It is the road at the heart of City Beautiful. Appropriately named Madhya Marg, or central road, it also witnesses all that is wrong with the traffic situation in Chandigarh. The UT police have identified 21 accident-prone stretches on the three main roads — Madhya Marg, Dakshin Marg and Vikas Marg — and eight of these are on Madhya Marg.
Not surprisingly, an analysis of the mishap data shows most accidents take place on Madhya Marg among these three roads. There has been a slight ebb in the figures, but the problem remains severe and gets worse as we enter the foggy winter.
Till August this year, the road has seen 13 accidents; last year it saw 57, and 58 in 2012. In all, the city has seen 239 accidents till August. No less than 86 have seen fatalities. There have been 153 non-fatal accidents recorded across the city so far this year.
Heavy traffic, prime route
On Madhya Marg, the railway station traffic lights have seen 13 deaths in the past four years.
Since this is the only main road connecting Chandigarh and Panchukula, there is already heavy traffic, which is made worse as it is the only preferable road that connects towards the train station too.
From the same crossing, a road turns to the IT Park, which makes the traffic lights a meeting point for all sorts of traffic and routes. In 2012, 17 accidents were reported on this stretch; nine last year; though this year two accidents have been reported so far.
The volume of traffic in the day makes it a choking point, and the possibility of accidents increases in the winter.
The primary cause is underlined by the fact that more than 2 lakh commuters travel between Chandigarh and Panchkula every day, especially in the morning and evening hours synced with office timings. Even the vehicles coming from other states, using Chandigarh as transit, cross the stretch to go towards Himachal Pradesh.
House of crowding
The traffic lights on the Housing Board Chowk have Panchkla on one side, Manimajra on the other. The road leads to Himachal straight ahead. Here, 12 deaths have been reported in the past four years. No less than 27 accidents took place at this spot in 2012; nine last year, and five so far in 2014.
As it is a further extension of the railway light point road, high speed remains a major culprit. Heavy pedestrian movement due to proximity to Kalagram, the Manimajra market, a bus stop and the Mauli Jagran colony is an added headache. There is no segregation of traffic even though the road is wide enough, so heavy traffic such as trucks and loaders originating from the transport area merge with lighter traffic here.
Hospital gate mess
The road in front of the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) has seen 15 deaths in four years. This is the main gate in front of a gate of the Panjab University campus, where traffic presents a major threat to pedestrians in particular.
Since PGIMER is a premier institute frequented by people from across the northern region, the volume is significant. Six accidents were reported here in 2012; last year the number went up to 13, while this year has seen three accidents till August.
What makes it worse is the fact that the road is no longer a virtual dead end. It has been widened and now connects Mullanpur, or New Chandigarh, in Punjab too with Chandigarh.
On the one side of the road are patients and attendants going to the PGIMER; on the other are students going to PU; while motorists to and from Punjab, and even the industrial town of Baddi in Himachal, merge into the mess.
There are demands of large signboards, proper management of the traffic, and pelican lights for heavy pedestrian movement. But nothing concrete has been done so far.
Even Matka Chowk, the stretch dividing Sectors 7 and 19; the grain market roundabout, and the transport area lights in Secotr 26 also witness clogs.