As I suffer the CG Road daily by living off it, I must admit that it has made me a calmer and wiser person. As I go past broken roads, illegal parking and general mess created by lawlessness of India, I have no option but to intellectualise my frustration and observe the chaos around me as an interesting interplay of systems.
As CG Road is now getting revamped, I am forced to imagine that there is some invisible method in the apparent madness of reducing the parking drastically and creating facilities for goons and encroachers, and as an eternal optimist, the ray of hope that I have now discovered is a possibility of the urban planner subtly using parking as a use-modifier for a zone.
As someone living in the inner lane opening onto CG Road, I am already getting to see the future outcome of the reduced parking as all the lanes are now choked with CG Road users parking their cars and two wheelers.
The current parking problem of CG Road is not caused by urban design failure as it can be clearly attributed to greedy builders aided by corrupt officials and supported by criminal politicians. CG Road was designed as a residential zone where builders colluded with authorities and illegal parking-less commercials were allowed to be constructed and sold in the name of nursing homes to start with. Over the years, the false pretence of nursing home remained buried in papers while builders shamelessly usurped the whole road and its tree shaded bungalows to create the horror that we see today.
So, if the original prescribed urban plan zoning was not violated by builders, and allowance for nursing home therein was not exploited, CG Road could have remained a wonderful tree-lined road with bungalows on both sides where commercial shopping stands today.
The most lawless act of this entire process that should have been nipped in the bud by erstwhile Municipal Corporation was the unauthorised conversion of what was approved as ground floor parking into shops, a move that made crores for builders.
Even after this naked lawlessness was exhibited by builders, amends could still have been made by honourable High Court by coming down heavily on the illegal construction, but as, under the pretext of public pressure, state obliged the builders with impact fee loophole to fool public yet again, and the matter is now too muddled to be solved by an action of the state, but for a new opportunity that the yet-again parking-problem-agnostic development of CG Road has produced laterally.
If I try and extrapolate future scenario, we now have proactive traffic police, harsh motor vehicle act, astronomical increase in number of cars and the city offering new shopping areas, it is likely that the new design could be a smart move to achieve a lateral solution, and that too with some poetic justice!
It is clear that CG Road is already facing competition from the SG Highway and many other emerging prime shopping areas, so the new design could be the final straw that will break the camel’s back as it will turn CG Road into a parking nightmare for an Indian shopper who loves window-shopping more than actually buying and hence needs a lot of time to explore.
This hopefully will reduce viability for shops of CG Road and it will also prevent them to hold sales, a critical business strategy for the modern shopping houses that are under pressure from online shopping.
As the shops on CG Road will cease to be viable, the road will be relieved of the pressure it feels today.
Though it is possible that I am hoping against hope, so I am worried.
As history tells us that we have always found a new way of breaking the law instead of changing.
This means that the large footpaths await Teen Darwaja kind of encroachment to emerge and make life more difficult for me and you too, as I will have to get even more philosophical in my prose to bear it!