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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Dec 2014

Road design flaws, traffic bottlenecks choke crossings

Deevakar Anand and Siddhartha Rai, Hindustan Times  Gurgaon, June 06, 2013
First Published: 01:17 IST(6/6/2013) | Last Updated: 01:58 IST(6/6/2013)

Lack of a comprehensive traffic management plan and faulty road design has turned the Millennium City into a commuter's nightmare.  

Frequent jams, traffic bottlenecks, lack of road space, non-functional traffic signals and unmanned crossings are major trouble areas.

Flaws in road design force commuters to take a detour of seven kilometres from Rajiv Chowk to the Kherki Dhaula toll plaza in order to take a u-turn. Gurgaon residents risk their lives while maneuvering through high-speed vehicles as they negotiate a u-turn to go to Ambience Mall.

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Getting stuck for 30 minutes at the Signature Tower Chowk during peak hours is a routine affair and the absence of a traffic signal at the Huda City Centre Metro station, which is often unmanned, only makes things worse. 

According to the mobility plan on Gurgaon prepared by the Department of Town and Country Planning, the average speed of intra-city traffic in the city is 23 kilometres per hour. Motor vehicles use 60% of the total roads in Gurgaon whereas public transport occupies only 10% of road space. Only 23% roads have walkable footpaths.

Nearly 2,300 kms of internal road network notwithstanding, the Millennium City lacks adequate space, thanks to the surging number of vehicles on roads.

Nearly 60,000 new vehicles are registered every year in the city and 10 lakh vehicles ply on city roads everyday that include around five lakh inter-city vehicles plying mainly on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway and Gurgaon-Faridabad Expressway.

At major Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway crossings like Shankar Chowk, Iffco Chowk, Signature Tower and Rajiv Chowk, ill-designed u-turns, faulty traffic lights or their absence, oversized concrete triangular structures that bifurcate traffic through slip roads make driving on Gurgaon roads a horrible experience.   

"While cities like Ahmedabad have taken a lead in addressing traffic woes as their top priority, there seems to be a complete policy paralysis in Gurgaon when it comes to planning and implementing models of traffic management," says Sarika Panda, a city resident and an urban planning expert, who is working with the Haryana Urban Development Authority to promote non-motorised transport (NMT) in Gurgaon. Heavy reliance on private cars as there is hardly any public transport system in the city adds to the chaos, she adds further.

City resident and former joint commissioner of police (traffic), Delhi, Maxwell Pereira points out that pedestrians and cyclists are left out when planners make crossings and roads in India.

Gurgaon joint commissioner of police Maheshwar Dayal, who is presently also looking after the traffic department, says all stakeholders are trying to work in tandem.

"We hold routine meetings with civic bodies and make them aware of design faults at crossings. We have raised the issue of the bottleneck at Sirhaul toll plaza bottleneck on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway at highest levels including in courts," he says.

What police should do | The way forward: what needs to be done | Vox pop


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