Roundabouts are landmarks of Chandigarh. Many consider them sacrosanct and believe they add to the aesthetic value of City Beautiful. The greenery is welcome but the downside is that they hinder the smooth flow of traffic, causing loss of time and stress to road users.
Roundabouts are against the ‘smart’ concept. The objective of developing Chandigarh as a smart city is to improve the quality of life and usher in efficiency in all aspects. These circular islands have long outlived their purpose.
But the question arises, can the city’s roads be beautified without roundabouts?
Much talent exists to make that happen. The city is home to professionals who could find a way to make the crossings look pretty yet practical, replacing the obstructive and chaotic roundabouts.
The insurance companies will also be at an advantage as they will need to pay less as the number of claims will come down.
TREND AND BEND
In Chandigarh, vehicles typically approach the roundabout to cross it by heading straight or turning right. No lanes can be formed given the volume of traffic.
Since no clear protocol is followed, one is forced to keep checking which way the other driver wants to go just to avoid a dent on the car. Those having new cars are more cautious.
The last few years have made it all the more difficult with the number of vehicles multiplying on the city roads. Then there are mean machines such as the BMWs, Audis and Mercs. One is afraid of going near them for fear of financial implications.
And don’t forget the Triumphs and Harleys. Most of these are owned by 20-plus rich brats on an adrenaline rush.
Chandigarh is no more the slow and relaxed city of the 1970s. It must change with the changing times.
Roundabouts are biting the dust across the world. The only one in a New Jersey city also confused people because of too many exits. Who wants to get confused and keep looking at faces to know what to do next? More the interference when driving, more the damage.
We need to wake up and minimise the loss. Let’s say goodbye to roundabouts for a more practical and smarter alternative.
(The writer is a Panchkula-based freelance contributor)