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365 Day Traffic-Free Cubbon Park - it’s our Central Lung Space & Natural Heritage #MyRightToBreathe

The last three months has seen Cubbon Park becoming pristine and flourishing thanks to the post pandemic, complete traffic ban . The dramatic reduction in emissions, pollutions and noise has clearly impacted flora, fauna and the city positively. Its a clear sign that it is good for the world, and most importantly, (like Lalbagh) it can be done !

A petition was set up two years ago and has gathered 750 signatures already . A letter with the petition has also been emailed to the Horticulture Minister, Secretary and BBMP Commissioner, along with inputs from many experts, civil society leaders and luminaries. Citizens feel very strongly about this valuable, beautiful central lung space.

Cubbon Park is a prominent piece of natural heritage in Bangalore, and its single largest public lung space in an increasingly polluted city. Its #Biodiversity, #Trees, #Birds, #Flora are dying . Cubbon Park as a public space is precious & special to its citizens in many many ways.

It is critical that we declare Cubbon park as No Traffic Zone which facilitates only pedestrians, cycling, electric golf carts & promotes events & community etc.  In order to protect this incredible green and beautiful piece of biodiversity , we have no choice but to curtail traffic here. There are increasing situations of noise pollution, tree damage , loss of bird habitat, rash driving and heritage space being damaged. Soon Cubbon Park will become a barren, full fledged thoroughfare, increasingly encroached by buildings & vehicles and dotted with only a few token trees.

Our other magnificent Public Park, Lalbagh is also closed to public thoroughfare . So, why isn’t  Cubbon Park ? Yes, many of us will have face inconvenience as we have to take a longer way for getting around, but surely saving our city natural heritage  for its future & our children would be worth it ? We understand the Government may find this uphill & try & drag their feet , given that the park is so close to heavy thoroughfare at Vidhana Soudha , MS Buildings and Govt offices. Even the move to declare Cubbon Park Traffic free on Saturdays & Govt Public Holidays ( in addition to existing Sunday’s) had not been fully implemented by Traffic Police despite the Chief Secretary’s agreement to this decision .

There are bound to be some problems in mobility - a slight build up of traffic around, mobility issues for elderly, children and differently abled, movement of goods.These must be preempted through better traffic flows, ramping up of Cubbon Park Traffic Station, supply of electrified & manual cycles as well as free EV buggies with in the park. Now THAT is. a Smart City Project! Let's look for solutions rather than being bogged down by problems.Cubbon Park MUST be treasured and protected - even from us.

However,  if the Govt does not put skin in the game and demonstrate how important tree cover, park heritage  , air quality & biodiversity  is to to them , we will have a city where we have #NoRightToBreathe


Views & comments from various experts and sources

Prof Ashish Verma, Transportation Expert

I strongly support this move to make Cubbon park a traffic free zone. Such move will be very much in line with Sustainable mobility agenda that we have been proposing and explaining to the government and all stakeholders for quite sometime and in recent times through the outcomes of CLIMATRANS project report.

Making traffic free zones in key areas of the city will serve two mutually complimentary purposes; on one side it will make use of public transport, walking and cycling more attractive, and on other side it will make the use of personal motorized modes less attractive.

The sum effect of this will be less traffic congested roads, clean air, more healthy citizens, and overall more liveable Bengaluru.

After Cubbon park such traffic free zones should be created in other key/congested areas of the city as well. Any operational aspects and need for alternate options can be easily dealt with while introducing such measures. I will be happy to provide any further technical advice on this matter.

-Prof. Ashish Verma

Transportation Systems Engineering, Department of Civil Engineering and CiSTUP, IISc Bangalore

Justice Santosh Hegde, Former Lokayukta

I fully support a traffic free Cubbon Park. ~ ~Santosh Hegde

Dr TV Ramachandra

Cubbon park has been aiding the city dwellers as oxygen bank. Emissions from the unregulated traffic is a serious concern and has been affecting children and elders. Traffic needs to be banned on priority and also  needs to strengthen security for the park users. Now is the time to introduce payment for ecosystem services and the revenue could be used for enhancing  native greens and for providing security to genuine users / stakeholders.

Dr TV Ramachandra, Professor IISC

Sudeept Maiti

It's really a question of what kind of a city that we are trying to build. Green urban spaces like Cubbon Park serve as vital spaces for the city and it's citizens, contributing to their mental well being and health. Ensuring these spaces are disconnected from the daily traffic grind and the associated negetivities of air and noise pollution will allow people of a wider spectrum of age and abilities to access a safer and culturally rich community space. Additionally, this should impact city vehicular traffic flows only to a limited extent, considering the wide network of roads around the park . The benefits of a vehicle less urban park widely outweighs all other considerations.

