The delay in relocating bus stops that cause traffic hold ups at junctions is among the factors that worsen traffic snarls in the city.
The traffic police, civic agencies and the District Road Safety Council had over two years ago decided to relocate unscientifically located bus stops. However, this decision is yet to be implemented. This often results in buses stopping right at the junction one after the other to pick passengers, blocking traffic movement in other directions as well.
Very often, vehicles cannot move even if they get the green signal.
The head of the Highway Engineering Division of the National Transportation Planning and Research Centre (NATPAC), B. G. Sreedevi had recently cited the urgent need to relocate bus stops that hold up traffic at junctions. Listing out 30 junctions in Kochi where NATPAC had recommended relocation of stops, she said that bus stops must be located at least 75 metres away from each junction and must have sufficiently long bus bays. The bus bays must be tucked away from the vehicle carriageway, so that other vehicles would not be affected by parked buses.
The inability to relocate bus stops apart, the PWD and the Corporation of Kochi have not even bothered to paint bus bays. As per norms, the civic agency that owns the road is duty bound to paint bus and parking bays, pedestrian and median lines, apart from installing sign boards and reflectors.
The lack of parking bays has resulted in vehicles being parked haphazardly even at junctions, free-left turns and U-turns.
This apart, steps have not been taken to segregate two, three and four-wheelers. The result is that they are parked together, negating optimal space utility and also compounding parking woes. Most other cities have boards that demarcate parking/no-parking zones, but not Kochi.
Many cities and towns ban parking on one side of the road during odd-number days (1st, 3rd, 5th etc.,) of each month, with parking curbs on the other side of the road on even-number days (2nd, 4th, 6th etc.,). While this can be tried out in wider roads, parking must be banned altogether in extremely-congested stretches, say experts.
The Assistant Commissioner of Police (City Traffic) K. B. Venugopal said that such innovative methods to streamline/restrict parking have to be tried out in the city. “The archaic systems being followed here have to change, since traffic is getting unmanageable. People must introspect and probe whether their actions would impede traffic flow. On our part, we have written to the State Government to provide fork lifts so that two-wheelers, cars and other vehicles that obstruct traffic can be lifted away within a few minutes.”