The draft Bengaluru Transit-Oriented Development Policy is expected to come into force with immediate effect from the date of its official acceptance by the government of Karnataka. Namma Metro’s draft policy on transit-oriented development is earning both criticisms and appraisal. From allowing construction of taller buildings to imposing cess on vacant land, the yet-to be-approved policy proposes a higher density of development along the transit corridors of the city.
The transport utility plans to offer higher FSI (more than the permissible construction) on plots located on either side of mass transit corridors (up to 1,000 metres). This policy is logically believed as it will heighten convenience; reduce trip lengths and private vehicle use and result in higher assistance of sustainable modes which is walking, cycling and public transport. FSI is calculated based on the size of the plot and the road width. The higher FSI has been projected on plots with a minimum size of 1,000 square metres and minimum road width of 18 metres. It would differ from different plot sizes and road widths, and a minimum of 20% higher than existing FSI shall be considered.
The policy also encourages consolidation and reconstitution of plots for higher FSI. While favouring relaxation of setbacks and coverage wherever appropriate, the policy has exempted historical, cultural and environmentally sensitive areas from densification.
Ms Radha Chanchani, a researcher at WRI India, said the draft policy on TOD has got several good points, including its emphasis on non-motorised transport such as walking and cycling infrastructure. She, however, said blanket floor area ration (FAR) provisions around stations should not be done without first assessing existing consumed FAR, population density, development potential and infrastructure carrying capacity.
The FAR and densities should be assessed as part of individual station area plans. The provision for increasing FAR by minimum 20% on all plot sizes and road widths up to 12m without assessment can be especially problematic.