Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Speed is the casualty

Speed is the casualty
It was originally meant to be signal-free. But now, BIA Road has 14 traffic signals

Alot can go horribly wrong by the time a plan gets executed: Well, the Bangalore International Airport (BIA) road is one such mega project that reflects this! When the BIA was inaugurated, the chiefs of both Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and the Bangalore police assured a signal-free corridor to the airport. In fact, they claimed that they had learnt from the mistakes made on HAL Airport Road which is dotted by traffic signals and promised a non-stop drive on Bellary Road (highway leading to BIA). But reality has begun to bite now: The BIA road is not signalfree, instead 14 traffic signals have cropped up in the last one year! The impact is evident: It reduces the travel time to and from the airport.
Bangalore Mirror did a test drive to find out what difference a signal-free corridor could have made to the ordinary motorist: Our team tied up with a high-profile minister in the Yeddyurappa cabinet on his way to the airport from Vidhana Soudha. With the cops keeping all the signals open for
the minister,
the convoy travelled at an average speed of 80 kmph and reached the trumpet interchange on the national highway in just 26 minutes! Subsequently, the BM team travelled on its own from Vidhana Soudha to BIA. The time clocked was 55 minutes. A signal-free corridor would have made a lot of difference for ordinary motorists.
So the question is, why are the police installing more traffic signals on the fast lane? Road experts attribute it to the lack of foresight and planning. The authorities should have constructed underpasses or flyovers to prevent traffic intrusions from the 20-plus roads that join the highway. Instead, they did not. To overcome traffic snarls, traffic signals are being installed. Just imagine how the road would look five or ten years from now when either sides are flanked by residential complexes or commercial establishments? Like the Old Airport Road, this too would turn chaotic, a former professor of engineering said.
The police, who claim helplessness in getting a swift response from the civic agencies, maintain that the traffic signals have been introduced to reduce accidents on the roads. Quoting statistics, the traffic police said a total of 87 pedestrians have been killed on the road because of lack of adequate pedestrian crossings. Additional Commissioner of Police (traffic) Praveen Sood contended that traffic signals have brought down pedestrian deaths by 35 per cent in the last one year.
Though the traffic police have installed fixing speed limits for each of the lanes, it is hardly followed. Over 35,000 drivers were penalised for overspeeding and jumping lanes in the last one year. The menace touches an alarming proportion in the night when the two speed interceptors are withdrawn because of poor visibility: A majority of the vehicle-users just race.


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