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3 dreaded alphabets

Till two years ago, the Josip Broz Tito Marg in south Delhi offered a smooth, almost signal-free ride to commuters, reports Sidhartha Roy. See Graphics | Your Comments

delhi Updated: Nov 11, 2009 01:24 IST
Sidhartha Roy

Till two years ago, the Josip Broz Tito Marg in south Delhi offered a smooth, almost signal-free ride to commuters. Then the Bus Rapid Transit struck.

The rest, as they say, is hurt-story. Today, driving between Ambedkar Nagar and Moolchand makes you wish they marketed patience in a pill.

The most congested part of the 5.8-km corridor is the 4.5-km stretch between Moolchand and Pushp Vihar. Intersections like Saket and Pushp Vihar are major bottlenecks and the hub of chaos is of course Chirag Dilli.

Lane-ful

Like most BRT systems around the world, two lanes in the middle of this corridor are reserved for buses. But while the bus lanes were carved out of the existing road, not much extra space has was been provided for other vehicles.

Black comedy

It would be funny if it weren't so frustrating. Although the BRT stretch provides the shortest link between this part of south Delhi and central city, many motorists actually take longer detours to reach their destination.

Pedestrians, who?

The BRT system has bus stops in the middle of the road but the question is: how do pedestrians reach these? The Delhi government's plan to build three foot overbridges on the stretch is yet to take shape.

Make it Wide

Experts believe the road capacity of the BRT stretch should be increased, wherever land is available. Proper pedestrian facilities would lessen the conflict between motorized traffic and those on foot.

Expert Speak

A good concept that needs some tweaking

Nalin Sinha,
Director, Safe mobility foundation

Bus Rapid Transit system is a good concept but requires some tweaking to work in Delhi, believes Nalin Sinha, Director of Safe Mobility Foundation, an advocacy group.

Sinha, also associated with the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, has been working in the field of traffic and transportation research, advocacy, training and policy matters for a decade.

“We have to plan decongestion of roads on a larger scale by carefully traffic circulation patterns, traffic volumes and demand,” he says.

According to Sinha, the ‘problem’ areas of the BRT were intersections, like Chirag Dilli. “The section between intersections usually provides smooth traffic movement.”

Sinha suggests traffic from different directions should be dispersed by providing slip roads, instead of allowing vehicles to merge at intersections.

Another aim is providing facilities for pedestrians. According to Sinha, safe transport to users of all categories is the principal aim of a BRT system.

“There should be foot-over-bridges on the corridor for pedestrians.”

Grill Session

Future BRT stretches will keep in mind all users

Arvinder Singh Lovely,
Delhi Transport Minister

What measures is the government taking to decongest the BRT? What about plans to build a parallel road to unclog the corridor?

We are working on plans to make parallel roads.I agree that motorists driving on the corridor might have to spend ten minutes extra on the stretch but the total volume of people moving faster (those traveling in buses) on the stretch has gone up really high. Also, the whole stretch has become much more safer for users. While the corridor used to witness maximum number of accidents earlier, now there are almost none, thanks to the BRT system.

The Government promised three foot- overbridges on the corridor for pedestrians in 2008 when the corridor was commissioned. What about that plan?

We have already floated tenders for construction of all the foot overbridges.

Do you plan to widen the existing BRT corridor to accommodate more private vehicles?

We might not be able to widen the road in the pilot BRT stretch but from the lessons we have learnt here, we would ensure no section of road users would face a problem in the future BRT corridors, be it bus users or motorists. Each new BRT corridor has been planned and designed according to the specific problems and demands of the area.

What kind of changes have you made in the designing of future BRT corridors to make them less congested?

Take for instance the planned BRT corridor in East Delhi between Karawal Nagar and the Commonwealth Games village. There, both the bus lanes are on the same side of the road and we are also widening the road for motorists. Also, areas with more cycle users would have separate cycle tracks and so on.