Monday, August 17, 2009

MERRY-GO-(A)ROUND

MERRY-GO-(A)ROUND
Traffic diversion at Brigade Road junction due to Metro Rail work has made the spot difficult to navigate for pedestrians as well as motorists
SHASWATHI BHANUKUMAR & MANASI PARESH KUMAR


Pedestrians, beware. You have to navigate the MG Road and Brigade Road junction at your own risk these days. After the traffic police turned the stretch between Cauvery junction and the signal near Manipal Centre to a one-way due to Metro work, it has turned into a ‘death walk’ for the people moving by foot.
To begin with, there is no room for pedestrians, as the footpaths have disappeared behind the metro barricades. One wrong step while you weave your way amidst the motorists can land you in hospital. But then, the riders too are not in a better position, as they have to struggle to navigate through the iron pillars that have sprung up.
The arrangement was made a fortnight ago, but still there are many kinks in the system that have to be straightened out. Bangalore Mirror did a test drive around this pride of a road and one question that kept popping into our minds was that if this was the scene d u r i n g r e g u l a r h o u r s , what was the chaos during the peak hours?
We started the drive from the LIC building at 11 am. It was a relatively smooth ride till the Cauvery Emporium though the original four-lane stretch has shrunk to two-and-a-half lanes due to the provision for parking as well as other paraphernalia that adorn it. From there on, the pandemonium begins. Though the barricade has cordoned off only the entrance to Rajendra Sinhji Institute, reaching Manipal Centre signal now takes 15 minutes, instead of the fiveminute drive that it used to take earlier, because of the three traffic signals in between.
Vehicles were found queued up till Mayo Hall from the Cauvery Emporium signal even at 11:50 am when the traffic pressure is expected to be less. We waited for over 10 minutes to cross the signal. After the green signal came on, the vehicles could hardly move a few feet before it turned red again.
The diversion at the Cauvery Emporium signal does not allow vehicles coming from the Mahatma Gandhi statue side to move straight
t o -
wards Mayo
Hall. They can enter MG Road only through the Dickenson Road side. It is a waste of time for the commuters who would want to go as far as Mayo Hall - it is better to park the car somewhere on Brigade Road and walk to your destination.
The traffic cops stand as mute witnesses while the motorists and pedestrians jostle to find space for themselves. Even when the vehicles bump into each other, they stand still watching all the fun.
Vehicles stop beyond the zebra line and it takes the pedestrians at least five minutes to cross the road even when the red light is on. They literally have to act as traffic cops to stop the vehicles and walk to the other side.

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