In a bid to avoid traffic snarls, the traffic police are trying out various alternatives, writes L. Srikrishna

Demolition of huge roundabouts at important road intersections in the city is a clear indicator of a steady rise in vehicular traffic, police say. In a bid to keep vehicles moving, the traffic police are trying out alternatives wherever possible. While the carriage space remains the same from time immemorial in this ancient city, number of vehicles using them has increased manifold.

Everyday, 150 to 200 new vehicles are registered at the three Regional Transport Offices in the city. Vehicles used by the floating population adds to the traffic volume, says Commissioner of Police P. Balasubramanian.

By demolishing the roundabouts, established during a time when vehicles were few, road space is freed to a great extent, especially during peak hours, police say. For instance, right in front of the Tamukkam Ground entrance on Alagarkoil Road, a roundabout was demolished a few months ago.

Similarly, on Thursday night, the police reduced the size of the roundabout around the landmark Kattabomman statue near Periyar bus stand. Sometime back, a fountain near the Netaji Road junction was removed to pave way for the vehicles to move freely.

While traffic police claim that a permanent solution to decongest traffic would be to build flyovers, and bridges at important locations connecting south and northern sides of the Vaigai, all that they could do in the present circumstances is to find alternatives that need minimum alterations.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic) J. Rajendran said that near bus stops where people converge in large numbers, barricades have been placed to ensure right of way for city buses so that other vehicles need not pile up behind them, he told reporters on Friday.

He said that the number of accidents reported was 20 in June 2008, 13 in 2009 and five cases, including a fatal one, till June this year. Though many factors could be attributed to the decline, the 30 per cent decline was possible due to pro-active steps taken by the police, he said.

Till June, the police had registered 1.01 lakh cases against Motor Vehicles Act violations and collected Rs. 96.92 lakh as fine. Mr. Rajendran further said that 585 persons were booked for drunken driving charges and the courts had imposed fines of Rs. 6.48 lakh. As many as 48,800 cases were booked against erring autorickshaw drivers and Rs. 37.49 lakh was collected as fine for violating road rules and 182 autorickshaws impounded for operating without permit. The drive would continue, he added.

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