Reliance on expressways and dedicated corridors for fast movement of motor vehicles always comes at a price. The most vulnerable segment of road users, namely pedestrians and cyclists, pay this price.
This is borne out by a study conducted by the Department of Transportation, IIT-Madras, on traffic accident patterns on Sardar Patel Road in the city last in 2009. A total of 39 accidents involving pedestrians were reported last year.
While the reason for such accidents has constantly been sighted as crossing at the wrong places, the study shows that more than 50 per cent of the accidents happened on or very close to a zebra crossing. Also, 48 per cent of the accidents involved pedestrians or cyclists.
“Pedestrian facilities are never considered as a part of road infrastructure,” says Transportation Engineering professor A.Veeraraghavan. “If you take Sardar Patel Road, the number of crossing points is minimal. The bus bay at the Madhya Kailash junction, located in the middle of the road, is a case in point. Pedestrians have to cross a stretch of road to reach it while negotiating with vehicles taking a blind curve at high speeds from the IT corridor.”
According to him, the bus bay must be moved to a safer location. Till then a raised zebra crossing, which plays the secondary role of slowing down vehicles, must be considered. “There have been at least four proposals to improve the situation at the junction itself, but nothing has come out of it,” he added.
The Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Anna University and State Highways department engineers had presented independent project proposals for easing traffic congestion at the junction, but even after two years there has been no forward movement.
Holistic plan needed
A professor at the Department of Transportation, Anna University, who was part of one of the studies which suggested a loop and an underpass at the junction said, “Traffic on the IT corridor has been increasing very fast. There are a lot of bottlenecks on Sardar Patel Road, such as the CLRI bus stop, that impedes both vehicular and pedestrian movement. A holistic plan has to be evolved soon to address these issues.”
Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) M. Shakeel Akhter admitted some of the bus bays in the city posed a risk and said efforts would be made to shift them.
“We are also undertaking a study to individually study each of the 242 pedestrian deaths which happened in the city in 2009. A set of pedestrian-centric measures would be taken using the results of the analysis,” he added.