Pedestrian-controlled signal lights as options

Pedestrian-controlled signal lights as options

Bengaluru City Police had introduced a unique Pedestrian Controlled Signal Light (PCSL) system way back in 2005. Walkers simply had to press a button to turn on a red light and halt passing vehicles.

The PCSL was introduced when Ajai Kumar Singh was the Police Commissioner. “The traffic police converted many roads into one-ways for the first time in Bengaluru in 2005. Many roads lacked centre medians and the police had to ensure safe crossing facility for pedestrians. Hence, they introduced PCSL,” M A Saleem, who was DCP (traffic) then, recalls.

The police also launched Safe Routes to School in 2005 and many PCSLs came up near schools to facilitate children to cross roads safely. Currently, PCSLs are still working near Kamalabai School on Queen's Road, Bishop Cotton Girls School, Residency-Convent Road, near Fortis Hospital on Cunningham Road and near Mallya Hospital on Vittal Mallya Road. In all, 53 PCSLs are now in operation, police say.

However, PCSLs have been withdrawn on many roads being upgraded under the TendureSURE project. “BBMP has given funds to the traffic police to instal PCSLs. These  will come up once the upgrading is completed,” informs a senior police officer.

One major limitation of PCSL, as Ajai Kumar Singh put it, is that it cannot be introduced on all roads, particularly on highways and Outer Ring Road. “The average vehicular speed on NHs is 70km. This will come down if PCSLs are introduced,” says Hithendra, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic).

Instead, the police bat for subways and other crossing facilities on roads where there is more space. The police have decided to manage the traffic and help pedestrians through PCSLs where there is less space on roads, he says.

For pedestrians, the reduced time allotted for crossing at major junctions has emerged as a big challenge. “The time fixed by the traffic police is very less and is highly impractical. Women, children and elderly people find it extremely difficult to cross roads within 15 seconds,” says Singh.

“The traffic police should conduct surveys at least on some roads and increase the time fixed for pedestrian crossing. More time could be given during non-peak hours and less time during peak hours at major junctions,” he suggests.

Singh seeks stern action against drivers who don't stop for pedestrians crossing the roads. “Drivers should respect the right of pedestrians. Pedestrians too shouldn’t be negligent while crossing roads and should avoid jaywalking,” he says.

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