Why do they do it?

“Richmond Circle”, I said as I hopped on to the yellow-black three wheeler. The driver cut across a crowded road to do a flashy U-turn inviting glares and screeches from other motorists. But I knew my journey had begun and I was in safe hands. This is one set of service providers that respects its customers’ time, isn’t it.

While admiring his deft maneuvering skills, pavement hopping and well timed red-signal jumps, I wished for more entertainment inside the auto. Inhaling soot was the only option – I don’t like smoking – so I started watching the meter. Time ticked slowly, so did the meter, but after a few minutes, I witnessed it. 1.50, 1.60, 1.70 … 1.90, all in about two seconds.

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Story of Bangalore traffic – in pictures

This is how it begins, so I told you a few months ago. Nothing but a no-parking sign in June. Small shops sprung up in August. September: two wheelers parked and pedestrians off the pavements. Now, no-parking sign is almost gone, and road-side parking is common on Varthur road, right next to the busy Kundalahalli intersection. Unregulated construction, irresponsible small businesses who think roads are free parking space, motorists with scant respect for no-parking signs, and no enforcement of pedestrian rights (pavements are almost gone) – this my friends, is the story of most roads and intersections in Bangalore with annoying traffic congestions. Pictures tell the story – Aug, Sep and Jan -

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BTRAC – smart signals are coming

Hope you still remember BTRAC-2010, the nice sounding traffic management project for Bangalore. Seems like KRDCL has started the process of putting up new traffic signals under this project. This bidding document talks of 204 locations for these signals. Thankfully, this document contains the specifications of these new signals as well, and they do seem smart – vehicle detectors, remote control from a Traffic Management Center, pedestrian crossings with audible alarms, and more. Have a look:

The new system shall comprise of outstation units (OU) at each intersection and an in-station unit (IU) located at the Traffic Management Center (TMC) in Bangalore city. Out station unit at any intersection shall comprise of a Vehicle Actuated Signal Controller with backup power resourses, vehicle detector and detector module, polycarbonate vehicle and pedestrian signal lamp heads with LED lamps, countdown timers, audible alarm, interconnecting cables, an appropriate interface to connect the OU with IU through a wireless or wired communication system. The in-station unit shall comprise of servers, a workstation, communication system and an operating system

Read section 4 of that document if you are curious for more. The list of 204 proposed locations is in there as well.

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How do you react?

Before I start on a long rant with my reactions, thoughts and ideas, tell me this. How should one react or behave on seeing things like these? And what should change to prevent these drivers from resorting to these shortcuts?

Its small things like these that slow our traffic down. You know, one wrongly parked vehicle, one driver on the wrong side, one red light jumper, one illegal shop on the pavements, one illegal building close to the road etc. Why do we not see any focus on eliminating these problems – sum of which is what causes most of our jams and bottlenecks – and instead we find BDA/BBMP/BCP etc trying leapfrog solutions like instant flyovers and elevated roadways?

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The rattle therapist

When I wrote about the belly hunters, rattle therapists etc, this (see picture) is one of the guys I was talking about. This one in fact is an all-in-one. A rattle therapist first, what with three speed breakers lined up to shake all the bones of disrespectfully speedy drivers. Notice that ditch right after the third hump? That is your sine-curve: a crest followed by a trough. And the sine-curve humps, by their very nature, tend to be belly hunters as well. I know, because besides rattling all my bones, this all-in-none speed breaker has scraped my car’s underbelly a few times by now!

Bangalore’s elevated roads

Dont just think the elevated expressway from Silk Board junction to Electronics City. Our city is planning for a few more elevated roads to speeden up movements in and out of the city:

1) Sirsi circle flyover to Outer Ring Road (Kengeri) – 6 km elevated. BBMP got started with this one last week by calling for RFPs (read here on BBMP website, mentions 4 lane elevated corridor).

2) Silk Board junction to Shoolay Circle. BBMP should soon be floating an RFP on this one too. Its a pretty long one, 10.5 kms going by the CTTP (here).

3) Yeshwantpur and Outer Ring Road junction – 5 km elevated. Things seem to be moving on the Nelamangala tollway project (we discussed recently). But it is not clear to me if the 5 km elevated stretch at Yeshwantpur is part of the tollway project.

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Bangalore Mangalore train – Lalu’s admission?

[Cross posted from Praja, comments off]

BTW, I read a news-piece on this train in ToI this morning, and something in there just amazed me. The piece talks about Mr Lalu Yadav flagging the Bangalore train off at Mangalore, and how he kept the audience in splits during his speech. Now, for the interesting part:

When Lalu mentioned that he knew the reasons behind the delay and put the onus on the bus and truck lobby, there was a loud roar of approval

So whats our Railway Minister saying here? That he knew about the lobbying that was going on under the table to delay the start of this train? That he can just say he ‘knew’ about it and wash his hands off? Or is he only passing the buck, to local railway bodies or the previous railway minister? Continue reading

Cities and self rule

Mayor of London, Mr Ken Livingstone, made headlines when he visited Mumbai and Delhi recently. Amongst the things he said, here is one that I thought stood out. “London mayor Ken Livingstone said on Wednesday that … when it comes to the development of a city like Mumbai, he said he was not sure if his counterpart here can do much to change people’s lives with limited executive powers.”

Thats a quote from TOI Mumbai Nov 22 2007. Truth hurts, but Mr Livingstone was almost right when he said that:

“… unfortunately the mayor of Mumbai did not have any power regarding important matters affecting the city. Almost all the powers are with the state government.”

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Airlines, staff want existing airports to stay

As per this story in Business-Standard:

“… lobbying to prevent closure of the existing facilities — at the Airport Authority of India’s Begumpet airport in Hyderabad and HAL airport in Bangalore — has got louder”

I have been predicting here that these noises will grow louder. And this newspapers story quotes an unnamed ‘official’ from Civil Aviation ministry to tell us just that:

“Yes, the crescendo is rising. In fact, we recently had a meeting in the ministry to discuss this, but we are bound by the contract,” said a civil aviation ministry official …The contracts with Bangalore … and Hyderabad International Airport(s) provide for closure of the existing facilities when the new airports start.

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Metro @ Jayanagar – how exactly will it look?

Any ideas on how exactly will Metro look at this beautiful Jayanagar road? What is the precise location and design of upcoming terminal on Nanda Talkies road?

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