Generally in Bollywood, tunes are composed first and lyrics written later to fit the tunes. In a way it is like digging a grave first and then looking for dead body to fit the size of grave. Managing traffic after opening of a newly constructed flyover or underpass in Bangalore has glaring similarities. Whereas the commuters suffer for a couple of years during the construction, the real agni pariksha for the traffic police and commuters starts after its opening. Neither has any clue as to how the traffic has to move. Whether there was any planning before the construction is a million dollar question. Is the infrastructure a mean to solve the transportation problems or an end by itself is also debatable.
Take the example of Cantonment underpass. A day after inauguration of its three vents which took more than 8 years to complete, forget police, even the civic agency which constructed the underpass had no clue which vent was meant for which traffic! Till date no one has any clue except that traffic police did some jugglery for utilizing all three vents by not so logical but out-of-box solution. The objective was to utilize the underpass irrespective of whether it solves the traffic problem or not.
Newly constructed flyover at Agara is another example where traffic on the top of flyover is not even 20% of the traffic going towards Koramangala below the flyover. The purpose of flyover was to eliminate conflicting points but the objective evaporated somewhere due to bad planning. As a result the signal free flyover is empty above and signalised intersection below is jam packed.
Have a look at flyover at Ibblur on Outer Ring Road and it is obvious that the planners forgot a road with huge vehicular movement into and out of Sun City. How a signal was designed for it by traffic police is nothing short of magic!
The strangest is the case of underpass at Malleshwaram which starts at a junction and ends at another junction. Worldwide underpasses are made to cross the junctions without stopping. Here a design is such that it would require a traffic signal in the beginning and also in the end. This means vehicles would be stranded on the up and down ramp of the underpass, thereby, making mockery of an underpass.
The day BDA flyover was opened it became nightmare for the residents of surrounding areas, more specifically, V.S.Raju Road and Serpentine Road because the planners did not realise that vehicles cannot turn at right angle immediately after exiting from the magic box. The result was that entire vehicular traffic was forced into residential areas, thereby, adversely affecting quality of the lives of residents. Agitation continued for months blaming the police for something where they had actually no role except ensuring utilisation of a badly planned infrastructure.
K.R.Circle signal lights were removed to make it signal free by creating a huge rotary despite being contrary to the cardinal principle of transportation that if a rotary cannot work, one must put a signal and if signal cannot work one must go for a flyover. Pursuing obsession with signal free corridors and despite protests from traffic police the signal was replaced by a rotary. The aesthetics improved but traffic crippled. As expected traffic police moved in and sort of solved this mess by converting rotary into a structure unparalleled in the history, which approximately resembles a pendulum clock. Magic happened and traffic moved once again. But if one has to see ultimate haphazard traffic flow one should take a bird’s eye view of K.R.Circle.
But the biggest challenge was to use Richmond Circle flyover which defied logic since its opening. True to its reputation, traffic police solved the problem by creating a signal on the top to allow traffic to cross albeit creating a world history of sort. While there was so much of criticism of creation of signal on the top, not many questioned the rationale behind flyover design in the first place. Stung by criticism for years traffic police decided to remove the signal without aggravating the traffic situation below the flyover. Six months of deliberations and half a dozen consultants later it reached nowhere. And when they were about to give up, the “eureka” happened. One of the brilliant officers came up with unthinkable i.e. convert one way ramp into two way for half the distance. After multiple measurements and putting loosely held medians in the centre ……. They did it! Signal was removed; traffic moved two ways on a ramp designed for one way! Wow! Once again they found a “dead body” to fit the “grave”! Well done traffic police!
(The writer is ADGP,police computing wing. These are his personal views)
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Thanks for the eye opening article. When ever there are conversion of some roads into one way, I always use to think, “why the police create such trouble for the commuters?”. We never think what an amount of tension and stress the traffic police have specially managing traffic in a country like India. I wonder why there is not convergence of different departments specially when the consequences hamper the progress of the State or the country? Do we have a hope for us to walk on the footpaths without breaking our bones and the residents adjoining to main roads sleep peacefully without the high sounding breaks and honking? Hoping for some change. All the best wishes and thanks again for sharing this article.