BANGALORE: Standing in long hours of traffic congestion is not a new experience to Bangaloreans, but Monday, gave more woes than blues to the city. While North and West Bangalore had rows of vehicles chock-a-block for over two hours, Central Bangalore too had unending jams. It was only South Bangalore that escaped the ugly traffic jams. Of the 2,800 task force of the Bangalore Traffic Police (BTP), more than half of them were in action.
Helping the men in uniform was the Internet, with constant updates in BTP’s website, Facebook and Twitter. Also, the SMSes from BTP kept punching in on subscribers’ mobile, updating them about the traffic and suggesting the best possible alternative roads.
While in some areas it was the infrastructure development works by civic bodies that left the vehicles battling for space, in many other areas it was celebrations and protest. “We have been on our toes all day long. There has been no respite for traffic cops,” said M A Saleem, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic and Internal Security). Traffic circled Rajajinagar on one side and extended up to Majestic and City Railway Station. “All roads between Binny Mill and Hunasemara Junction were blocked all through the day because of the BWSSB work. This would last for another 10-15 days. We are advising people to take alternative routes and have put up boards instructing vehicles about the diversions,” said Saleem. Meanwhile, on the occasion of Rathasapthami, residents of Adugodi celebrated Adugodi Jaathre, blocking the whole of Adugodi main road. This led to traffic jams from Double Road, Kanteerva Stadium way up to Madiwala.
Developmental works in R M Road, Magrath Road, OPH Road and Millers Road had over 6,000 vehicles stuck in jams from 9 am to 6 pm. Meanwhile, the Goods Shed Road and Gubbi Thotadhappa Road bore the brunt of heavy traffic because of ongoing BWSSB work. “The whole area was a mess. The pollution level was high and there were not many cops diverting the traffic. The road had been in bad shape for months now, but today’s experience was horrifying,” said Sudeep Menon, a student.
Increase in accidents
With the huge jams and soaring frustration levels, the city also witnessed many accidents during the peak hours. An accident between a car and a truck at Nayandahalli led to slow moving traffic for over four hours. “The truck broke down here early in the morning, but because of the traffic, the truck could not be moved. The vehicle was cleared at 4.30 pm easing out the jam. Two hours later, another jam started at 6 pm that went up to 9 pm,” said a constable. A truck breakdown near 29th Main, BTM Layout, led to traffic between Silk Board and Jayadeva. Traffic halted for over three hours in the area.
Traffic around Double Road BMTC Junction was affected for an hour after a car ran into a signal pole. At Sheshadripuram, post a small accident between a pedestrian and a two-wheeler, traffic had to be diverted from inside Kumara Krupa Road to Windsor Manor and Malleswaram. Palace Grounds and Sadashivanagar too experienced slow moving traffic due to this unanticipated diversion, the local traffic police stated.
TRAFFIC ALERTS ON THE BUZZ
The Bangalore Traffic Police reached out to social networking sites a few months ago. Prior to this, it was only the mobile SMS service that would alert people about traffic blocks. The Facebook and Twitter page of the BTP was active all day, with updates posted every 5 minutes by either the department or commuters.
“We had installed 20 Variable Messaging Boards (LED boards) across the city. These boards flashed messages about jams in all areas,” said Saleem.
The BTP has over 19,000 subscribers.
“To find alternatives to the city’s traffic, we started a carpooling website called the www.commuteasy.com. We have over 60,000 members,” said Neil Chauhan, Radio One. “We had been sending updates at the rate of 2 messages per hour, and many officials extended their shifts too,” said an official from the Traffic Management Centre. Meanwhile, Radio stations too were active with constant updates.