~ Sudeept Maiti - Senior Manager, Integrated Transport, WRI India.

Vinoba Isaac , Transportation Expert

The adjoining roads around Cubbon park are wide and Manageable. There is absolutely no reason for allowing traffic through. The city court parking in cubbon park is deplorable.

Luke Dhanaraj, Environmental consultant

Our environment needs to b protected - it needs to remain clean and unpolluted, all the time. In spite of all the polluting activity around, v need to protect it to ensure that it remains pristine.

For that we need large parks, dotting the city here and there - we however really have only two such parks, although pretty small by themselves.

The best way to protect them would b to stop vehicles burning fossil fuel, passing through them.

Bicycles and electric vehicles may b permitted inside. So as to ensure that the walkers are protected from traffic, electric vehicles may b parked in an appropriate parking place in the park, but no through traffic!

~Luke Dhanaraj, Environmental consultant

Neelam Manjunath, Architext & Ecologist

I firmly believe that traffic should be fully banned inside Cubbon Park . It will be extremely beneficial for the conservation of biodiversity in CP.

I had proposed it in my proposal for development of CP almost 15 years back . We won the tender . But the CS got transferred and the project got scrapped.

As an architect practising sustainable development for over 3 decades and following CP regularly, I fully support it and will cooperate in achieving it in whatever way possible.

Ar Neelam Manjunath

CEO, CGBMT-School of Simple Living

Sonal Kulkarni

City parks are the lungs of the city. Bengaluru has two such lung spaces - Cubbon Park and Lalbagh. Lalbagh, a botanical garden and park allow only pedestrians to ensure that the biodiversity is not affected due to the pollution from the car fumes. COVID crisis has provided us with an opportunity to rethink about our environment and our lifestyles. Closing down of Bengaluru's 'central park' - the Cubbon Park, especially since it provides alternate routes for vehicular movement around the park to reach destinations is one such opportunity that cannot be lost. We have seen that this is possible. When one chooses to opt a motorized vehicle, it provides them options of taking the alternate, longer routes the public transport takes at the moment. The park should be allowed for non-polluting modes of transport such as walkers and cyclists only to ensure they have a safe space and a short, shady path to reach their destination. As an urban transport planner and a true blue Bangalorean, I strongly support this move to make Cubbon park a traffic-free zone.

Sonal Kulkarni, Urban Transport Planner & Director - Urbanmorph, BYCS India

Alyia Phelps-Krumbiegel

votes for traffic free Cubbon Park

Whilst it is unreasonable to expect a park to solve every problem that living in the 21st century produces, Cubbon Park can and could do a lot more. The Authority could carve out a very distinctive contribution and set the agenda. There could be a source of innovation and boldness, facilitating community projects where users actually produce and deliver solutions to the traffic problems.

Cubbon Park has settled for a rather dull bureaucratic mode, content to administer a planning system that doesn't work very well and produce strategy documents that don't impact positively on the lives of local people or the visitors to Cubbon Park

Cubbon park is drowning in traffic and congested, the beauty of the park is heavily disguised by the intrusive volume of noise and pollution that makes the lives of pedestrians and cyclists unpleasant .

All parks should be traffic free maybe an electric mobility bus for the less able could be used Kew Gardens has two which operates at peak times.

While realising Cubbon Park is very different to Kew Gardens we have all

seen the visible positive impact that lockdown across the world has had on nature, our parks and lungs spaces.

This year, World Environment Day on 5 June focuses on “Time for nature” by celebrating biodiversity and calling for its preservation. Natural and diverse environments have profound impacts on health and mental well-being. They are the original source of the clean air, water and food that support healthy human societies. Nature is both the origin of infectious and vector-borne diseases and the source of medicines, including many antibiotics.

But human activity – deforestation, intensive and polluting agriculture, and unsafe management and consumption of wildlife and natural resources – is undermining these ecosystem services.

While the COVID-19 pandemic is tragically affecting people’s health, lives and livelihoods, it has also had a noticeable positive impact on our environment in just few months. In many places, reduced economic and transport activities brought about by measures to reduce the spreading of the pandemic have resulted in the short term in cleaner air, reduced carbon emissions and less noise.

My vote would be for a traffic free Cubbon Park

Suresh Jayaram

We not only need a traffic free Cubbon park, we need proactive private/ public partnerships.We need a collective vision to preserve the park as a creative Commons for the city. Nature/culture/community.

Suresh Jayaram, Artist & Curator


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