Thursday, November 19, 2009

It’s one long traffic jam here...

It’s one long traffic jam here...
A drive down Dairy Circle to Arakere Junction reveals why Bannerghatta Main Road gives Bangalore such a bad name

Sometimes, a graphic representation of a situation is more powerful than even experiencing it first hand. Did you know that every pothole creates a mini-traffic jam of six vehicles? Well, that’s how the effect of potholes on traffic is quantified. This yardstick provides some perspective to the nightmarish situation on Bannerghatta Main Road: With 17 potholes dotting it, the road is one continuous - or almost - traffic jam. At any given point, 102 vehicles would have been crawling at less than 10 kmph at these 17 different points. Ironically, this is one of the roads that showcases some landmarks of the city like the prestigious Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore, top-notch software companies and scores of residential complexes.
Talk to anyone who resides off Bannerghatta Road about the traffic there, they would just not stop cribbing. For the problems are myriad: From avoiding potholes that slow down traffic movement and craters that are veritable death-traps to lack of pedestrian crossings and violation of lane discipline, everything is here! The residents flanking the road begin and end their day by cursing authorities for failing to streamline traffic, especially in peak hours.
Bangalore Mirror did a test drive on the nearly six-kilometre stretch from Dairy Circle to Meenakshi Temple to ascertain why the road has become infamous for snarls. The reason was apparent: Official apathy! There are seven major traffic signals on the road that make it difficult for the traffic to move smoothly. What compounds the problem is that there are a total of 35 smaller roads that join the main road. With vehicles from these roads getting on and off the main road at frequent intervals, it’s chaos here.
Starting from Dairy Circle, the first bottleneck is near software park that houses companies like Oracle, IBM and Accenture. Vehicular movement is quite heavy here as employees of all these big companies work in shifts that start or end around the same time. A little further, the right turn towards Tilaknagar (Swagath complex) also contributes to a traffic pile-up.
The third bottleneck starts after the Shoppers Stop building a little after the underpass near the Jayadeva Institute of Cardiology where one road leads to JP Nagar 3rd Phase and anotherto Bannerghatta. This signal is choc-a-block with traffic during peak hours in the evening, between 5 pm and 7:30 pm. It is difficult to go past this junction at that time. One of the reasons for this is that the traffic from Hulimavu junction joins this JP Nagar signal to proceed further towards the MG Road side or to go towards JP Nagar. MORE CHAOS
The next major hurdle is the Bilekahalli junction which is flanked by several huge apartment complexes. Each of these apartments have an average of 400 flats. Just imagine what kind of a mess it is if vehicles from all these apartments come onto the road at the same time. Frightening, isn’t it? “But that is what we go through everyday,” said Shailesh Kumar, a techie who travels to Koramangala everyday.
The next junction is the Arakere junction. At this junction, it is a mixed bag of huge apartments, a multi-national company and a retail outlet. Mantri Paradise, HSBC and Reliance Mart are all close to each other and this is the only junction through which the residents of Arakere are connected to the main road. The traffic is always the maximum at this junction and takes anywhere between 30 to 45 minutes to get past the signal.
Next comes the Hulimavu Junction. Here too there are small and big apartments and again this is the only way through which the residents of Hulimavu and areas beyond that can get to the main road. This junction too like the other junctions is chaotic during peak hours.
Bangalore has become one of the worst managed cities in terms of traffic, corrupt cops, unethical drivers and irresponsible people. I travel through Bannerghatta Road daily as my company is located on Dairy Circle and I stay in Bilekahalli. There is no other way to reach Dairy Circle without hitting Bannerghatta Road. Private bus drivers always stop in front of BMTC buses on BMTC bus stops and won’t move till they get passengers.These lead to a heavy traffic jam on the road. BMTC bus stops are always after the signal. I have some solutions to improve the city traffic.
Private buses should not be allow in city limits during office timings.
Speed breakers and U-turns should not be placed after the signal.
Free left should be allowed in entire city.
Traffic police should perform their duties in a transparent manner, and not punish the innocent.
Traffic-related complaints should be heard by some help desk or through a different department.
Traffic police should involve IT companies to teach traffic rules to their employees.
The traffic police should seek training from police in other places like Delhi and Ahmedabad for solving traffic jam issues.


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