Experts raise concerns over one-ways

Mayor Prashant Jagtap’s plan to create more oneways to reduce congestion may have a negative impact, warned road safety experts, who believe the city bosses have a vehicle-centric approach rather than a pedestrianfriendly approach.

In the last week of July , the mayor had said: “We are working on a model of trafficless city . Many mayors across the world discussed this concept during an international conference in Iran recently . Based on it, a feasibility study would be carried out soon to convert all major two-ways in Pune into oneways.“

“It’s a wrong approach because the roads will become far more unsafe for pedestrians,“ said Rajendra Sidhaye, chairman of the Save Pune Traffic Movement.Such a move also makes buses take longer and circular routes. “This is a vehiclecentric view, instead of people-centric view. It is against the spirit of National Urban Transport Policy and the Comprehensive Mobility Plan of Pune,“ Sidhaye added.

Sujit Patwardhan, founder of Parisar, an environmental NGO working for sustainable transport, said, “Seven years back, ther FC Road was made into a one-way . Today, the traffic problems ha ve become much more critical.“

Patwardhan said that political leaders continue to offer ad hoc solutions without really taking the trouble to understand the root cause of the problem which seems to get worse by the year despite new roads, widenings and flyovers built during the last few decades. “One-ways will be unsafe for pedestrians, cyclists and extremely inconvenient for public transport buses,“ he said.

Prashant Inamdar, con Prashant Inamdar, con vener of Pedestrians First, a NGO working for sustainable transport, said that oneways increase accidents. In an email sent to mayor Prashant Jagtap, municipal commissioner Kunal Kumar and police commissioner Rashmi Shukla, Inamdar said that one-ways will cause overspeeding by vehicles due to wide unidirectional roads, poor lane discipline and crisscrossing vehicle movement. Pedestrians will be the worst sufferers as crossing the road will become difficult and dangerous due to overspeeding. Senior citizens and children will be the worst affected, he said.

“It has been seven years since the JM and FC roads were made one-way , but the PMC and the traffic police have not been able to put in place even the basic infrastructural requirements,“ Inamdar said.

Source : TOI



RAIN FURY – Roads choked, it’s pouring trouble for commuters

Potholes, Waterlogging Throw Traffic Out Of Gear, Civic Works Give People Trying Time Too
Slow moving vehicles, long waits at junctions, potholes and waterlogging made commuting a difficult task for Puneites on Wednesday .People stepping out during peak hours said their travel time went up considerably . For some, the rains made it difficult to get an autorickshaw while public transport users spent agonizingly long time waiting for a bus to reach their destination.

Reports of heavy and slow moving traffic came in all through the day from different parts of the city . The breakdown of a PMPML bus at Sancheti bridge caused massive traffic build up around CoEP during the day while a tree fall on Senapati Bapat Road in the afternoon led to chaos around the connecting road.

While there were many who altered their travel time to avoid the office hour rush in the morning, they still bore the brunt of peak-hour traffic on their drive back home in the evening. Commuters expressed frustration at the mismanagement and breakdown of basic civic infrastructure because of heavy rains.

Baner Road resident Anish Arun almost missed his morning flight to Coimbatore because of heavy traffic.Arun’s wife said, “We experienced very heavy traffic around University Chowk and then around Tingrenagar and Lohegaon where roads were totally packed. On the way back, I experienced congestion around Ahmednagar Road and Sangamwadi bridge.Buses plying in the lane meant for private vehicles on the Bus Rapid Transit System corridor totally crippled the flow of traffic.“

Ongoing road construction around Kalyaninagar bridge increased the commute time for Vimannagar resident Akansha Choudhary , who spent almost 20 minutes more just to cover a 5-km journey .Expressing anguish at the everyday traffic problems in the area, Akansha said, “The road repair works have wrecked havoc for commuters on this stretch of the road. Evenings are even worse on Tuesday it took me one hour and 15 minutes to reach home from Koregaon Park a 20 minute journey otherwise.“

Suvarna Kelkar, who tra velled from Sinhagad Road to Fergusson College Road, too experienced slow moving traffic along the way . “I had to go through almost three to four signal cycles at every chowk to final cross the junction,“ she said.

