Railway Stations&Nbrhd Development

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Railway Stations&Nbrhd Development

  1. 1. RAILWAY STATIONS RAILWAY STATIONS & NEIGHBORHOOD DEVELOPMENT 79-A, B-1 Off M.M. Alam Road, Gulberg III, Lahore Phone: 0092-42-587 5754, 587 5755 Fax: 587 5756 Email: pepac@ wol.net.pk
  2. 2. TABLE OF CONTENTS Overview SECTION-I 1. Areas of Development 1.1) Housing I.2) Transportation System 1.3) Quality of Life 2. Basic Planning Principles for Railway Stations 2.1) Two Levels of Need 2.2) Resources 2.3) Conservation of Resources 2.4) Re-Useable Structures 2.5) Minimizing Variables 2.6) Physical Segregation 2.7) Social segregation 2.8) Travel 2.9) Landuse 2.10) Housing 2.11) Shopping 2.12) Linkages 3. The Role and Structure
  3. 3. OVERVIEW Pakistan has been undergoing a speculative development and restructuring boom alongside a dismantling of strategic planning and an increased market pressure on providing facilities to the end users. In this context Pakistan Railway Authorities have been under increased pressure from the government to make profits and to finance desperately-needed investment from revenue or asset sales. The opportunity now arises for an alternative plan (or plans) to be devised, based on community initiatives, and priorities be generated democratically. This note is intended to help the debate on what the brief for such an alternative should be. As we all are very well aware of the fact that now the world has shrunk to a room size by the introduction of electronic media, fiber optics and mass communication. All these inventions have been playing a vital role in development for the last one decade. The irony of situation is that we are lagging behind in this field, as compared to other developing countries. We have examples, and above all we could set unprecedented examples, for that matter to curtail the problems that arise due to our conventional tools and methods. FIRST step to achieve this goal is to give a commercial out look to the entire department. Re-organization of the department on commercial grounds is the key to success of the department. The SECOND big footstep would be to give a physical appearance to ensure the end users, security, comfort and economy. This could be achieved by implementing innovative ideas in Development and Designing of individual Stations. The Projects, for the Development of Railway Stations at Gujranwala and Sialkot are of complex nature. Both involve intricate traffic circulation requirement for the proposed railway terminals as well as for the proposed development schemes in its neighborhood. The entire inter-city traffic will experience a major shift, which would have a very positive impact on the existing land use pattern as well as on the traffic circulation.
  4. 4. A concurrency exists in the location of two respective sites, at Gujranwala and Sialkot Railway Stations. • Most important of all the facts is that the two Stations lie in two major industrial center of Pakistan i.e. Gujranwala & Sialkot. • Both the sites are ideal as they are located in the center of respective cities. • The potential of the two sites has been maximized, by utilizing maximum space according to urban development standards. The Section-I of this report gives a general outline of areas of development that will lay a foundation for the development schemes in a broader urban context. Whereas, in Section-II of this report, we have selected Sialkot Railway Station Site for a detailed Study. However Master plans for both the Stations have been designed and incorporated in this report.
  5. 5. Section-I
  6. 6. 1 AREAS OF DEVELOPMENT Main line stations should be well-connected points on the network as they have been designated for decades as the optimum points for generating developments and revenue. Ironically, however, these projects are taking place too late - at a time when there is a slump in market prices. The development of railway stations is thus proposed to contribute to a sustainable development not only in short term but long term as well. Moreover, it would help to generate revenues not only for the maintenance of individual stations but also for the future development of state of the art, central means of communication. The Railway Stations under study have levels of concurrency in terms of issues related to their immediate environment at macro and micro levels, and then on broader perspective of being located in industrial cities is yet another important common factor. Another similarity that lies between these cities is that the two cities have emerged as industrial cities without apparent endeavors of the Government of Pakistan. Both the cities house industries which is interdependent. The city of Sialkot is famous around the globe for leather and leather products and stainless steel fabrication of all sorts. The city of Gujranwala developed its light industry in electrical appliances and steel mill products. A huge amount of revenue in terms of taxes and export duties is collected from these cities. Very recently these cities have been recognized as major centers of exports across the country as well as outside the country and importance is being given to these cities for the development of industry. The industries that mushroomed after this recognition shows a very well organized setup as compared to the one that used to be a decade ago.
