Monday, May 29, 2006

For the smooth flow of traffic

For the smooth flow of traffic
By Janardhan Roye
The Times of India

Traffic at the best of times is congested in most parts of town. The rush starts in the morning and goes on till late in the evening. A period when there are traffic jams, angry motorists, harassed cops and confused pedestrians.

The breakneck speed at which the IT city is growing requires hi-tech solutions. Today’s traffic police seem illequipped to manage the problem. One feels sorry for them as they attempt to bring order and discipline to this melee.

The old Bangalore roads were designed for smaller loads and for far fewer and slower vehicles. Today, all the 24 lakh or so cars, two-wheelers and autorickshaws are out there, all in a hurry and moving at a fiendish pace.

The present trend suggests to a worsening situation. Bangalore’s commercialisation and vertical development are going on relentlessly without matching support systems or upgradation in infrastructure.

You don’t have to put your ear to the ground to hear the rumble of confusion and chaos. Just see what’s happening in downtown areas such as MG Road. It’s turning into a virtual concrete jungle with all manner of construction activities — new hotels, huge malls, sprawling shopping complexes, and fancy entertainment plazas. And above all Metro Rail work has started.

Building space projected for Bangalore’s commercial activity is an additional 50 lakh square feet by 2007, with close to half of it required on MG Road alone. Just imagine the problems that motorists, pedestrians, commuters, residents, and the traffic police will be up against. How will the main and connecting roads take this load? Where will cars be parked? How will pedestrians move around? How will households and businesses get their essential services? This situation will aggravate, unless the issues are tackled by experts and political will.

It is said the construction lobby is the king in all developing economies, and regulators become second-fiddle. So, in addition to the government/ regulatory authorities, it is a good idea to involve builders in civic projects such as decongesting roads, buildings, transportation.

l Modernise traffic police/ machinery — add high performance motorcycles, cars.
l Synchronise traffic lights.
l Speed guns usage will help record rash driving or speeding. Record offences online.
l At first opportunity, traffic helicopters need to be used.
l Helicopter taxis to be encouraged for VIPs.
l Walk-bridges to have escalators and maintained by private contractors who can use them for commercial purposes.

l Building licences to be restricted in densely crowded areas such as M G Road.
l A comprehensive Greater Bangalore plan to include office complexes, and malls in areas bordering the Outer Ring Road (ORR).
l Take people’s opinion into consideration.

l Public transportation needs to move extensively on the ORR.
l Taxi and autorickshaw services should be available in key locations.
l Parking companies should be encouraged to set up facilities at strategic locations.
l Multi-modal transit centres need to be developed in key locations. Each should house a parking lot, mofussil and city bus-stops, and a Bangalore Metro station all under one roof.
l The ORR’s median is ideally suited for an above-the-surface fast train shuttle.

l Hasten development of satellite towns.
l Stagger office/ educational working hours.
l Road repair to carried out late at night.


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