Saturday, August 07, 2010

Cops put brakes on peak-hour jam

Cops put brakes on peak-hour jam

Bangalore: It’s been over a fortnight now since traffic along the chaotic railway overbridge (RoB) at Banaswadi has been moving seamlessly, even during peak hours. The stretch, which once took 15 minutes to cross, now takes just a minute or more. So who waved a magic wand here?
There have been no roadwidening projects or elaborate planning. It was just a simple idea which freed one crucial junction of the bumper-tobumper malaise on this bridge, which has no traffic signals.
Mukunda junction on the bridge — the intersection of three paths towards Kammanahalli, Byappanahalli and Banaswadi — was a bottleneck for a long time.
In what can be a fitting reply to multi-crore road-widening plans (which has been suspended now), all this gridlock needed was some intelligent thinking. It was the joint effort of head constable V Lokesh, sub-inspector L Sreekantaiah and assistant sub-inspector H Nanjudaiah that made all the difference here.
They came up with a simple plan of manually managing the traffic during peak hours — 9-10.30 am and 6-8 pm. That includes using just simple hand signals and being on the ground. The cop here stops traffic coming from Byappanahalli for a while and lets vehicles from Banaswadi junction proceed towards Frazer Town, says Lokesh, who conceived the idea.
“We used to see angry, irritated faces of commuters every day. It was evident they hated travelling on that stretch. Most of them head to office at that time, and they must go without stress,’’ said Sreekantaiah.
Traffic congestion on this bridge worsened with the opening of ITC-Cox Town flyover in March first week. Among the worst-hit were also commuters from Banaswadi and Ramamurthy Nagar.
“Even now, at times, it is not so easy to manage traffic when vehicles get stuck on the flyover. The two-way flyover is not so wide and if a vehicle breaks down, it can lead to a traffic jam,” said Sreekantaiah.
Prithvi Reddy, a resident of Banaswadi who commutes along this stretch every other day, was glad to see the change.
“It was once a choking stretch, and was frustrating. Now, I simply zip through, burning less fuel too. Why not implement such intelligent traffic management plans across the city instead of widening roads?” he asks.


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