Monday, March 27, 2006

B'lore highway to success jammed

B'lore highway to success jammed

Bangalore: It's called India's Silicon Valley and is said to be the country's fastest growing city, with an IT sector that is well on the highway to global glory.

However, what's slowing down the hi-paced Garden City is its snail-paced traffic.

Bangalore's traffic nightmare can be well defined in a few lines.

Bangaloreans say that while in the rest of India drives on the left of the road; they drive on what's left of the road.

In the rest of India, there's no flyover with a traffic intersection; in Bangalore, they have a traffic signal and criss-crossing traffic atop a flyover.

In the rest of India, one-way roads mean traffic can only move one way; in Bangalore, there are two ways traffic can move on a one-way road.

Over the years, Bangalore has been criticised for its traffic.

The city that adds 600 to 800 vehicles to its girdle everyday, (that is, nearly two-and-a half lakh vehicles every year) has just 1,800 policemen manning it.

Obviously, something's just not right.

"There's nothing wrong with having vehicles; the only thing we ask is to put vehicles at home and come on public transport," Deputy Commssioner of Police, M A Saleem, says.

One of the most accident-prone roads in Bangalore, the National Highway no. 4, leads straight to Peenya circle – atraffic nightmare.

The Peenya-Jalahalli intersection is one of the reasons that Bangalore has earned another infamous tag.

It now ranks a notorious second in the country as far as road accidents go, just after Delhi.

"At the same time, 2005 accidents were reduced to a large extent and some areas are very congested and you know speed is so less that accidents are less, that's another way of seeing," Saleem says.

And as if traffic woes weren’t enough to slow the city to a grinding halt, pollution, too, is taking its toll. Vehicular emission, now, exceeds safety levels on most highways. So what went wrong?

"Bangalroe city is not planned for this amount of traffic. It's good for seven to eight lakh vehicles because roads remain the same – they are narrow and congested. Buildings and industries have grown," Advisor, Traffic and Transportation Engineering, Prof M N Sreehari, says.

"There is no single solution, we need different solutions. Widening roads, metro rail, goods roads, intelligent traffic control systems and at the same time, education is important. People must be continuously educated on need to follow road discipline, particularly lane discipline," Saleem says.

The situation is so grim that the Indian Institute of Management started a course on infrastructure this year with a hope that perhaps the B-School students will find a way out.


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