Fear for life drives Baner residents towards road safety  | pune news | Hindustan Times
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Fear for life drives Baner residents towards road safety 

The team put together ‘tracker’, an excel sheet which lists traffic related issues specifically on Baner road

pune Updated: Jul 06, 2017 16:54 IST
Prachi Bari
Residents took part in a walkathon organised by an NGO to create awareness on road safety in Baner.
Residents took part in a walkathon organised by an NGO to create awareness on road safety in Baner.(HT Photo)

Baner residents woke up to the news of yet another accident that took place at around 9.30 am near Icon Tower on Wednesday.

Mahendra Patil, driver of a car rental agency, was crossing the road as usual on Wednesday morning when woman speeding on a two-wheeler lost control and hit him. According to eye witness Abhay Bagal, IT professional , Patil parked his vehicle and was crossing to the opposite side of the road, when the woman rammed into Patil head on, leaving him in a pool of blood. Chattushringi police has gathered a 20 seconds CCTV footage from the camera installed at the State Bank of India branch in the vicinity.

Baner road has yet again become a death zone if one has to count the number of accidents that take place in a weeks’ time. Balewadi and Baner residents said they are witnesses to or hear of atleast two or three small accidents taking place in the area.

“We can hear the roar of the cars speeding in the night. This road has become a giant racing track. One only has to venture out in the night on your own to simply see vehicles zooming past paying no heed to incoming traffic or people,” said Mamta Kothari, resident of Beverly Hills. 

Finally tired and frustrated of the traffic, a group of people of the Baner Balewadi Residents Association (BBRA) decided to take up the issue and conduct a survey. 

 The BBRA started as a group two years ago and traffic was one of the most important issues that residents wanted to tackle. Baner residents Kishore Hosangady, an IT expert and Pramod Athalye, transportation engineer, decided to take up traffic management and worked on a plan of action. 

“We were fed up of the traffic and decided to take onus of doing something about it. There was no action from authorities of any kind and the pedestrians too complained of not being able to cross the road,” said Pramod.   

This idea of conducting a survey, came about soon after the horrifying accident when a car driven by Sujata Shroff crushed the lives of young Isha Vishwakarma and her mother Pooja while badly injuring the Shaikh family. 

There were core issues that needed to be addressed which were awareness on traffic rules, compliance of rules and infrastructure. The duo worked side by side with other residents all pitching in with ideas to create and set up guidelines for traffic safety on the Balewadi-Baner road. 

 Thus the team created a tracker which was submitted to Ashok Morale, DCP Traffic. This tracker is an excel sheet which lists traffic related issues specifically on Baner road. This list contains the description of the issue and the action required to resolve the issue. It is hoped that Baner road will become a model for the rest of the city as part of the Smart City project so that this could be replicated across the city and later across India. 

This pilot project on Baner road should become the best planned and designed road in the country incorporating world standards. That is the goal of this initiative. Some of the suggestions especially towards the end, may need funds from the Smart City budget. 

“The issues listed here will be tracked on an ongoing basis and modified and increased with time,” said Kishore, the IT expert. He further explained, “For issues resolved within the target date, it will be highlighted in green. For any delays, the issue will be highlighted in yellow. For issues delayed beyond a week, it will be highlighted in amber and for issues delayed beyond two weeks it will highlight in red and be escalated to the DCP.” 

 “Kishore and I spent a total of 18 hours for about a week standing on the road, counting the number of vehicles, the signal timings and the time it took for the pedestrians to cross the road,” informs Pramod. “We started from Veritas corner followed by Signet corner, Balewadi phata and Saikar chowk which leads to Highstreet Balewadi. 

 The survey was conducted during peak hours, non peak hours and on the weekends where upon we realised that Saturdays were a major traffic hassle and the police would switch off the traffic signals during the day, which we thought was a bad idea.” 

 They have suggested several suggestions like for instance increase in the penalty for violators which allows the policemen to get a percentage of it to reduce the bribe and corrupt practices. We are also planning to approach the insurance companies where upon if there are frequent violators then the premium on their insurance would be higher. 

If we could convince the authorities of this survey’s usage and could get them to implement it, then it will help make this road accident-free and residents will live without fear. 

 They are helped in their findings by Safe Road Foundation who recently held a walkathon to create awareness about road safety. Samairah Nee Nargis Shaikh, director of NGO, Safe Roads Foundation said, “ I realised that the entire stretch of Baner road is accident prone. There are faded markings of leftover pedestrian crossings, no dividers, no barricades, nothing which talks of safety of the pedestrian or of the vehicle users. The site is totally neglected and it seems to have slipped from the minds of the office bearers to take care of this road.”