Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Traffic bottlenecks on the rise

As traffic gets heavier and jams last longer, commute time is growing for Bangaloreans
VINITA A SHETTY Times News Network

IF more Bangaloreans are starting earlier these days, it’s certainly not to pack more into their day. They’re trying to beat unpredictable traffic jams and bottlenecks and reach work on time by setting out almost an hour or two early. On any given day, peak hour traffic volumes in central Bangalore reach 10,000 pcu (passenger car units), in i n t e r m e d i at e Bangalore they are between 3,000-7,000 pcu and in peripheral Bangalore they can go up to 3,000-5,000 pcu. So, getting from point A to B during peak h o u r s requires a good head start for the ave r a g e Bangalorean.
D evd a s Nayak Jeppu, a factory manager who lives in Basavanagudi and works in M a d iva l a says, “To reach work at 9 am, I have to set out before 8 am. The route I take crosses two flyover construction junctions, one near National College ,Basavangudi, and the other near Dairy Circle. The same route would take me just half an hour about five years ago, now it takes me an hour and a half,” he rues. Manasa Sastri, a techie lives in Hebbal and works near Raj Bhavan. She leaves home by 7.30 am to reach work by 9 am. “The Hebbal Junction-Raj Bhavan Road has 12 major junctions and is always jammed. I have to
make an early start,” she says.
South End Circle junction, a six-arm intersection, handles 12,000-plus vehicles at peak hour. “I have to leave at least two hours early. It does not matter that much if there are delays in the evening as we are usually heading home. Even the Modi Hospital junction, which is a four-arm intersection, can cause half an hour delay every day,” says M Krishna Kumar, a bank officer who lives in the area. Most arterial roads leading to the central business districts from Hosur Road, Marathahalli, Bannerghatta Road, Hebbal, Banaswadi, Sankey Road and Old Madras Road are blocked as early as 7. 30 am, with school buses and factory buses. “The traffic delays go on till about 10 am. It clears after that. In order to reach early, people are now setting out around 8 am and the jams intensify during that time,” says general physician Dr VS Kumar .
Traffic expert and chairman of the Traffic Education and Safety Trust, MN Sreehari says, “Bangalore has a network of 4,300 km of roads and 250 km of arterial roads. Most of the delays are on the arterial roads and at peak hours, jams can drag on for 20 minutes or more. For a city with over 18 lakh vehicles, there is not just a need for police manpower to ensure an even flow of traffic, but also for the existing manpower to be deployed, utilised effectively and efficiently for a smooth traffic run.”


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