Trichy, situated in the centre of Tamil Nadu is the fourth largest urban agglomeration in the state and is fast growing. Like every other tier-II city in India, rapid urbanization creates enormous stress on the mobility systems and reduces quality of life in urban areas due to urban sprawl and congestion. These are complex systemic issues that are difficult to address with limited access to resources. Thus we need smart strategies and design approaches to deal with the problems the city faces to increase the quality of life for everyone and the vibrancy of city life without adding financial stress to the corporation
A critical area of intervention are urban roads and streets. They are the lifeblood of cities ensuring movement of people and goods within the city. For so long, we’ve designed streets as just conduits for vehicles and not as places with life. In our proposal, we focus on the movement of people and not vehicles, to streamline and improve the throughput of the arterial streets through a combination of public transport, cycles, pedestrians and private motor vehicles. The streamlining is further extended through the formulation of a superblock.
A super-block is an area of urban land bounded by arterial roads that is the size of multiple typically-sized city blocks. Within the superblock, the local road network is designed to serve local needs only. This proven model of organising mobility and public life leads not only to a modal shift to bicycles and walking, but also increased commercial activity within and along the superblock, creating economically thriving cities.
Trichy is in dire need of green and recreational spaces for the growing population. Integrating this within the existing dense city can be difficult. Through an integrated approach, green and healthy corridors are designed as part of streets, as they can double as recreational spaces in early mornings,late evenings and on the weekends.
Our framework for designing the streets involves three steps. First, is to ensure the basics of safe streets are addressed. This is done by providing uniform width for carriageways, compacting large intersections for safe crossings and designing on-street metered parking along the streets. Secondly, The recovered space is then used to develop healthy corridors of walking, cycling and green spaces. This ensures active transportation is promoted not just for commutes, but for leisure as well. Thirdly, pockets of space are identified along the streets and are used to introduce new activities based on the context, to promote vibrancy on the streets.
By prioritising movement of people, we focus on throughput of the streets. This enables us to recover wasted spaces on the street edges. The articulation of these spaces through increased programmatic thickening on the street is made economically sustainable through metered parking. We estimate that the cost of redesign of the streets could be recouped just from parking charges in these streets in a little under 10 years.