In yet another case of ad-hoc planning, a short stretch (about 500-metres) of Hunsur Road near Jaladarshini Guest House is to be widened and straightened at a cost of Rs.12 crore (SOM dated Oct. 11, page 12).
This project is to prevent accidents on the stretch between Kalamandira and the turn near Kukkarahalli Lake where in the past many people have lost their lives negotiating the turn there.
Without questioning the genuineness of the road-widening project, it must be noted that if the stretch is widened and straightened, it will only facilitate increase in the speed of vehicles, and it is well-known that the primary cause of road accidents is speed, not negotiating turns.
This 500-metre stretch of the beautiful tree-lined road is through a heritage area with Jaladarshini, DC’s Bungalow and Regional Commissioner’s Office on one side and Kukkarahalli Lake and Kalamandira on the other side.
The road is presently 4-lane width and is provided with a median, and is quite adequate for safe and smooth flow of traffic which is anyway forced to pause at the traffic signal near Kalamandira. Furthermore, this stretch is well within city limits although it is technically an extension of the Highway and city speed limits are already notified and marked with road signs.
If vehicles maintain the prescribed speed limits, traffic accidents will certainly reduce sharply.
Increasing the width and straightening of this 500-metre stretch can facilitate vehicle movement up to Kalamandira traffic signal only. At this point, the road overbridge near CFTRI gate will constrict traffic once again. And just another 500-metres ahead is the busy traffic junction of Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa Circle (Metropole Circle), after which high traffic density determines vehicular movement and the traffic flow.
When any project is planned, it is necessary to examine whether there are other ways in which the purpose can be achieved, and what are the other costs and ground-factors which need to be considered as part of the planning process.
This project should not be carried out merely to reduce accidents caused by irresponsible driving above prescribed speed limits within the city.
The definite environmental, ecological and heritage cost by loss of trees and heritage ambience far exceeds the uncertain gain of accident reduction. Implementing and enforcing vehicle speed limits will solve the problem of accidents in this stretch of heritage road.
Finally, the National Urban Transportation Policy (NUTP) directs that movement of people must be facilitated rather than movement of vehicles. If we are to respect NUTP, Rs.12 crore will be better spent on this 500-metres stretch in constructing usable pedestrian footpaths and in effective roadside (longitudinal) drains which will preserve the road surface against rainwater damage.
Will the District in-Charge Minister drop this road widening and straightening project, and spend that Rs.12 crore on providing pedestrian footpaths and effective roadside drains?
– Maj. Gen. S.G. Vombatkere (retd.), Vijayanagar 1st Stage, 12.10.2017
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