Thursday, April 28, 2005

Suspension of tree felling hits launch of lane system

Suspension of tree felling hits launch of lane system

The Hindu

BANGALORE: The city police, who were keen on implementing the lane system on certain roads, seem to be keeping their fingers crossed with environmentalists opposing the felling and pruning of 702 trees in the city.

Environmentalists seem to have scored an initial victory in their efforts to stop the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) from felling or pruning trees. Following protests, it has suspended the work.

The police are under pressure from vehicle users and the high-powered task force on traffic management to provide lanes for different types of vehicles. Environmentalists argue that tree felling will result in the city losing more greenery.

The Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic-East), M.A. Saleem, told The Hindu the suspension of tree felling will affect widening of roads and the implementation of the lane system.

He said it is not possible to widen roads without felling of pruning trees in some places.

A case in point is Residency Road and M.G. Road. Mr. Saleem points out that unless trees, which are "eating up" a large spaces — near Bishop Cotton School on Residency Road and Hotel Oberoi on M.G. Road — are cut, the lane system cannot be implemented effectively.

Once trees are felled and parking of vehicles is banned on these roads, the space can be utilised for better traffic management, he said.

Mr. Saleem said it is necessary to widen roads to ensure smooth traffic. Other measures needed include effective implementation of ban on right/ left turns and introduction of the one-way rule on more roads. "Only then (after streamlining traffic) can we think of exclusive lanes," he said.

He hoped that the problems may be solved and the system will be in place in about six months.

What is lane system?

The proposed system provides for exclusive lanes for two-wheelers, three wheelers, cars and buses on Residency Road, Richmond Road and Cubbon Road, to begin with.

Once the system in place, the fastest-moving vehicles will take lane closest to the footpath or kerbstones on the left.

This is to be called lane one. Buses will ply in lane two, and two-wheelers/three-wheelers in lane three. Demarcation of lanes is part of the Rs. 1-crore project approved recently by the task force.

The project is to be financed by the Bangalore Development Authority, the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike, the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation and the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC). The BMTC has given its share of Rs. 25 lakhs to the city police.


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