Sunday, August 29, 2004

Jammed Junctions: Town Hall

A sea of vehicles on this road

History stands swamped in anarchy at this traffic junction where vehicles whizz past at break-neck speed often straying on to narrow pedestrian pathways, traffic lights turn on and off abruptly and manual management of traffic only adds to the confusion. Getting past Town Hall junction in the midst of the City is a nightmare.
Hub of one of the busiest areas of the City, the Town Hall junction comprises two intersections. The JC Road stretch from Minerva Circle, NR Road, SJP Road and the JC Road stretch leading to BMP office intersect at the first of the Town Hall intersections. The second intersection brings together the JC Road stretch from Town Hall, Nrupathunga Road, Mission Road and the JC Road stretch leading to Hudson Circle.

Corporation office, LIC and Canara Bank, Dasappa Maternity Home, Ravindra Kalakshetra, Badami House housing KSTDC office, Town Hall and Unity Buildings are the landmarks that form the periphery of the junction overlooking which stands the statue of Bangalore’s founder Kempe Gowda, in a BMP park. The Town Hall junction is busy throughout the day. As drivers of speeding vehicles try to make sense of the labyrinthine roads, pedestrians court death at every step as they move from one side of the road to the other. Two policemen, each on two shifts at each intersection have been able to do little to contain the chaos.
Police say, 12,000 vehicles drive past the Town Hall junction every hour. The ideal number is only 8,000. Vehicles coming from Kalasipalyam and Mysore Road have been diverted into Pehelwan Krishna Road and only BMTC buses are allowed into the Town Hall junction. Mr M A Saleem, DCP (East Zone), said this has eased more than 30 per cent of the congestion. Traffic jams and accidents involving alighting commuters are also common. Though chaos here seem to be self-regulatory, accidents are rare in this junction. Reason: The slow moving traffic and congested roads. There were eight accident cases in 2001, this rose to nine in 2002, falling to six in 2003 and rising again to eight in 2004 (updated till July 31, 2004).

Plans to decongest
Several proposals are under consideration to further decongest this junction like diverting traffic into the narrow Mission Road. The Confederation of Indian Industry and BATF have jointly piloted a lane discipline project on JC Road under which violators face a spot fine of Rs 100.


Niyaz Shareff, assistant manager Karnataka Silk Marketing Board Ltd:
On JC Road, speeding vehicles brazenly cross the yellow line. A barricade must be erected.

D Krishnamurthy, officer, Canara Bank:
Buses stop right in the middle of the road, making it difficult for passengers to get off. Most processions begin from here, causing jams for hours.

T P Lakshmamma, nurse in Dasappa Maternity Home:
Those getting out of the maternity home have difficulty getting to the other side due to absence of signal lights at the Pehelwan junction.

Kusuma, works in Veenu Ladders:
The noise is deafening. There must be some of restriction on the type of vehicles that can pass. Police are missing most of the time.

Krishna, autorickshaw driver:
Free turns only makes things difficult. However, after traffic has been diverted, traffic jams have been reduced. There must be more one ways.


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