CITIZENS FOR THE CITY – Flyovers fail to ease traffic congestion

Citizens Come Up With Solutions For Chaos | Blinkered Politicians Look The Other Way
It is a commonly held belief that traffic problems can be solved by implementing measures such as widening of roads, building new roads, flyovers etc. However, such solutions are hardly adequate due to ever-increasing number of vehicles. Hence, the roads get choked again within a short period. Moreover, pedestrians have to bear the brunt of such vehiclecentric measures.The recently approved Pedestrian Policy of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has categorically highlighted the crux of the problem when it comes to managing Pune’s traffic congestion.

Identifying traffic congestion as one of the major problems in Pune, the civic body has been constructing flyovers and widening roads to ease traffic flow. The work on construction of flyovers on Satara Road and Swargate has been completed.Work on flyovers near College of Engineering, Pune, is going on and there are more flyovers on PMC’s agenda. But flyovers are hardly a solution to easing bottlenecks as they tend to merely shift the point of congestion from one location to another, according to the Comprehensive Mobility Plan (CMP) of the PMC.

“As a result, the real utility of flyovers beyond providing temporary relief from congestion has been questioned by many experts. Road intersections are major points of traffic bottlenecks in a transportation system,“ it said.

“The only proven sustainable solution to the traffic problem is providing a good quality public transport system as well as safe, adequate and usable facilities for pedestrians and cyclists. This will make it possible for people to commute conveniently without using own vehicles, thus reducing the number of vehicles on road. Consequently, the traffic congestion problem as well as pollution problem will get progressively re solved,“ said the civic body’s Pedestrian Policy.

With elected members interested in flyovers, tenders and big budgets, citizens have tried their best to come up with solutions.

As PMC and police have not been able to manage the major traffic chaos in Kalyani Nagar area, the Kalyaninagar Residents Association (KNRA) has chipped in to control the flow of cabs and two-wheelers passing through the area.

Amarjeet Raizada, one of the members of KNRA, said, “Our management is trying to control traffic along with the wardens at some of the entrance points such as Agakhan bridge, Ramwadi bypass, Shastrinagar chowk, etc. Some of the volunteers, many of whom are retired professio nals and senior citizens, are doing a great job round-theclock monitoring and helping traffic cops.“

In Pimpri Chinchwad area, senior citizen Vasant Ghuge, who retired from Hindustan Antibiotics Limited, has been involved in regulating traffic at various chowks in Sahakarnagar during peak hours every day . Ghuge said, “I go on my scooter to various chowks and regulate traffic, particularly when traffic signals stop functioning. I have also been felicitated by traffic police. Police have to work round the clock without any holidays. We as citizens also need to work to help them. People should follow traffic rules,“ said Ghuge.

There are many groups and individuals who on their own manage traffic in various parts of the city and a majority of them complain that the police and politicos have not cooperated with them.

A forum of citizens ­ Save Pune Traffic Movement ­ is working towards creating `grassroots’ movement where very large number of citizens contribute directly through a small, positive action of following all traffic rules. The organisation works with a plan which envisages unity of citizens which can create a demand for a change, a long term vision and comprehensive action. SPTM’s effort is to create this unity of large number of citizens, not just by wishful thinking, but by a small, positive, visible action ­ to follow all traffic rules.

“We as citizens must take steps to ease traffic congestion. I know that citizens have very little power and funds to solve all civic issues. But we must do our best. Doing small things to improve quality of life in city will make the city liveable,“ said Meenal, an IT professional, who opts for carpooling instead of using her personal vehicle.

More citizens like Meenal are increasingly seeing the benefit of carpooling to avoid traffic chaos. Diminishing parking spaces and rising fuel costs have prompted citizens to opt for carpooling.

Carpooling firms are going for tie-ups with corporates to get more users on board. Various platforms for carpooling are attracting citizens while software companies and IT parks in Hinjewadi, Yerawada and Kharadi are the most popular destinations for people sharing rides.

“I personally believe that we citizens can play a role in easing traffic congestion. Following a traffic signals, not cutting lanes, avoiding rash driving and respecting pedestrians are basic things. When we say that our politicians are not doing anything, we have to ensure that we follow basic traffic rules. I think if basic traffic rules are followed, we would be doing a great service to the city and nation,“ said Abhishekh Bhosale, a professional.

(Inputs from Radheshyam Jadhav, Swati Shinde, Siddharth Gaikwad & Tarini Puri)

Source : TOI

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