Friday, April 30, 2010

GREEN SIGNAL to traffic free Bengaluru

GREEN SIGNAL to traffic free Bengaluru

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Bengalureans grappling with traffic snarls in the central business district may be able zip through with the authorities planning to set up 12 signal free corridors around the area. While the corridors could be a help when completed, they could cause more chaos when built. But in the hurry to make the city match global standards, the pedestrian has been completely shortchanged, reports Amit S. Upadhye 80 bridges and underpasses will be built over the next 10 years to provide uninterrupted passage to commuters on all 12 corridors

: The city will soon go the Mumbai and Delhi way where not all traffic heads to central areas to reach destinations in different directions. Aware that the city centre in Bengaluru is crowded most days because a lot of commuters travelling anywhere need to touch it at some point or the other, the government has now come up with the idea of establishing 12 signal-free corridors (SFCs) to carry traffic circumventing it.
As many as 80 bridges and underpasses will be built over the next 10 years to provide uninterrupted passage to commuters on all 12 corridors. Traffic experts welcome the idea as they have been long pointing out that it is only in Bengaluru that 80 per

cent of commuters are forced to enter the city's Central Business District wherever they may be heading. In Delhi and Mumbai most traffic is diverted as soon as it nears the central areas through a designated ring road or a larger connecting round and routed to various destinations, they say. "Every large city in India and abroad has a distinct radial road and core ring road which allows commuters to reach the areas of their choice without entering the city centre. This might make the journey more circuitous, but it helps save fuel and travel time," says additional commissioner of police (traffic) Praveen Sood, who agrees that Bengaluru is badly in need of such a system.
While the corridors could be a help when completed, the worry is that they could cause more chaos on the roads while they are being built. "Construction of bridges and underpasses will take a long time as it will involve land acquisition, road expansion, tree felling and a comprehensive traffic plan,” warns an expert. For instance, constructing a 22 km SFC from Mekhri Circle to Hope Farm via Jayamahal Extension and another from the City Centre to Kengeri via Mysore Road will almost certainly require heavy construction and road alterations, which in turn will make traffic even worse on these already very crowded stretches. Such fears are compounded by the fact that the authorities don’t care to make alternative arrangements for traffic when work on the projects gets underway. “Diversions are introduced without illumination or signboards which can help commuters,” says an expert. We do need signal free corridors as they will make it unnecessary for large volumes of traffic to come to the city centre when heading in different directions. The ring roads will divert the traffic suitably. Pedestrians usually get a raw deal in any infrastructure project. Signal free corridors will block pedestrian crossings, while other facilities that have been provided for them are hardly user friendly. There is no study to say why the city needs signal free corridors when mass transport systems are being planned for it. The projects will require heavy construction, which could make life miserable for commuters.


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