Ever since they were reinstalled, peak hour jams have become the norm here
It was meant to ease traffic along but reintroducing traffic lights at the centrally located K.R. Circle appears to have caused exactly what authorities had wanted to avoid: traffic jams.
It was a surprise for Bangaloreans when the traffic police converted the signal-free roundabout to a regular signal junction recently. Commuters, used to navigating their way through this ‘self-regulated’ roundabout — managed by the police during peak hours — now have to watch out for the traffic lights. The five-road junction, connecting arterial roads of the city, is a key traffic bottleneck and has often been criticised for being a hazard for pedestrians.
But the flip side of reintroducing the traffic lights is that seamless flow of traffic is now a thing of the past here. So, with heavy traffic coming in from the Seshadri Road — primarily buses — commuters on the other roads are finding their wait getting longer and longer.
Ever since the lights were installed, 20-minute, peak hour jams have become the norm here.
Pedestrians and cyclists have always complained that the junction is a nightmare. Software engineer Anand, who cycles to work, says the traffic signals haven’t made a difference. According to the traffic constable manning the junction, the signals have made life easier for the traffic police. “It is harder to regulate a continuous flow of traffic than it is to manage traffic with regular interruptions,” he said, as he flipped the traffic signals. This veteran of the city’s chaotic traffic tartly remarked that instead of digging a tunnel for the metro, the authorities should have focussed on making the junction safer for pedestrians.
For, the stretch of Seshadri Road that leads towards Cubbon Park, vehicles coming from the adjacent Department of Survey Settlement and Land Records buildings often block the narrow lane, with the road there only capable of accommodating a single lane of traffic on either side. There is some anger that the security personnel of buildings on this stretch stop the traffic for government officials, but not for ordinary citizens.
It’s not that pedestrians are law-abiding: jaywalkers add to the chaos. “The pedestrians here are unmanageable. We’ve provided underpasses for them to cross on all four sides, yet no one uses it. People should make use of the resources we give them,” the traffic constable added.
However, when The Hindu tried to use these subways, two were found locked. And the third was a horror, inundated with filthy, stagnant water.