Do you know how long it takes for pedestrians to cross Sampige Road on a Saturday evening? Astonishingly, several minutes. Sometimes, it can stretch up to nearly 10 minutes. That too, after several attempts.

Vehicular movement on the busy Sampige Road is at its chaotic worst on weekends when the number of visitors to a mall on the road swells. People, with children in tow, can be seen darting across the road even as vehicles try to inch their way ahead.

Anusha Shetty, a software engineer, said, “Unfortunately, city planners keep only motorists in mind, not pedestrians. The lack of adequate pedestrian facilities can be experienced first hand on Sampige Road where vehicles do not even slow down to allow people to cross the road safely.”

The arterial road provides connectivity to several areas in the heart of the city and thus witnesses heavy vehicular movement. According to modest estimates, the Passenger Car Unit (PCU) during weekdays is at least 6,000 per hour.

This number goes up to 10,000 during weekends, especially on Saturday evenings, said a senior official from the Traffic Engineering Department of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). The official said that once the road behind the mall is ready, the traffic volume on Sampige Road is likely to reduce. The 600 metre long and 20 metre wide road connecting Platform Road to Mill Road will be constructed by a private developer at a cost of Rs. 9 crore. As per the public-private partnership agreement between Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. and the developer for the construction of Sampige Road metro station, the developer is obliged to construct the road behind the mall.

The BBMP also wants the developer to construct a skywalk between Sampige Road and Platform Road. “An agreement will soon be signed between BBMP and the developer in this regard,” the official said.

However, traffic expert M.N. Sreehari claimed that the BBMP can solve the congestion problem in coordination with the traffic police.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (East – Traffic) M.N. Babu Rajendra Prasad told The Hindu that the volume on Sampige Road had increased after the Namma Metro station opened. “Now, there is heavy traffic throughout the day. Citizens who use the Metro park their vehicles on Sirur Park Road and other by-lanes and cross the road to reach the station.” He also said that traffic will ease once Metro work near Platform Road is completed. That apart, traffic police and Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation officials are considering diverting buses to another road to decongest Sampige Road, he added.

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