Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Instead of taking positive steps, officials are creating problems

Instead of taking positive steps, officials are creating problems

Suhail Yusuf

The city administrators have a penchant to create myriad problems out of one. The recent road widening plan is another example of their ad hoc-ism.
Look at the one-way system on Residency and Richmond roads. The system was supposed to be a panacea for traffic gridlocks. But it has generated more problems such as over-speeding leading to accidents involving pedestrians and schoolchildren, unwanted speed-breakers which act more as spine-breakers, and burning of extra fuel leading to air pollution.
These two roads have six lanes of traffic speeding in a haphazard way. Here, a simple problem has been made complex. The trouble started when vehicles began to stop to drop or pick up schoolchildren. They should have been allowed to enter the school compound by a method of automation. Instead, the present remedy – one-way system – has created nuisance to residents by diverting traffic into their areas. Thus vehicles burn more fuel ignoring the presence of hospitals, homes and schools in the area.
Adding to this is the failure of the traffic police to ensure order in the streets during rush hour. The roads were not painted and marked for several years. Therefore, lane discipline could not be maintained. Question the authorities. "Lack of funds," they argue. Instead of a big road-widening plan, did the authorities ever think of managing the traffic better? I doubt it. Look at the condition of our roads. Mad digging is going on everywhere. And no one questions the civic agencies.
The bad road condition is forcing motorists to cut short routes and manoeuvre dangerously on footpaths putting the lives of pedestrians at risk. They blame the lack of discipline of other motorists. Maybe it is true to an extent. But the horrendous state of our roads is the primary reason for so many accidents and deaths and not the narrowness of roads.
Taking the case of Brigade Road, authorities should know that the automated parking for short-term parking (for the visitor) and long-term parking by multi-storied parking lots could fetch them a lot of revenue. This will save fuel and prevent pollution. There are enough examples of bad engineering where potential parking space is blocked with cement and mortar.
To sum up, instead of positive steps, civic authorities are creating more problems by:
> Making parking free (because, they say, the parking is in the hands of a mafia)
> Turning scientific angular parking into unscientific parallel parking creating a shortage of parking space
> Making 83 roads as 'no parking' zones.
Road widening is a disruptive and short-lived solution which should be avoided to keep the core city live.
- The writer is president of the Brigade Shops and Establishments Association


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