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Poor road geometry at junctions

Bangalore, Rasheed Kappan, June 19, 2013, DHNS:

Streamline traffic lanes, enhance pedestrian space, see the change in Nanjappa Circle

Anatomy of an intersection: The proposed redesign offers an aesthetic, functional and pleasing upgrade. dh Photo

Junction chaos is Bangalore traffic’s notorious bane. But if you thought vehicular traffic is the only cause, here’s some course correction: Most intersections in the City score poorly in “Road and Junction Geometry,” a critical concept that mandates for instance, uniformity in width of roads while approaching and leaving a junction.

Urban design experts are convinced that a comprehensive, scientific upgrade of these crowded cross-over points is the only way to decongest junctions and boost the much-needed pedestrian spaces.

Haphazardly erected traffic signboards, clueless pedestrians taking dangerous jay-walks, irregular road widths, signals with unscientific 24/7 timings. A typical junction in the city is an invitation to traffic management disaster. A team of urban design architects had worked out detailed drawings to show how these choking points could be decongested by simple, cost-effective tweakings.

Correcting the road geometry to ensure a well laid-out road and pedestrian crossing plan, they had proposed a total functional and image makeover.

The Nanjappa Circle junction near the Hockey Stadium in Shantinagar was one such intersection identified for a complete overhaul by an urban design architects collective comprising Venkatramanan Associates, Architecture Paradigm, Apparatus Media Lab and Helping Hands.

As Naresh V Narasimhan, Architect Principal at Venkataramanan Associates explained to Deccan Herald, the proposal was to streamline the vehicular traffic lanes (rationalising geometries), utilise unused and unassigned spaces for well-defined footpaths, improve landscape and soft-mobility infrastructure (pavements, traffic island and public furniture) and add roundabouts, medians and pedestrian crossings.

Typical sample

Linking Langford Road and Rhenius Street, the junction is today a typical sample of poor design. Pedestrians are forced to walk on the road thanks to undefined footpaths; narrow sidewalks are occupied for two-wheeler parking, and unassigned spaces have turned garbage and debris dumping sites.

The proposed upgrade would boost footpath space on Langford road, enhance the Raintree island with the existing Ambedkar statue on Rhenius Street, introduce public toilets and a bus bay at the Hockey stadium side of Langford Road, besides pedestrian crossings and no-stopping areas.
   
Also on the agenda is a “Little Plaza” at the junction outside the shops on Langford road leading towards Hosur road.  This provides a useful pausepoint on a linear path. In simply improving the plaza around the statue, a public space is forged at the focal point of Nanjappa circle.

Providing high quality pedestrian space with minimal interventions and at a low budget is critical to the whole plan. Currently, across the City, pedestrian traffic on pavements moves in columns that are pushed and shoved.

“Everyone is forced to move at the speed dictated by the pedestrian stream. The elderly, the disabled and children are at an obvious disadvantage in not being able to keep up,” observed the project architects.


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