Friday, November 21, 2014

Traffic chaos, confusion at Raheja's Mindspace Circle

Where's my share of the road? This is the question I'm bogged down with almost every evening as I wait helplessly in my car - tired and frustrated, inching towards Raheja's Mindspace Circle, going towards Gachibowli. This is one of the wide-enough roads, well equipped for heavy traffic, but absolutely mismanaged. But who's to be blamed? Just the traffic police? Definitely not.There are hundreds like me who are caught in the regular snarls and gridlocks at different parts of Hyderabad. But, this circle stands out in terms of the intensity of the problem - both in terms of the number of vehicles and the degree of chaos. Here's an indication of the typical scenario on a weekday evening, courtesy Google Maps. How I wish I could take pictures of the actual scene!
Imagine the harrowing experience one goes through - swarms of vehicles coming out of Raheja's almost bumping into each other, creating a virtual hell near the circle, as they criss cross the traffic moving in the straight direction, making their way towards left, right or straight. And it is the vehicles going right that create the deadlock. Forget about lane discipline, it never existed in our city. Buses, trucks, water tankers, cars, bikes -bumper to bumper, mirror to mirror - all trying to overtake each other on that small stretch - leading to more chaos humanly impossible to be controlled by one traffic police at the circle. Least surprising, since we know how well our roads are planned - mostly as an afterthought, stretched and widened as and when the traffic grows. This wouldn't have been the case if the R&B, GHMC and traffic authorities could have an integrated preview of things.

Roads, buildings and traffic policing
Call it myopic planning, mismanagement or whatever it's high time we had someone looking into the issues emerging from ever-increasing traffic choking our roads. To some extent the problem at Raheja's could be solved if the Entry gate is limited to entering the IT park and the exit could be planned from other gate. But, apparently, this doesn't seem to be a viable solution as per the Cyberabad Traffic Police, as mentioned in a response to my complaint on their website. This leaves me with some more pertinent questions:

What comes first? the buildings or the roads? 
From what we experience everyday it's obvious that there was no systematic plan to anticipate the traffic volume after the buildings are occupied. With hardly any improvement in public transport the number of private vehicles is bound to multiply in the coming years and one wonders how this would be tackled!

Is it like leave it to traffic police...but how will they take care?
Just look at the traffic police...aren't we expecting too much from them for the follies and faults of the builders and so-called planners. Policing can only control things to some extent, how do we go to the roots of the problem and avoid similar things in future?

What about traffic jams on the flyovers?
Instead of easing the traffic flow, the flyover, especially at the Hitech city railway station is normally jammed in peak hours. How can this problem be solved? Seems like flyover will only 'delay'a traffic jam and create it elsewhere.

'Free lefts' are free for whom? 
At almost every crossroad the so-called 'free lefts' are invariably blocked by all those who wish to overtake the rest by taking advantage of the left. And funny thing is even the large buses try to squeeze into that space! And the poor commuters who were really supposed to take the free left are left to fend for themselves, waiting for the signal to turn green.

How many U-turns can one have on a road that is hardly a kilometre long? 
U-turns at gaps in the median have come as easy solutions to manage traffic, leaving the commuters literally at their own risk. With no control of speed from the other side, one can only pray that the speedsters are in full control of their vehicles, at least if they cannot slow down as they are supposed to.

Why are traffic problems solved in piecemeal way without any longterm view?
Most solutions crop up overnight in the form of new U-turns at the medians, one-ways and other diversions. This will only postpone the actual issues; what we need is a holistic view by looking at all the interdependencies and intricacies of the way our roads are used.

One can go on listing the problems we face everyday and don’t even think twice about how we've learnt to take them in our stride. Complaining to the authorities can only bring it to their notice, for all we know, they are already aware of it and have remained unresponsive. As we've seen, temporary solutions are worse than the problems themselves. Till then, it's left to us, how we take it - either we ignore it and be a part of the clutter or voice it and try to find a solution that drives at least, some traffic sense.

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