Tree-lined August Kranti Marg used to be one of those lazy, side roads that motorists sometimes took when traffic gripped adjoining Aurobindo Marg and Josip Broz Tito Marg in south Delhi.
But those were the halcyon pre-BRT days.
With the coming of the Bus Rapid Transit corridor and jams becoming a constant feature on Josip Broz Tito Marg, more and more drivers took to August Kranti Road — also known as Khel Gaon Marg.
The indolent tiny vein was transformed into a major traffic artery. Result: long queues of vehicles at signals and frequent jams during peak office hours.
As if the Delhi government's decision to reserve one lane on Josip Broz Tito Marg, between Moolchand Hospital and Ambedkar Nagar, exclusively for buses was not enough, ongoing Metro work on Aurobindo Marg has made the situation worse. Bikers, cars and even buses now jostle for space on August Kranti Marg every morning and evening, making commuting a nightmare.
Motorists complain that the road does not have the capacity to handle such huge rush of vehicles.
“We suffer both on the BRT as well as this road. There is no respite,” says Deep Singhal, a resident of Asiad Village on Khel Gaon Road.
If commuters are sore, those with their houses on the main road in colonies like Niti Bagh amd Mayfair Garden are chafing too.
The honking of horns and smells of pollution have robbed the quiet neighborhood of its charm, say residents. So great is the dread now of living in a house up front that unlike in other areas where properties on the main road attract better prices, in these upmarket colonies people shell out more for a flat or a floor inside.
Khel Gaon Marg is synonymous to many people with Ansal Plaza, south Delhi’s first mall and now a Delhi icon by anyone’s standards. The HUDCO tower and the Siri Fort Institutional Area —sit here as well, as do the lawns at Asiad Village complex — a very popular wedding venue and Siri Fort auditorium, where the Capital rushes for its fima and cultural festivals.
Add the number of residential colonies on either side, and you get the picture: travelling on Khel Gaon Marg is not a khel.
According to experts, the traffic on the road has increased by at least 20-25 per cent in the past 2-3 years.
The problem, say commuters, is aggravated during the wedding season or when there is a concert or a show at the Siri Fort auditorium.
“So many cars come to this area whenever there is a function at the auditorium or in the lawns, says J.K.Dixit, a resident of village Shahpur Jat.
“Since the parking space is limited, people often park their vehicles on the main road itself, leading to chaos. Vehicles entering the parking lot or coming out of it also obstruct smooth movement of vehicles.”
Motorists suggest that an underpass should be constructed near Siri Fort auditorium and sports complex to ensure that vehicles going to these places do not obstruct the straight moving traffic.
“The sports complex at Siri Fort will also be used for the Commonwealth Games,” says Gulshan Singh, a resident of Hauz Khas.
“Traffic movement near Ansal Plaza shopping mall used to be chaotic and the underpass helped in improving traffic flow there. A similar underpass here can really help ensuring smooth passage for vehicles.”