Motorists Like It, Shop Owners Hate It- Signal Cones put up for Free Left Turn near Bendore
Mangaluru: A few days ago when the traffic cops erected a New ‘One way’ sign at the entrance of Balmatta New Road aka F M Coelho Road (road going from Falnir towards Jyothi Circle/KMC Hospital) it created controversies and “Two Way” talk between the Police and the public, including auto-rickshaw drivers. Now yet another plan enforced by the traffic police by erecting signal cones for free left turn in order to easy movement of traffic near Bendore Circle (in front of Vas Bakery/More grocery store) has shop owners on that stretch of the road raise their voices, stating that it not shoppers friendly idea- where to find a parking spot has been a a big problem.
While most cities in the world have a free-left policy (after accounting for pedestrians crossing the road) which helps ease traffic congestion at the signals. One of the main reasons why traffic in Mangaluru is choked is inadequate vehicle passage when the signal turns green — it’s either poor driving skills, potholed roads forcing traffic to slow down or pedestrians crowding the junction. But by introducing Free-left turns help by reducing pressure on the limited tarmac when the signal is red. Traffic flows along an arc and gradually merges with the one at the right angle to the junction (as opposed to right-angled junctions where traffic only from one side is allowed at a time). But in this Bendore area where traffic lights are not there, why even bother to have a free left turn.
It’s nice to note that the City Traffic police are coming up with various plans to control and easy flow of traffic, but unfortunately they are facing all kinds of complaints and arguments with the public and motorists. The reason because they are not doing the right way. Their plans are all one sided, thereby forgetting the others. Bumper-to-bumper traffic, the wait for signals to turn green and raised tempers caused by the time taken to cross important stretches in the heart of the city, are issues familiar to any Mangalorean. As a solution to these problems, the traffic police have proposed to come up with one way entry signs, free left turn signs etc. Many plans have already been drafted and also includes reversing the flow of traffic on some roads.
While many motorists and commuters welcome this Free Left turn near Bendore, but the shop owners have been losing revenue, because of no parking allowed on the Free left turn stretch of the road. Also due to this new plan, two-wheelers ares seen parked all along the footpath, making the pedestrians to walk on the road. In case, a four wheeler happens to park on the free left spot, then the entire plan is screwed up- and it has been happening. (see pics of vehicle parked). Ever since the cops introduced this plan, not even a single cop has been posted to monitor the activity or to instruct motorists/commuters of the new plan.
An employee of More grocery store speaking to Team Mangalorean said that after the signal cones were erected for free left turn, they have lost many many of their regular customers since they can’t park their vehicles. The business has been dull for the last few days due to this new plan by traffic cops, he added. The owner of a bakery there also was not happy of this new road plan by the cops, which has also resulted in slow business at the bakery. Not only the shop owners are angry, even their customers are fuming since they have to walk quite a distance after parking their vehicles. There is hardly any parking available on both sides of the road, after the road was re done. Even the Swachh Bharath circle with monument of Mahatma Gandhi opposite to Vas bakery has been demolished. No more circle it seems.
Also parking of school vehicles on busy roads, parking of vehicles by apartment residents on the streets contribute to traffic congestion during peak hours- Police should look into this situation first. By simply prohibiting parking on these main roads, half the traffic problems can be resolved. Congested roads are a headache for many modern cities, but what are the solutions? And can a city ever banish them completely? Traffic jams are the bane of motorists’ lives, whether it’s the daily bottleneck during the commute to work, or endless delays on motorways at the start of the holidays. Jams are not only frustrating, they are also a major contributor to air pollution, and that’s bad not just for our climate, but everybody’s health too. While every city has its unique set of traffic problems, there are a few common issues: many people insist on driving their own car, instead of sharing rides or using a bicycle; up to a third of cars on roads are drivers looking for a place to park, and then there’s the human factor: most of us simply are not very efficient drivers.
In conclusion, in my perspective, there is no need to blame the police. Many think the various plans taken up by traffic police don’t go far enough – and that we should provide more reasons for putting less cars on the road. The only effective long-term solutions are to improve alternative modes – walking, cycling and particularly high quality public transit. The solution to beating traffic congestion in cities, if it comes, will probably take a long time to reap rewards. But if at least some of these new ideas are a success – whether it’s one way routes, free left turn, smart parking places etc – the days of Kudla’s epic tailbacks may finally be consigned to history. If you look at Bengaluru the city traffic police have introduced many new traffic plans, and commuters are adjusting to it. So Mangalorean also need to cooperate in this regard. So let’s cooperate with Traffic police and see what best could be done to ease out traffic snarls and congestion in Mangaluru.
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