Friday, January 08, 2010

Going in circles: City on the wrong traffic lane

oing in circles: City on the wrong traffic lane
AMIT S. UPADHYE and AMBARISH B.
DC | BENGALURU


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Can the city do without the many circles, which it seems to have a particular fondness for, on it roads?
The traffic police believes it can, pointing out that they are no longer in vogue in most cities worldwide.
"Except for their aesthetic value, the traffic islands are not serving any purpose in Bengaluru. Even where the roads have been widened traffic gets choked around many of them," said a traffic police officer.

With more signal-free corridors planned for the city, traffic experts too are questioning the need for such islands, which in their view only succeed in creating traffic jams on all sides.

The experts point out that during the peak hour, traffic either moves at snail's pace or leads to congestion at KR Circle and at the Windsor Manor Square on Sankey Road. The KR Circle has recorded up to 20,000 Passenger Car Units per hour during peak hour traffic on Mondays.

The circle at Lalbagh West Gate too sees a similar pileup of traffic, particularly after the recent changes were brought in on the Richmond Road flyover, the experts add.

Traffic advisor to the government, Prof. M.N. Srihari feels BBMP should have considered widening of circles while widening the roads in areas with high traffic density. He blames the absence of signboards and the traffic flow from different directions for much of the congestion around the circles. "It often becomes impossible for pedestrians to cross the road at such times," he says. BBMP, however, claims the traffic police was consulted before changes were brought in at the KR Circle and other places on Sankey Road for better management of vehicular movement.

Urban planner H.S. Sudhira thinks a transport demand management (TDM) policy is the need of the hour to control the number of private vehicles on the roads and force people to switch to public transport."Reducing the number of vehicles on the roads is the only solution left. The government must encourage the public transport system and nonmotorable transport so that the present infrastructure can be used better," he says.

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