  7. 7. During the entire course, very less attention was given to the means of communication. The only effective and efficient way recently introduced by the Government of Pakistan was the Dry Port near Sialkot. Here the role Pakistan Railways was entirely neglected, either due to political reasons or otherwise, perhaps, as slow means of communication. Now the Railway Authorities are under pressure to organize themselves as an alternative means of communication not only for these cities but also for the entire country. This is definitely a very practical proposition which will help railway authorities substantially to generate revenue. Even now the conditions are not that worse as they would be after ten or fifteen years. The areas which have not been touched by other departments still waiting for entrepreneurs like Pakistan Railways to give them a Midas Touch. Fortunately the Railway Department owns a huge property all over Pakistan. They have properties in and around railway stations and housing colonies as very useful assets. These properties could be very helpful in the Development of Railway Department as well as for other developments, on modern concepts. Following are few concepts in the backdrop of Pakistan Railway authorities as investor and developer, the terms and conditions of which could vary according to the interests of railway authorities. Indeed these suggestions need a very detailed survey of existing trends and directions of market economy of these stations. 1.1 Housing Most of Pakistan Railways property has now been subject to prospective large-scale developments, using vacant (or vacatable) land and air rights. These projects have provided some of the largest development sites, among them; PHA (Pakistan Housing Authority) scheme stands to be the largest. 1.2 Transportation System Pakistan finds itself now in an impasse to extend its means of communication. It has for decades lacked the steady maintenance and upgrading of its public transport
  8. 8. system which most developed countries have had or underway in case of developing countries. Pakistan’s railway network is very nominally expanded since the 40’s and successive plans for major railway tracks and railway department have been defeated by political resistances - the latest in 90’s. Progress made with traffic-calming measures, environmental management of traffic, services have all been extremely weak by international standards. It is now clear that, in the next years, Pakistan will have to live with the transport system it has and adapt its activities to what the system and the environment can stand. 1.3 Quality of Life & Recreational facilities Quality of life in Pakistan causes great concern. The shooting cost of living is, for many, not matched by salary differentials. Time spent in traveling, usually in bad conditions, is excessive in the eyes of many of us. Open space and recreational land, educational and health facilities are under pressure from the liberalized land market (and from the containment policies operating in the region). Pollution by noise and fumes feels bad, there are great hazards for children and many of us feel stressed. Increased social polarization (between rich and poor) is yet another factor in providing and improvising quality services at levels.
  9. 9. 2 BASIC PLANNING PRINCIPLES FOR RAILWAY STATIONS Controversies over planning, transport and related issues are fought out - in the media, in town halls and on the streets - as much in terms of images attaching to proposals as in terms of cool scientific analysis of impacts and consequences. Any alternative to the Pakistan Railways plan would need to be based on some clear, appealing, ideas and images which a wide national, public, the media and politicians can grasp and warm to. 2.1 Two levels of Need Whose interests ought to serve? There is a danger that a "city based" plan will only meet the defensive interests of only those who happen to be the established local authorities and workers today - or at least seem to do only that. Considering it a site of such importance that it should be used in ways that serve needs which are * City-wide, and at * National Level It is not even clear that they conflict. We lack any political system to reconcile these levels of priority, but we should try to (re) think in these terms. 2.2 Resources A very wide definition of priorities might flow from talking to the program's workers of central administration to the inadequacy of funds and revenues generated and allocated for that purpose to individual railway stations. These resources for upgradation programs need to be organized for a quick action plan.
