Congestion in the interiors

Traffic Build-Up

Congestion in the interiors

In the last decade, there’s been a change in the distribution of traffic across the roads of the City. Congestion and jams that were earlier restricted to arterial roads have now started to form in many interior areas as well. The narrow, one-lane roads which criss-cross many of Bangalore’s residential layouts are particularly prone to blocks but it’s only the last few years which have seen a serious build-up of traffic on them.

Partly, this is because sudden commercial growth spurts — in areas like Koramangala and Indiranagar — have contributed to space issues.

Shops and department stores draw in customers, but don’t always provide adequate parking space for them, which is why traffic tends to spill over into neighbouring localities.

Beena Pillai, an advocate who lives in Indiranagar, feels that there should be a clear-cut demarcation between areas which are residential and those which are commercial.

 “I live near 80 Foot Road in Indiranagar and the situation here is terrible. In fact, a lot of the residents here worry about letting their children play outside because of the kind of traffic we’ve been seeing on the roads of the colony. Cars are lined up in front of every house — mostly, they are here because of the commercial establishments nearby,” she explains, adding, “The issue in Indiranagar is that a lot of people are converting residential houses into commercial set-ups, but don’t provide facilities to manage the traffic that this will pull in.”

The problem, she feels, is heightened by the fact that the interiors of residential areas have no scope for development.

“The roads here are very narrow, but it isn’t possible to widen them because there are houses on both sides. Honestly, I don’t know what steps can be taken to curb this problem,” she admits.

Another reason that traffic is spilling over into residential areas is that with build-up at signals on main roads, many drivers feel they can save time by cutting through these neighbourhoods.

Anjan, a professional, has been travelling the same route to work for the last five years and claims that there’s been a significant increase in his travel time.  “My workplace is near Trinity Circle and I take a deviation through a purely residential part of CV Raman Nagar to get there. Earlier, this used to be fairly empty — but now, even this narrow short-cut has become congested. Drivers prefer to take this route because on the main road, you can get stuck at a single traffic light for up to ten minutes,” he notes.

Uday, who works for a BPO, feels that one way to alleviate this problem is to deploy more policemen to guide the traffic flow in interior areas. “At crowded junctions, where there are no signals, a single traffic policeman can make a huge difference,” he says, adding, “If the traffic situation gets much worse in residential areas, I think there’s going to be a serious need for more manpower at certain points.”

However, M A Saleem, the additional commissioner of police (traffic), points out that this is easier said than done. “Our presence is restricted in residential areas because we don’t have the manpower to monitor each and every lane. We only have enough strength to control the main roads,” he states, adding that the focus should be on clamping down on illegal commercial establishments, which are the root of the problem.

“The main issue is that people are converting residential spaces into commercial set-ups without permission. Look at Koramangala for instance — there are as many as 500 restaurants in a limited space, there. Obviously, for such a set-up, a lot of parking space is required — it creates a lot of problems,” he concludes.

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