Terming ‘wholesale’ construction of flyovers and underpasses and widening roads as ineffective, Praveen Sood, IPS, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) said that following rules while driving using public transportation is a better way to handle the traffic woes of Bangalore. Sood was speaking as part of a talk on ‘Role of citizens in traffic management’ at the Rastrothana Hall in 5th Block Jayanagar.
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‘Road discipline and etiquette key to regulating traffic’
Sood lamented on the lack of discipline among drivers of motor vehicles in the city. "We witness some of the most reckless drivng and it is not exaggerating if one says that the morale of the force is down because of the dangerous situations some of our policemen face everyday", he said. He urged the public to drive more carefully and avoid over speeding or jumping lanes and causing deadlocks. He said that only about 1% of the total traffic violations are actually ever fined.
"The numbers are so overwhelming that it is impossible to fine all traffic violations. Most of the times, the cost of collecting the fine is more than what the fine amounts to", he said. He also said that it is vital to register vehicles when sold for a second time and also intimate the respective RTO when someone changes their address. "If a vehicle is resold and is not registered and the second owner is involved in an accident or any violation, the police will approach the address the vehicle is registered under. Getting out of legal tangles after such incidents can get complicated."
He also acknowledged the shortcomings of the traffic police but he said they could overcome them collectively as a community and not just by playing blame games. "Our force has about 2,500 policemen working in three shifts but we are still under staffed. Citizens can bridge this gap by playing a responsible role", he said.
Sood urged more people to take up public transport and help decongest the city. He said people often compared Mumbai’s traffic to Bangalore’s saying traffic there is better than Bangalore’s. "Mumbai has a population of 1.4 crores with 20 lakh vehicles while Bangalore has a population of 80 lakhs with 40 lakh vehicles. How can the infrastructure support this kind of density?"
RWA’s can play a vital role in curbing illegal parking
Sood suggested that parking in the city should be charged, except for residents within their areas. He said that free parking enabled people to disregard other people’s inconveniences.
He hoped that active Residents’ Welfare Associations would be able to replicate the Brigade Road parking model where commercial establishments charge vehicles for parking and use the funds to manage and even improve the roads. Clamps, he said, can be bought by the associations and used to lock vehicles parked illegally and guards appointed for the job.
"Wholesale road widening and building flyovers, underpasses not effective"
Terming ‘wholesale road-widening’ as unproductive, Sood said, widening roads can be useful only when any bottlenecks nearby are removed first. "A road might be widened to 100 feet but at the end if the road narrows down to 60 feet then the capacity of the road is still equivalent to the traffic that can move through a 60 feet wide road", said Sood.
Sood said that sometimes flyovers and underpasses are taken up in a hurry without conducting the necessary studies like traffic density which are important to understand which roads need to be widened.
PCU’s above 12,000 need an underpass or a flyover. Therefore, it is important to conduct these studies first and then go ahead with such contstructions.
He stressed that traffic can only be managed and that infrastructure can never catch up with the growth in the number of vehicles that ply on the road. Today if there are 40 lakh vehicles on road and we begin building flyovers and underpasses, widening roads to manage these many vehicles, by the time we are done with the projects the number would have shot up by a few more lakhs. We cannot catch up with this growth but can only manage it effectively", said Sood. ⊕