No fatalities for a year, Hero Honda Chowk out of ‘black spot’ list
After Gurugram traffic police implemented road safety measures at the Hero Honda Chowk on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway, no road fatalities were reported at this junction from April last year to this April, said officials in the know of the matter on Wednesday.
Hero Honda Chowk — now renamed as Eklavya Chowk — was one of the major “black spots” in the city. A black spot is a place on a road, which is considered to be dangerous because several accidents have happened there.
According to a report by Gurugram Vision Zero (GVZ), a road safety programme by the district administration, 21 road fatalities were recorded at the Hero Honda Chowk between 2016 and 2021. “Turning a black spot into a ‘fatality and accident-free spot’ is a major achievement for any city. We are looking at several other junctions and stretches where such changes could be executed,” said Nishant Kumar Yadav, deputy commissioner of Gurugram district administration.
The road safety measures implemented by the Gurugram traffic police, in association with non-governmental organisation (NGO) Trax, by March last year included redesigning pedestrian islands, installing rumble strips, bollards, and painting zebra crossings at various points along the Hero Honda Chowk.
According to the traffic police officials, pedestrian islands witnessed a major overhaul at the junction. Pedestrian islands are essentially raised and wide medians, which provide a safe space for pedestrians to wait while crossing a junction. Usually, such structures are built on wide intersections, which witness high-speed traffic movement. Earlier, a small pedestrian island was located on the Subhash Chowk-Hero Honda Chowk carriageway. The officials of the Gurugram traffic police and representatives of Trax extended the island by 10ft and placed slopes at the entry and exit of the island, so that it is accessible by physically disabled people, too. Similar changes were made at the pedestrian island located on the Delhi-Jaipur service lane. This pedestrian island, however, was fenced with metallic grills and was not accessible. The traffic police constructed a pedestrian island on the Jaipur-Delhi service lane, which was earlier missing there.
Anurag Kulshrestha, president of Trax, said that bollards were also placed at various points along the junction to prevent vehicles from parking at spaces meant for pedestrian movement, and dedicated auto and taxi stands were also set up. Rumble strips were installed along all three sides of the junction, just before the pedestrian crossings and zebra crossings were painted. The junction did not have speed calming measures earlier, Kulshrestha said.
Ravinder Singh Tomar, deputy commissioner of police (traffic), said, “Gurugram traffic police and Trax in September 2020 conducted a joint safety audit to determine the existing problems at the junction. Based on the findings, changes were made at the junction, to make it safer for commuters. The Hero Honda Chowk experiment helped us understand the challenges, and using this model, we executed similar changes at Rajiv Chowk two months ago.”
Pedestrians, meanwhile, acknowledged that “crossing the junction now is much safer”, but mentioned that the absence of facilities, especially towards the Ambekar Chowk side, means that the “safety there is only momentary”. “Earlier, I used to walk almost an extra kilometre during the night to access the foot-over-bridge (FOB) located near the traffic police station to cross the highway. While crossing the junction now is safer, the roads leading to Ambedkar Chowk have no facilities for the pedestrians, so the safe passage is only momentary,” said Anmol Sharma, a resident of Sector 37.
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