It took marketing profes sional Mohsin Mokashi more than 45 minutes to commute from K to commute from Kondhwa to Sadashiv Peth in the morning.The incessent rain increased his commute time by more than 15 minutes. Expressing frustration at the failing infrastructure, Mokashi said, “The drainage system of the city area is not working well.Besides, the encroachments at the riverside further affect traffic movement along the area.“

Ram Sutar, who was travelling from Satara to Mumbai, was seen enquiring about a petrol pump nearby . “I was not expecting such heavy rains and long traffic jams on the NH4. Now my car has almost run out of fuel. I here to go,“ he sa don’t know where to go,“ he said.

Those driving along the Pune-Bengaluru highway too experienced severe waterlogging and bad quality roads.“Barring a few patches, there were potholes everywhere.Due to waterlogging, motorists were not able to locate the potholes and this made driving even more difficult. Besides, diversions near Khed Shivapur and Nasrapur added to the trouble. The condition of service roads was pathetic, which severely affected the overall flow of traffic along the highway ,“ said one commuter, who drove from Pune to Bhor on Wednesday morning.

Abhishek Patil, who commutes daily between Magarpatta and Wakad, said he dreads his every day travel. “On Tuesday evening, it took me two and a half hours to reach home. Traffic was heavy at all major junctions Noble Hospital bridge, Fatimanagar, Race Course, around Police Commissioner’s office, Juna Bazar chowk, Sancheti bridge, RTO, Shivajinagar and the University road. Ambulances get routinely stuck and misuse of BRTS lanes is rampant.PMPML buses breaking down is a routine now. On Wednesday morning, I experienced heavy traffic around University circle, Simla office and Fatimanagar. It took me almost 50 minutes to complete the travel,“ he said.

A part of the road caved in around Gunjan Talkies chowk on Ahmednagar Road, leading to traffic build up. Commuters spent almost 20 minutes just to get out of the intersection around noon. The traffic spillover continued all over the city till late in the afternoon.

Source : TOI



Afraid of crossing 7-min free stay, drivers park on new Airport Road, causing daily bottlenecks for locals; traffic police suggest reducing parking charges
Traffic snarls have choked commute for Viman Nagar residents, thanks to vehicles parked haphazardly on the new Airport Road –which connects the airport with Nagar Road -mostly by cab drivers who cannot afford to pay the steep fee for overstaying the Pune Airport’s slim time-limit of welcome.Looking for a solution, the traffic police have suggested that the airport authorities reduce the parking charges by cutting down on the 2-hour-long parking slots. “Instead of a minimum slot of two hours, the authorities should provide half-hour slots and charge accordingly. If the charges are reduced for the half-hour slots, the drivers will also be encouraged to use the parking area,“ inspector B Mole, incharge of Yerwada traffic division, told Pune Mirror.

The current airport parking rules entail that if a vehicle enters the Pune Airport premises, it has to drop or pick up passengers within seven minutes and leave. Only then will it be considered as a free entry and exit for that vehicle. If it takes more than seven minutes, the driver has to cough up Rs 85 as parking charges. There are also designated parking spaces provided outside the airport premises, where parking is available for a minimum of two hours at a fee of Rs 90.

“Most of the vehicles parked here are cabs meant for airport duty; their drivers do not want to pay the heavy parking charges. So, they prefer to park their vehicles on the roadside, where there are no such charges. When their passengers arrive at the airport, they call up the drivers.Only then do they enter the airport premises,“ rued Arun Malhotra, a Viman Nagar resident. Dinesh Kumar, another local, added, “It is a wide road and in good condition.There is absolutely no reason for bottlenecks. However, we have been facing traffic snarls daily, especially during the evenings, as these vehicles are parked in the area.“

Fed up with the daily commuting trouble, the residents had complained to the traffic police, after which they came up with a few suggestions for the airport authorities.Even Mole admitted that the problem get more severe during the evenings, with an increase in the number of operating flights. “Accordingly, more cabs are required to pick up more passengers. When we questioned these drivers, they told us that they do not need to wait at the airport for more than half an hour, but have to pay the parking charges for two hours. Therefore, to avoid paying that amount, they choose to park their cars outside,“ he said.

When Pune Mirror contacted Ajay Kumar, the director of Pune Airport, he assured, “We welcome all suggestions that are for the greater public good. We will definitely take those given by the traffic police on a positive not and the best possible steps will be taken for a remedy.“

Source : Mirror



CCTVs on the blink affect police

Every Day, 50-80 Units Require Maintenance
The presence of 1,230 closed circuit television cameras (CCTV) at public places may give you an impression that every nook and corner of the city has been secured, but the fact is that every day about 50 to 80 cameras remain non-functional for a varied reasons.Potholes, illegal digging of roads and random tree cutting and some of the important factors responsible for the cameras to fail. The state home department had installed the CCTVs after the German Bakery and Faraskhana bomb blasts in the city .

