opposition parties.

Apart from the main criticism that the plan was uploaded in the public domain in the online platform, which is cumbersome to download, and the time given for response during the COVID pandemic was very short, urban planners say that new road network proposed is flawed and needs a serious relook.

A senior urban planner said that the road network appears to be superimposed on Google map without conducting a detailed field survey.

Substantiating his claim, he pointed out that the road network was not aligned with the earlier master plan roads. “There are a few roads that cut across the existing master plan roads or overlap them or just run parallel to them. This indicates, that it lack adequate field survey,” he said.

Another senior architect pointed out that a couple of roads run across water bodies and one such is found in Boyapalem area. He said that as per the new Master Plan, a road cuts across the campus of a prominent national institute, that is coming up on the city outskirts.

“We do not understand whether these are mistakes or such things are planned. There are also roads, which have been widened beyond understanding, as the area through which the roads run, neither justify the population nor vehicle density,” they said. Former BJP MLA P. Vishnu Kumar Raju pointed out that zoning also has some issues, as hills have been designated as plain lands and plain lands have been shown as hillocks. The entire Rushikonda Hill is missing in the new plan, he said. The urban planners are also of the opinion that keeping in mind the density of already prevalent industries, including hazardous ones within the city limits, the plan should have focussed more on investment outside this ‘bowl’ area. But instead, projects have been indicated in this area, which would only add up to the already existing issues such as traffic congestion, pollution and further enhancing demographic density.

Mixed use

Both the major road network and proposed metro rail network should have been proposed to run on the city periphery, alongside the rail network, said Y. Narasimha Rao, a senior architect.

On the brighter side, the urban planners and architects say that the idea of mixed use of land, was a welcome move and it should benefit the city and its residents. Referring to the issues, a senior officer from the planning and design department in the VMRDA said, “It is only a draft plan and there may be some discrepancies. That is why, we have asked for suggestions and objections from people and stakeholders. We have also extended the date till July 31, for people to raise their objections and accordingly we shall look into them.”

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Printable version | Sep 26, 2021 1:07:16 PM |

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