Saturday, November 21, 2009

At some of the junctions along Sarjapur Road, a traffic jam can last for almost two hours

At some of the junctions along Sarjapur Road, a traffic jam can last for almost two hours. Motorists taking the law into their own hands is not uncommon

Wh i l e
u p - m a r k e t brand outlets and super-rich gated communities jostle for space here, Sarjapur Road is also infamous for something else — its traffic jams. This road is dotted with huge apartment complexes at every nook and corner, populated mostly by techies who work in the Koramangala-Whitefield-Electronics City belt. As they use this route for their daily commute to their workplace and back, most of the traffic chaos happens during the morning and evening peak hours.
Usually, at a junction, we see a maximum of two traffic cops manning a particular signal. Take a drive down Sarjapur Road and you may find around four to five traffic cops at a single junction. Then again, it is a wonder that in spite of so many traffic cops manning a junction, traffic on the road moves at a snail’s pace often leaving the commuters helpless and frustrated.
ADDING TO THE CHAOS
Recently, the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) has also taken up two flyover projects - at Agara and Iblur, both at close proximity to each other - on the same stretch to facilitate a smooth ride to the Bangalore International Airport. While the service roads at these junctions have been tarred to ensure fewer road blocks, the construction activity has added to the peak hour chaos.
On the seven kilometre stretch from St John’s Hospital to the Iblur junction, there are only five junctions as such but each junction creates a mini traffic jam by itself. The hold-up can take anything between half an hour to even two hours on some of the worst days. Blame it on the large number of heavy vehicles commuting on this road or some irresponsible traffic cops who are either busy reading the newspaper or busy collecting fines instead of easing the traffic.
NEGOTIATING TRAFFIC
Bangalore Mirror conducted a test drive from St John’s Hospital to the Wipro Corporate office on Sarjapur Road which is a eight kilometre stretch. The first junction was the Koramangala Intermediate Ring Road junction. The traffic here is only a few metres long, because of the recent enforcement of the two-way system on Hosur Road. The traffic at this junction is now manageable.
The next junction is Madiwala (John Fowler stop). Krupanidhi College and the St Francis Institutions are both situated at this junction. Even at 8:15 am, the traffic was at its peak. School children were finding it hard to cross the road to get to the other side. The traffic policeman was present but only for namesake as he was busy reading the newspaper. It takes anywhere between 10 to 15 minutes to cross this junction.
Jakkasandra was the next junction. Here, there was one traffic policeman on duty and the traffic was coming from all four sides. Minor accidents are quite common at this junction. In fact, one such accident took place while we were waiting at the junction — a motorcycle was hit by an autorickshaw and the bike rider escaped with minor injuries on his foot and arms.
BAD BOTTLENECK
From Jakkasandra junction, the traffic slows down even further while we approach Agara junction where flyover work is in progress. Apart from the two traffic cops present at the junction, there are two additional security personnel appointed by few software companies operating in the area, to ease the traffic. This junction is a mess with vehicles zooming in from all directions. Traffic cops here confess that they have been attacked by angry commuters sometimes. At times, traffic hold-up at this junction builds up from Jakkasandra onwards.
From there, the traffic moves at a snail’s pace towards Iblur junction. Here too, there are traffic cops and private security men manning the junction. The vehicles do not even wait for the cops to give them the signal to go ahead and it further creates problems with bumper to bumper traffic. Moreover, in the absence of the cops, commuters ignore all rules despite this junction having a traffic signal. For the pedestrians, it creates a maze which is hard to get through without enough practice. This junction is also notorious for accidents mainly because of the heavy vehicles plying on this road.
The last junction before we reach the Wipro Corporate office is the Kaikondrahalli junction which is a small junction with a huge problem. It connects Sarjapur Road to Hosur Road and at peak hours vehicles coming from the Hosur Road side create a jam on the main road. The problem is made worse because of a bus stop exactly at the junction. The
drivers stop their buses right in the middle of the road thereby blocking traffic. It takes an hour at times to get past this junction. The traffic cop is absent in this spot almost all the time.

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