‘Does a small city like Udupi require so many traffic lights?'

Although traffic signal lights were installed at 10 places in Udupi city a year ago, they are functioning only at two places.

The installation of the signal lights has not been without controversy. When they were installed, the Udupi City Municipal Council (CMC) was the first to raise objections on the grounds that the CMC was not taken into confidence by the district police and that the installation was not done in a scientific manner.

Traffic signal lights had been installed in places such as Kinnimulki, Taluk Office Circle, Diana Circle, Hanuman Circle, Kalasanka, Ambalpady Junction and Karavali Junction in Udupi; and Syndicate Circle, Tiger Circle and MIT Cross in Manipal. Of these signal lights, only two — Karavali Junction and Diana Circle — are working.

According to sources in traffic police, since the Diana Circle had not been widened, the traffic signal lights at Taluk Office Circle and Hanuman Circle could not be activated.

The traffic signal at Kalsanka could be activated only after the Gundibail-Kalsanka Road was widened.

The traffic signal at Kinnimulki was not activated as it had lesser vehicle density. Hence only blinkers (that is the blinking of yellow lights) were on at the remaining eight places, the sources said.

Pedestrian signal lights had not been installed at any of the 10 places which had traffic signals. Udupi CMC president Kiran Kumar told The Hindu that “the traffic signal lights are totally anti-pedestrian. When and how should the pedestrians cross the roads at these places?”. At the Karavali Junction, where the traffic signal lights were functioning, there was no ‘Free Left' turn. This confused vehicle drivers, he said.

Another criticism was that there were five places with traffic signal lights from Kinnimulki to Service Bus Stand.

Mr. Kumar said should all the signal lights be activated, it would take 15 or 20 minutes for buses to travel from Kinnimulki to Service Bus Stand instead of 10 minutes now. “Does a small city like Udupi require so many traffic signal lights? The traffic police have staff shortage. They cannot man all the 10 places,” he said.

Superintendent of Police Y.S. Ravikumar said: “We will study the issue. All other authorities would be consulted before taking any decision on this matter”.

This is not the first time traffic signals have run into rough weather.

Traffic signals were first installed in the city 10 years ago by the Udupi CMC then ruled by the Congress. They functioned for a very brief period and were later removed.

Keywords: traffic signal

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