Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Road plan a waste like flyover

Road plan a waste like flyover

Mission Road residents have own ideas to decongest the stretch

Shilpa CB



Traders on Mission Road are just coming out of tough times. The construction of the massive Richmond Circle flyover had nearly wiped out the business potential this stretch had. Now, the structure stands as a grim reminder of ad hoc planning in the city.
Ask the residents about traffic congestion on the road. They will go on talking about how the flyover destroyed any semblance of order and failed to streamline traffic.
"Most vehicles that enter Mission Road don't use this flyover. It was a wasteful exercise to build this. And our business was badly hit," says Gayatri V, who works in a laundry here.
During her 10-year career, she has only seen the traffic situation move from bad to worse. "The number of vehicles put on road keeps rising with the population. Who can control them," she asks.
Pushpa C, who runs a milk booth along the road for the last 25 years, is shocked that civic authorities are out to disturb normal life. "We were informed only recently that the road would be widened. We don't want to lose our property. This is our only means of livelihood. It will be hard to start over," she says.
"The flyover can take traffic from Mission Road to Double Road. But that is not happening," she adds.
"Even if the road is widened, the authorities will not demolish this structure. Will they," asks Shobhanath Kashinath, a shop owner.
The many markings on the walls around have confused and angered Lakshman K, who has a small shop on the road. "I can give it to you in writing that widening the road will not make an ounce of difference to traffic woes. If they prove that this exercise will actually decongest Bangalore's roads, we will agree to the proposal without questioning them," says he. Lakshman's shop has already been reduced by 14 ft. Now, he may lose another 5 ft.
"During peak hours, there is bumper-to-bumper traffic. What wonders can the authorities do by adding 5 ft to the existing road width," he asks. This commoner has a few ideas that BBMP can make note of.
"They can reverse the direction of traffic on JC Road and Lalbagh Road. That's it. It's as simple as that," he says.
The 'useless flyover' can do its bit too if it is allowed to, he says. "Instead of allowing traffic to go to Residency Road from Mission Road, it can lead vehicles towards Double Road. That's where most people go. Of every 100 vehicles that enter the road, probably five take the flyover," he says.
P Vel Murugan, who's been working on this road for the last 28 years, says most vehicles that use Misson Road are going towards Shantinagar, Wilson Garden, Honnarpet, Neelsandra, Electronic City, Shivajinagar, Madiwala and areas around. Then, it would serve well to connect Mission Road and Double Road. But going by past record, it will take years for the BBMP to get into action, he says. "It took at least 18 years for shops to be demolished after we first heard they would go. Similarly, even now, we have been hearing that our buildings would be levelled to widen the road. We are sure that will take years," he adds.
"This flyover has created all problems. The very fact that the signal leads to vehicles lining up on all roads around proves that the flyover is redundant. It was a dead investment," says Govindaraju B, a resident.
Vipin Jain, who runs a car accessories shop, has given the flyover some thought. Drawing a map, he points out that traffic movement on the structure needs a thorough review. Adding an arm or two to it would change things around dramatically, he says.
Jain also has ideas to decongest city roads. "Why can't we have share autos that ply from point to point? Once people know about this facility, they can just go to that point and choose the auto that goes to their destination or at least near it. Rajasthan has 'tuk tusk', other states have mini share taxis, Mumbai too has them. Why can't we do it here," he asks.
One ways and subways are other options that can be explored. But before the BBMP embarks on its project, it has to ensure that the drainage system is in place. Given its track record of starting projects and not completing them, one can't be sure anything will be done systematically, he says.
The TDR idea is ridiculous, says S Shanthakumar a resident of Sampangiramnagar. "The rates of the TDRs vary depending on the area. Places near main roads might come at a higher rate," he says

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