After 10 yrs, PMC to redesign BRTS route

Safety, Cycle Tracks Top Features
The Pune Municipal Corporation has finally realised that the 6.5km SwargateKatraj BRTS corridor has got serious technical flaws and needs to be redesigned.The corridor was inaugurated in December 2006 by union minister Jaipal Reddy under the ambitious Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) with an objective to reduce congestion on roads and promote public transport. Instead, it became a hotbed of accidents and severe congestion. Several NGOs working for sustainable transport have repeatedly pointed out that the project was hastily implemented with no road safety features. After nearly 10 years, the corridor will be redesigned under the Pune Streets Programme at the cost of Rs 75 crore.

The redesigning plan includes all road safety features, continuous footpath, cycle tracks and additional lanes for motor vehicles. The existing service road will be completely dismantled with construction of bus stations at the road median.It will have dedicated bus lanes as per the existing operational corridors of SangamwadiVishrantwadi corridor and the Nagar road corridor.

Considering increased vehicular traffic, an additional lane (on either side) will be created by using the service lane which has been encroached upon. The existing route has only two motor vehicle lanes which causes congestion. The PMC top bosses are confident that the redesigned corridor will rectify the flaws and make the road safer.

A total of Rs 103 crore were spent on the pilot project in 2006.The redesigning will cost Rs 75 crore more. The IBI group is working on the project.

Road department chief Rajendra Raut said the vehicle and pedestrian counts have been taken at all the junctions including Swargate, Laxminarayan chowk, Dugad chowk, Market Yard, K K Market and Rajiv Gandhi zoological park. All the junctions will have complete ro ad safety features with raised pedestrian crossings at all the 11 bus stations.

Two flyovers and two subways have been built on the route which has damaged cycle tracks, footpath and some portion of the road. Because of the construction of flyovers, the width of service roads has decreased. However, the flyovers have been designed in a way that PMPML buses can go below the flyovers.

The PMC has said that it is following the Comprehensive Mobility Plan which focuses on people rather than vehicles. Under the Pune Streets Programme, walkable environment will be created to ensure high levels of public transport ridership, greater share of walking and cycling trips. The objective is to redesign 100 kms of streets in a phased manner.

President of Nagrik Chetna Manch, Maj. Gen. S C N Jatar (retd) said there is an inherent weakness in pilot BRTS which cannot be put right. “There was no feasibility study nor a proper detailed project report,“ he said.

Jatar says the corridor is one of the busiest in Pune, but there is not a single safe crossing, either a foot over-bridge or under pass. This should be taken up on priority . Bus stops, he says, are not convenient for commuters and do not have basic amenities such adequate sign posting and digitised boards indicating arrival, departure and cross connections for buses. There is no connectivity for those who want to change from BRTS to non-BRTS destinations.

Convener of Pedestrians First, Prashant Inamdar, said the redesigning exercise may not guarantee better performance of BRTS with safety for commuters, pedestrians and road users in general.

Source : TOI