Maintenance is cited as an important cause. Police commissioner Rashmi Shukla has decided to monitor the issue on a day to day basis. “Earlier, about 200 cameras would remain shut for maintenance every day . Now, I have brought the number down to 20 or 25,“ Shukla told TOI. The 1,230-odd cameras monitor prominent junctions, roads and streets that lead to vital installations located in different parts of Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad.

The control room is located in the Pune police commissioner’s office and a staff of about 20 officers keeps an eye on the screens 24X7. The city traffic police too use the CCTV footage to book traffic offenders. Besides, any crime spotted on camera is reported to the ground staff. A senior police officer said that cameras cannot stop a crime, but they generate vital evidence which can be used in the court to achieve conviction. “Also, many crimes can be averted with prompt police action,“ the officer said.

On Thursday , TOI came to know from a senior police official that about 61 cameras were not functioning on that day .

Shukla said that some cameras were not functioning due to illegal road digging while recent rains had caused damage to some more cameras. “We are executing repair and maintenance work every day ,“ she said.

At times, tree branches fall on camera wires and disrupt rely of signals to the control room. A senior officer said that at times, illegal tree cutting too causes damage.

Dust and pollution are the other factors that affect the functioning of CCTV cameras in the city.

The drive to install CCTV cameras all over the city gained momentum after the 2010 German Bakery blast in which 17 people were killed and about 60 escaped with injuries. Similarly , an IED explosion outside the building housing Faraskhana and Vishrambaug police stations in 2014 put the police on guard.

After the two incidents, the state home department started installing CCTVs in the city and the work to install 1,230 cameras concluded in August last year.

Source : TOI



School teachers, students face sludge hurdle daily

As soon as students and staffers of Vibgyor High School in Balewadi get into the premises, they make a beeline for the rest room and patiently await their turn to wash off mud stains from their feet and legs.

Cleaning up the muck before class has become a ritual ever since it started raining.The approach `road’ to the school is nothing but a bumpy , pothole-ridden mud track that’s dusty through the year and slushy during the monsoon months. The road turns into a wet and slippery stretch of loose soil on which two-wheelers slip and pedestrians fall. This is the second monsoon through which commuters are facing the same situation.

It is a daily struggle for those living in the vicinity as well.Local residents have made several requests for a tar road between the national highway and the school but they are yet to receive a response.

The problem The condition of the road is largely due to its location –it is caught in a tussle over jurisdiction between Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and the gram panchayats of Sus and Mahalunge villages. Aggrieved locals have tried everything from signature campaigns to suggesting they’d build the road themselves apart from appealing before the civic chief and the Prime Minister’s Office. Eventually , the PMO forwarded the complaint to the state government’s social justice and special assistance department.

Describing their long struggle to get the road built, local resident Ashish Bhargava said, “When we bought the apartment, the builder had assured us that the area will be included in the PMC limits soon. But that turned out to be just a marketing gimmick and we are still struggling to ascertain whether the building falls under the civic body’s jurisdiction.“

Bhargava points out that the road is nothing but a narrow thoroughfare that becomes all the more difficult to use when it rains. “Only one car can go over this road at a time.Despite being just a stone’s throw away from the smart city zone, we feel as if we are living near an international border,“ he added.

Autorickshaw drivers refuse to travel on the road, said a Baner resident whose children study at Vibgyor High School.“It’s very disturbing to hear the children complain about the roller coaster ride that they are forced to endure twice a day . All parents who go to pick up or drop their children suffer due to the potholes,“ a parent said, requesting anonymity .

People riding two-wheelers are the worst affected, pointed out another parent.

“I have seen many bikers trip and fall due to the potholes.The condition of the road is abysmal despite the fact that the area is known for its posh residential societies. In fact, the corporator had conducted a bhumi pujan on the land to mark the construction of the road earlier this year. But he later backed out saying the land does not fall under PMC limits,“ the parent said.

Passing the Buck Authorities simply shift the blame when it comes to talk of constructing the road.

