Noida’s Parthala Chowk, a guinea pig for traffic police
Parthala Chowk is a large, unsignalled roundabout on the cusp of Vikas Marg and the Faridabad-Noida-Ghaziabad (FNG) Expressway, which is under construction. The chowk connects several areas that are crowded and prone to congestion in Noida, Greater Noida and Ghaziabad.Updated: Apr 30, 2019 15:35 IST
The Parthala Chowk intersection in Noida, near sectors 121 and 122, has been a cause of concern for residents and authorities alike. To curb congestion at the chowk, which it witnesses on a daily basis, the traffic police have tried at least three different diversion plans and several combinations of U-turns in the past six months.
Parthala Chowk is a large, unsignalled roundabout on the cusp of Vikas Marg and the Faridabad-Noida-Ghaziabad (FNG) Expressway, which is under construction. The chowk connects several areas that are crowded and prone to congestion in Noida, Greater Noida and Ghaziabad.
The Expressway goes towards Ghaziabad from the north side of the chowk. On the east is the busy Gaur/ Kisan Chowk and towards the south is Surajpur area of Greater Noida, where major administrative blocks and police headquarters of the Gautam Budh Nagar district are located.
Towards the west is Sector 71 and the densely populated 7x sectors, and further ahead, the congested industrial hub of sectors 62 and 63.
The arms of this intersection were repeatedly blocked to create U-turns and then removed. However, none seem to have worked so far.
Residents say that such experiments, done without consulting experts or regular commuters, are creating chaos in the area. The tailbacks often reach up to Gaur Chowk, also called Kisan Chowk, affecting traffic in Greater Noida as well.
“Noida needs an integrated traffic plan instead of weekly experiments on the road. They (the authority) need to take the help of experts and come up with a concrete plan, rather than go by their own estimates. However, our repeated appeals to all concerned authorities have gone unheard and we are left to suffer the resultant chaos,” Sanjeev Dixit, a resident of Sector 121, said.
Three to four hour-long snarls have become a common sight at this intersection, although the area is not even fully populated yet as most residential buildings are under-construction.
“I don’t know whether authorities are unable to figure out a solution or have simply turned a blind eye. Every few days, this intersection becomes choc-a-block and we suffer for hours on end at this particular intersection,” Abhay Pandey, a Sector 121 resident, said.
In the next few years, the traffic police say they expect the volume of traffic at this intersection to increase by 60-70%.
“The area towards Greater Noida and Noida extension has many under-construction societies which will likely be delivered to buyers soon. Towards Surajpur, the entire road is lined by multistorey residential buildings nearing completion. Once these flats are delivered and the national highway is widened, traffic at this intersection will increase tremendously, adding to congestion,” Anil Kumar Jha, superintendent of police (traffic), said.
Experts say a roundabout design is not suitable for an intersection with a high volume of traffic and that at such intersections, it become necessary to have traffic signals. However, no such measure has been taken by the traffic police or the Noida authority.
“A roundabout is for a fewer number of vehicles. It works only till traffic volume is about 10,000 vehicles an hour. Beyond that, signals should be installed as roads have reached their full capacity,” Amit Bhatt, director-integrated transport, World Resources Institute India, said.
He added that according to traffic engineering principles, traffic lights are more efficient in handling higher number of vehicles than a roundabout. However, usually, there is congestion around red lights due to obstruction from parked autos near an intersection, vendors or vehicles moving on the wrong side. Experts say closing a traffic light only means that an extended roundabout is being formed by creating U-turns. This is considered only a temporary relief, not a solution.
“The closing of a red light to create U-turns merely shifts the traffic – from the intersection to the point of the U-turn. Officials believe that if the traffic keeps moving for a bit longer, motorists will be less frustrated than they are when they have to remain idle at one spot. This, however, is a temporary relief and congestion will increase as volume of vehicles increases,” Dr Sewa Ram, professor of transport planning, School of Planning and Architecture, said.