In the second part of the series on city’s traffic chaos, Chandigarh Tribune reporter Akash Ghai and photographer Vicky Gharu take the Piccadilly Road and tell you how and why the situation has turned so grim.
The “City Beautiful”, with its “Open Hand” insignia, might be famous for wide, clean and planned road infrastructure but there are certain roads, which can prove to be a commuter’s bane. Thanks to poor traffic mismanagement and Chandigarh Administration’s inability to come up with proper planning. In the 114 sq km area of the City Beautiful, with a population of about 11 lakh, the number of registered vehicles is said to be nearly nine lakh. Thousands of vehicles from outstations, especially from Mohali, Zirakpur, Kharar and Panchkula, come in the city everyday so the heavy load on the local road network is obvious. But there are certain roads, on which riding a four-wheeler is a challenge.
The Tribune staffers travelled on the 6.2 km stretch of Mohali-Chandigarh Road, popularly known as “Piccadilly Road”, during the normal and peak rush hours to find out how the road tested the patiencen of commuters.
It took 42 minutes to complete the journey, which should have ideally been over within 15 minutes. The stretch from South End roundabout (Sectors 43, 44, 34 and 35) to Bus Stand, Sector 17, witnessed the maximum rush. At the Metro traffic light point and Aroma light points, the Tribune team had to wait for second green signal as it was not possible to cross the lights during the first green signal.
“The road is too narrow to cope up with the heavy traffic inflow. Underpasses should be constructed on the Delhi pattern so that there are no traffic jams”, said Anup Sharma, a businessman of Sector 21.
Sector 34-35 dividing road: Vehicles move in different lanes, leading to traffic snarls.
Sectors 34, 35, 43 and 44 roundabout: Policemen deputed near the Sectors 34, 35, 43 and 44 roundabout busy issuing challans to four-wheeler drivers.
It was found that several people do not drive their vehicles in lanes and cross-lane driving was a common feature. “Everyone wants to reach at his/her destination on time so such offences have to be ignored”, said a traffic policeman on duty.
The cycle track, constructed along the roadside, was almost empty as all the cyclists, rickshaw-pullers and horse carts were seen plying on the main road thus slowing down the traffic movement.
“You can avoid this road in the city if you do not want to be harassed”, said a commuter.
I don’t think the Administration is serious about traffic management in the city. The road users are being harassed everyday. To cover a distance of seven km (between my home and my workplace), I have to leave my home 45 minutes early. Though I leave home early, I still get late to work.
Travelling on this stretch, especially during morning and evening hours, is really harrowing. The situation is no different at noon. I usually avoid using the road during these hours. I am unable to understand why the Administration is not doing anything to curb traffic chaos.
As far as traffic scenario is concerned only metro can solve the problem. Here, everybody wants to travel on his own vehicle. I have read somewhere that in Chandigarh, which has an area of 114 sq km and population of about 11 lakh, the number of vehicles is around 14 lakh. So one can well imagine the scenario here.
J P Singh
Underpasses — need of the hour
Road users feel that underpasses are the need of the hour. With addition of about three hundred vehicles everyday, the situation will worsen in the coming days, so the administration should come up with proper planning before the situation goes out of ‘control’. There is a need to set designated routes and timings for three-wheelers. These should not be allowed on roads during peak hours.
There are several plans, but where is the space? Due to the heritage status of the city, we can’t construct flyovers and the proposal of constructing underpasses has been rejected. Earlier, there was a plan to use the space of cycle track to widen the road in Sector 34 and to add parking space in front of the Hotel Lane, but it was also shelved.
SK Chadha, UT Chief Engineer