The school management’s official statement said, “We are concerned about the inconvenience caused to our students, parents and teachers due to the damaged road. We have highlighted the issue before the concerned authorities in PMC and are pursuing the case in order to expedite the process. We are sure they will consider our request soon and make the commute easier.“

According to PMC officials, the school lies outside its jurisdiction. Pointing to the tricky location of the road, a junior engineer from the civic body said, “According to the area’s development plan (DP), it is envisaged to be a 24-metre road extending all the way to Sus village. But, currently , it is about 100 metres out of PMC limits and lies on the boundary of the gram panchayat, so the responsibility is to be shared. As of now, the civic body does not have the funds to build a road for people who reside outside its limits. We understand that Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation is building a bigger road in the area.“

Narayan Chandere, founder member of the Sus gram panchayat put the onus on the builders. “The road borders Sus and Mahalunge villages, so it is not the responsibility of our gram panchayat alone.The spot is at quite a distance from our core village zone and we don’t have the funds to build a road. Anyway , it is the primary responsibility of the builders who promised the road to buyers while selling them flats.They have done absolutely nothing for the area,“ he said.

MIDC officials pleaded ignorance of the exact location.“We are building a road around the Mercedez Benz showroom near the highway but we have not seen any school in its vicinity . We will check if we will cover the patch,“ an official said.

Source : TOI



Civic body works over weekend to patch up roads

Repairs 35 Thoroughfares Before Monday Deadline
A day before its self-imposed deadline to make Pune pothole-free, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has completed repairs on 35 key roads out of 50. The administration has promised to repair the other 15 roads on Monday .“Nearly 250 people are working day and night since Thursday . We are not only using the hot mix technology , but also the cold mix method, which will help make repairs more sustainable,“ said Rajendra Raut, head of the PMC’s road department. “Besides the 50 main roads, we have also taken up work on the bylanes that are in a bad shape. We are responding to people’s complaints. Hence, I request all to let us know the condition of roads in their respective areas,“ he added.

Besides potholes, complaints regarding other road furniture and drainage are also being addressed. The data regarding how much work was done will be available on Tuesday once the total work is complete.

Earlier, mayor Prashant Jagtap had promised a potholefree city by Monday . He had declared at a press conference that instructions have been issued to Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) officials to carry out repairs on a war-footing.

The civic body activates a pothole repair helpline during monsoon. It gets around 300 complaints every year. Calls come from different areas, including the Peths, Kothrud, Hadapsar, NIBM, Satara and Sinhagad Road. “We created 10 different teams. Each team has four to eight members. Our target is to complete 25 key roads under Aundh and Ghole road ward offices,“ said executive engineer Dinkar Gojare.

The PMC has been spending crores of rupees on asphalting roads since May . The craters expose not only the poor quality of material used, but also the tardy work of the contractors. Commuters complained about vehicles breaking down and bumpy rides giving them back ache.

Besides their demand for good roads, people had sought action against civic officials and contractors responsible for sub-standard work.

The civic administration has started an inquiry on road works, especially those that are under a `defect liability period.’ If these roads are damaged and the contractor has flouted the norms or compromised on quality, he will be blacklisted.

Source : TOI



PMC goes green, to use plastic for roads

Technique For Longevity & Durability
Used plastic materials that are thrown on city roads as waste could now be buried in them.The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has decided to use plastic waste as raw material for road construction.

Road contractors would add this plastic as bitumen.The first such project will be carried out at Yerawada. The administration has planned trials this month.

The plastic is expected to add to the longevity of roads by making them water resistant and would also increase the resistance of roads to weather changes.

According to PMC officials, the collected plastic will be given to the hot mix plant of the PMC. It would convert the plastic into an ingredient for road construction. The combination of bitumen and waste plastic would be 90:10.

“PMC has contacted experts who are working in this field and invited them to carry out trials. They will try out the use of mix on a patch of road in July . If it is successful, then more would be added,“ head of PMC’s solid waste management department Suresh Jagtap said.

He said the civioc body plans to set up 200 disposal facilities across the city soon, with the aim of segregating plastic and e-waste.

Pune generates nearly 1,600 tonnes of garbage every day .About 15% of this plastic. Waste disposal is an acute problem due to the non-availability of sites in the city . At present, the city’s garbage is sent to the processing plant in Phursungi and Uruli villages. A plant has also been set up at Ramtekdi. Besides, small processing units have been set up in different wards. These plants are not working to their full capacity , which has led to open dumping.

“The technique is good. It would help in improving the quality of roads. A layer of plas tic could help in dealing with issues such as potholes during monsoon. We would have to carry out a pilot project„“ head of PMC’s road department said Rajendra Raut told TOI.

Source : TOI