  10. 10. 2.3 Conservation of Resources Many of the kinds of resistance that have been expressed (lately in our report on railway stations in 1993-94) to the Pakistan Railways Authority (and to comparable schemes elsewhere in the world) stem from people's concern to conserve. There is, of course, great scope for contradiction and confusion within and between conservation groups but the case for conservation of resources with the natural environment is now unanswerable and attention to these priorities should be a central feature of any plan. 2.4 Re-usable structures The structures on the site are re-usable to varying degrees and at varying costs. Some could not 'economically' be retained while others could be. But the notion of 'economic' is an elusive one. Enormous creativity and handling will be required here to identify, redesign and relocate the priorities: Essentials verses Comfort, and Facilities verses Luxury 2.5 Minimizing Variables There will be many variables to be minimized in the process of design. The following is a brief description of some of which might be considered. 2.5.1 Physical segregation As an example, Gujranwala Station was originally bounded by gates to exclude 'undesirables' and tradesmen but due to the construction of free way now the main entrance to the station has almost lost its physical appearance and segregation from the surrounding landuse. It is segregated crudely from the commercial area around. Much of the development is criticized for the physical barriers placed between the station and commercial activity around 2.5.2 Social segregation The violence done by (e.g.) the free way project at Gujranwala Railway Station does not flow just from physical incoherence between old and new. It is rooted as much in
  11. 11. the social chasm between new and up-coming planning and residents and the pre- existing ones. This is a complex and difficult problem for a Railway Station, since any upgrading of a run-down area is likely to create conditions for the displacement of established business 2.6 Travel It may seem odd, in such an accessible location, to seek to minimize travel, however it can be re-routed and planned, to overcome traffic problems within the city. Other suggestions regarding the traffic controls are: * Providing decentralized services which users would otherwise have to travel to a single point. * Increasing parking provisions and making public transport as attractive as possible. The term ‘Public Transport’ here refers to only long vehicles on main arteries to reduce congestion and traffic hazards. All this would clearly be much easier to achieve in the context of some strategic plan in which such aims were being pursued across the city. Such a plan would almost certainly aim at a more polycentric city. 2.7 Land-use There is a widespread consensus that mixed-use areas are a 'good thing' though the logic of the property development process often seems to prevent their realization. Here is another design and management challenge. Workers in the daytime and residents in the evenings and weekends, shops, buses, commercial areas, clinics etc. keep the streets peopled and can share the same (few) car parks and other activities but the keyword remains ‘organization’ of such services.
  12. 12. 2.8 Housing The housing priorities for the site have not, in our view, yet been very well debated. The claims and contributions of many potential classes of residents have not been considered yet. Any plan should maximize housing in order to contribute to the better balance of residential and commercial use of available space. There is also a compelling pressure of need - from almost every section of the less-than-rich population. There are also severe problems confronting groups like poors, bachelors from small towns, working in these comparatively big cities industrial towns, whose resources are tight, who need to be near to their work places (and who can live at high densities and tend to use public transport). Clearly one could maximize housing by using the site for nothing else. There are two simple factors which should limit this tendency. First is the need for mixed uses, outlined above. Second is the problem of financial feasibility. 2.9 Shopping Should we, despite the conventional wisdom and the policies of the authorities, consider the possibility of providing a high standard of durable goods shopping? It would aim to attract the kinds of traders who would only operate fully with ample parking space in the vicinity. At a day-to-day level, too there are problems. Routine shopping has also concentrated in fewer centers, leaving many people with long and cumbersome journeys to get foodstuffs. 2.10 Linkages The development site with its surroundings, both physically in terms of footpaths, roads and views, and functionally through service provisions.
  13. 13. 3 THE ROLE AND STRUCTURE Clearly it is hard to plan the stations in the absence of any plans for the city. We should probably proceed on the assumption that sanity will prevail and that - within the development period - measures will be introduced on the following lines: (a) There will be some decentralization of employment within the city so we will have a more polycentric city. In any such strategy transport routes that link peripheral areas (and not with the center) will be improved. (b) Where transport investment takes place, it will be concentrated on public transport improvements and environmental management of traffic. (c) Any future development on Pakistan Railway property, either leased or sold, must be planned according to a set of guidelines or by-laws be formulated to curtail unwanted developments.
  14. 14. Section-II

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