Fast-track ongoing mass transit projects

Fast-track ongoing mass transit projects

Citizens crated the human chain against the cutting of trees for the signal free corridor at HAL airport road in Bengaluru on Sunday.-Photo/ Krishnakumar P S

How do Bengalureans see the signal-free corridors? Do they agree that these corridors could free them from the chaotic traffic congestion on most city roads? Here’s a cross-section of daily commuters articulating their opinions, problems and vision for a better city...

For Hari Ram, a software engineer, the government’s focus should be on boosting mass transport options. “They should increase the speed of the metro’s construction. If they touch roads, more problems will be created,” he opines.

Ongoing mass transit projects should be given priority. “It took me around 2.5 hours from Silk board to ITPL because roads were being dug,” he recalls. “If they are implementing it (Signal-free corridor) within the city, it will turn out to be like any another ring road. It is not practical after the city has grown. If the Metro is linked from Baiyappanahalli to Whitefield, it will be more useful.”

Since vehicles tend to speed on signal-free roads, the only option for pedestrians to cross the road would be skywalks and underpasses. But skywalks are hardly used by people while pedestrian underpasses have been notoriously unsafe.

Vignesh N, a sales and the technical manager is in favour of the signal-free corridor project but is concerned about skywalks. “Pedestrians will have to be taken care of. Although many skywalks have come up across the city, I don’t see anyone using them. Perhaps escalators might help,” he says.

On Old Airport Road, Vignesh is not convinced that the traffic jams are so bad that it warrants a signal-free project there. Besides, he is also not in favour of trees being cut.

Since signal-free roads encourage use of private vehicles, he feels it would only boost private, personal transport. “Unlike Bengaluru, Chennai manages traffic in a better way. This is because of an efficient public bus and train service there,” notes Vignesh.

To ensure that public transport moves smoothly, the roads have to be upgraded, and good last-mile connectivity guaranteed.

Rudra Manual, a retired senior Deputy General Manager at Bharat Electronics, would welcome signal-free corridors, but only if skywalks are placed at appropriate intervals. These skywalks, he says, should also be equipped with functional elevators. Agrees businessman Jitendra, “Skywalks would be a waste without lift facility.”

Another concern raised is about the design and accessibility of signal-free corridors. Subrato Chatterjee, a lead engineer in a private firm, wonders how residential areas along such corridors will be connected. More time would be spent on reaching the corridor if the diversions are far away. “Proper planning should be done to save time. Bus stops should be at specific distances and a separate lane should be provided for buses,” says Chatterjee.

Positioning bus stops smartly and improving road infrastructure will negate the need for any signal-free corridor, he adds. Pedestrians too should follow guidelines. Hardly anyone uses the skywalk in Marathahalli, he notes.
Signal-free corridors, notes network security professional Rohit Kumar, will only boost the need for more skywalks. “Since skywalks would be promoted as the only way to cross these signal-free roads, public money would be wasted in building such structures. The requirement would be for at least one skywalk for every 500 metres,” Kumar points out.

In Domlur, a skywalk is placed in the wrong location, he notes. “I don’t think signal-free roads are a good idea at this point since the city has already grown and expanded. It would be almost like a highway passing right through the city. There will be more pollution.”

The money could, instead, be used to fix potholes, and build new roads, as the city’s population is projected to grow much further.


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