Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Please review the present traffic mess

Please review the present traffic mess

Prahlad Roa

March 14 was a chaotic Sunday — the weekend the Bangalore traffic police decided to spoil the mood of the public in Central Business District.
The police had issued a press note about the changes but the government paper did not mention the shoddy level of ground planning they intended to execute. It only stated that traffic was closed on MG Road from Webbs Junction to Trinity Junction. The rest of the information was, as usual, lost in the fine print.
With one sweeping change, police sent motorists to hell, all the way up to Ulsoor Lake in the north and Austin Town in the south.
A motorist is used to a certain order and rhythm even on Bangalore's clogged roads. For years, they have been used to taking one way to Dickenson Road from Thiruvallavur Statue Circle (officially named Neelakantan Circle) to Dhobhi Ghat. This was the only way for the public coming from the north-east and the north to go to MG Road and Commercial Street. It was also the only way out as St John's Road has since been closed to south-bound traffic from Shree Circle.
On Monday 15, there was a traffic jam lasting for almost an hour, its tail end at Civil Defence office near Tamil Sangam. A heavy contingent of policemen directed traffic from the north towards St. John's Road while allowing traffic from the south towards Thiruvallvur Statue Circle. The traffic, which comprises heavy vehicles going towards Old Madras Road, was diverted as some smart alec had closed the right turn at Adigas Restaurant. (This has since been partially opened to traffic). The biggest folly committed by the police was in converting Brunton Road into a two-way thoroughfare. A road that is not even 30 ft wide, where even one-way traffic used to move in slow motion.
The traffic police notice clearly tells a motorist going to Old Airport Road to take a right turn on Brunton Road. This is where heavy traffic meets head-on with the vehicles coming from Old Airport Road and Richmond Road.
Most of these changes are thoughtless and at best sadistic. The last one week has been a bewildering puzzle for all those who visit CBD. Traffic snarls have been the order of the day at Dickenson Road, Dispensary Road Junction and on Brunton Road —changes that were unnecessary at these two important crossroads. The traffic police seem to have forgotten the basic rule that discharge of traffic is as important as its movement. Discharge involves providing various options of traffic dispersal from the main arterial road which is for movement.
Old Airport Road traffic should have a discharge option at Primrose Lane and Ulsoor Road-Kensignton Road (opposite Taj Residency). Brunton Road can only handle one-way traffic.
As traffic going towards Old Madras Road is very heavy, it should be taken off CBD as quickly as possible. Ulsoor Road is the main option till the Metro vacates Trinity Circle while the Dickenson Road and Dhobhi Ghat sections remain crucial for east-bound traffic.
The police should do a review of the current mess and come up with innovative management of traffic volumes which cannot be wished away.

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