Not Smart! Constructing Mega Circles at Unwanted Junctions
Mangaluru: Take a shoddily engineered road and add to it a dollop of reckless motorists and a drizzle of pedestrians with no sense of self-preservation – and you have a recipe for disaster. With few thousands of new registrations of vehicles every day, traffic is going to be a titanic problem in this Coastal City- and added to that what really makes a congestion much worse is due to the large unscientific circles/rotaries at various junctions. Due to poor planning while the new roads are constructed, there are cases where you can find mega circles at unwanted places, and on the other hand, there are no circles at all, where they are really needed. Not a “Smart” move for a “Smart City” like Mangaluru?
Kadri Temple road (Near Kadri Play Ground) circle
If one dissects and analyses the humongous traffic woes of the city, what stares back is the extremely poor engineering and design of roads – a ready-made recipe for frequent traffic gridlocks, made worse by reckless driving and little regard for rules. The other big culprit behind frequent traffic bottleneck is the tendency of Mangaluru’s roads to suddenly narrow in. Road engineering actually branches out of civil engineering and involves planning, design, construction, and maintenance of all things that ensure smooth flow of traffic and safety of motorists as well as pedestrians. This involves maintaining the proper design of roads, footpaths, bridges (including footbridges), and tunnels to ensure safe and effective transportation of people and goods. But that’s what is lacking here which leads into traffic jams and all kinds of problems.
Mallikatte Circle under construction
Forget about the traffic congestion on a given day on the road leading to Kadri Manjunateshwara Temple, now that a huge circle is constructed at this junction (Kadri playground) itself is a big obstruction. Vehicles coming from three directions find themselves crammed into a narrow road obstructed by the circle island. Was it really necessary to have such a large circle at this place is a question every resident of this area is asking- and no one is ready to give a proper answer. Bejai resident Ajoy D’Silva speaking to Team Mangalorean on this circle said, “I had contacted the concerned contractors while it was being constructed, but seems like everyone ignored my suggestions. This circle does obstruct vehicle movement during peak hours. The circle should have been changed at the earlier stage. I guess there will not be any option than demolition or wasting tax payers money once it is fully completed”.
Koti-Chennayya Nandigudda Circle
Yet another large circle coming up is at the Mallikatte junction, which will surely create lots of obstructions for vehicular movement from four directions. This is an example of yet another absence of proper road engineering. While the city’s vehicle population is increasing at this maddening pace, and when there is no scope for road growth with the city’s road density restricted to certain size, and now with these large circles, the traffic situation will still get worse. In this scenario, the perennial problems posed by poor road engineering (which end up with roads being designed with bottlenecks) and lack of motoring skills make a deadly combination for a city that seems to be facing “certain death”. This is the main cause of traffic congestion, causing a chain reaction of gridlocks affecting adjoining areas too – a gridlock made worse by motorists blatantly flouting traffic rules.
Take a close look at some of the critical junctions/ main roads in the city that are known to be causing pulverizing traffic jams at regular intervals due to poor road engineering, and also at some junctions due to large circles/rotaries like Nandigudda “Koti-Chennaya” Circle, Marnamikatta Circle, AB Shetty circle, State Bank Circle, Clock Tower circle, Navabharath Circle, Lady Hill Circle etc. The Koti-Chennaya circle is quite a wide one which allows only single road traffic at its sides, though the roads joining the circle are two way. Traffic jam is always noticed during peak hours near the Marnamikatta circle due to its mega size.
AB Shetty Circle
State Bank Circle
The “Mother of all these Circles” creating traffic snarls during peak hours is the “Nanthoor Circle”- and until now nothing has been done to ease out the problems faced by the motorists at this large circle- which is really not needed of that size. This circle area is always busy since it is a junction of National Highway, State Highway and city roads. The confusing design after widening the NH has now added more problems for traffic movement, which is a terrible nightmare for motorists. Social activist Hanumanth Kamath speaking to Mangalorean.com said, “While only a few of these circles are safe, the rest large circles simply take too much of space making things much worse. The problem is that MCC listens to these contractors more than they listen to public opinion. These large circles are made with the intention to make money, where a bank or other mega company will advertise on the circle- but eventually, it is neglected with wild grass growing around”.
Also, a suggestion from activist Jerald Towers to Team Mangalorean is that, where he says instead of large circles MCC should erect barricades, which can be removed as and when required depending on the flow of traffic. Surely this idea will not create any hassles or inconveniences to the motorists like the circles. “But sadly MCC is not ready to understand the problems created by these circles”, added Towers. In the meantime, MCC Mayor Harinath says that these circles were planned by engineers to tackle traffic block but many times these circles lead to traffic block. “We will evaluate this issue with engineers and experts during the next council meeting as to what could be done”, adds Mayor.
Lady Hill Circle
Clock Tower Circle
This is what Mangaluru City Corporation commissioner has to say-” Many of these circles at the junctions in the city were planned with widening ideas of roads. These circles could be maintained by organisations or any corporate companies. MCC allows it as part of the beautification of the city”. But he is not admitting nor saying anything about how much sometimes these circles lead to traffic snarls and inconvenience to motorists- Oh well!