Fast moving traffic is a common sight and people have to cross road dangerously at the Keshavrao Jedhe chowk Swargate as there are no signals for pedestrians at this busy junction. Over 3 lakh commuters cross the roads everyday at the junction where two main bus terminals of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) and that of the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML), including the BRT stations are located. Anyone waiting at the junction can find that there is a continuous movement of vehicles, including a large number of buses and cars. On the Katraj-Swargate road stretch, many vehicles take a turn to the left as well as to the right. In the absence of pedestrian signals; people continue to cross the road even when vehicles are taking a turn.
Pedestrian facilities are also lacking on all the five main roads leading to the chowk. The traffic signals are helpful only for vehicle users. At this junction, one can also see traffic signals which are non-functional. The chances of people getting hit by vehicles are very high. A major risk to people’s lives is also noticed when buses — coming from Katraj and going towards Hadapsar — suddenly take a right turn from the BRT lane. “Any person coming from the Shivajinagar side and going towards Swargate bus terminus suddenly finds himself face-to-face with a fast approaching bus from the BRTS lane.
The problems of people crossing the road are further aggravated because of encroachments on footpaths, lack of proper pedestrian crossings, and lack of pedestrian refuges.
A senior PMC official looking into the issues of traffic planning admitted that pedestrian signals are required at the busy junction. The issue will be sorted out soon, he said. Civic officials claim that proper pedestrian facilities at the junction are in place and what is needed is proper traffic enforcement and action against encroachments. Harshad Abhayankar of Save Pune Traffic Movement says pedestrian signals are missing at many major junctions in the city, but at Swargate it is all the more necessary to have such a facility as it is the busiest junction in the city.
Source: Times of India, 4 September 2012. Internet edition.