Blame it on road design: experts

Water-logging in New Delhi on Thursday led to traffic jams across the city.— Photos: Sushil Kumar Verma & V. Sudershan

Water-logging in New Delhi on Thursday led to traffic jams across the city.— Photos: Sushil Kumar Verma & V. Sudershan  

Water-logging, poor road design and potholes remain, as usual, a roadblock for smooth traffic flow in Delhi this monsoon, just like any other.

As one civic agency characteristically blames the other for not having done its bit to ease the situation and thousands of man hours, on both sides of the government-people divide, go to waste stranded on arterial streets, can the average commuter do anything other than crib and bear hours of road congestion?

Possibly, feel road experts, with basic courtesy for fellow drivers and some common sense.

North Delhi saw most incidents of water-logging, with the local civic body’s control rooms getting nine complaints. The East Delhi Municipal Corporation received seven complaints of water-logging and three regarding fallen trees. South Delhi was relatively better off, at least according to the municipality, which claimed it got only one water-logging complaint.

According to Traffic Police, six complaints of water-logging and rain-related congestion were received by its control room between 10.30 a.m. and 9.30 p.m. A senior Traffic Police officer said congestion was reported from “most arterial routes” due to water-logging and additional deployment had to be put in place to ensure continuous traffic flow. He added the unit felt “fortunate” that Thursday’s downpour was brief. According to a civic agency official, zonal control rooms with necessary equipment are already up and desilting “almost complete”.

According to Special Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Muktesh Chander, road engineering is to be blamed for water-logging and congestion due to reduction in road space. Letters had been shot-off to road-owning agencies to get these rectified well ahead in anticipation of the monsoon, but hadn’t resulted in much action on the ground, he added.

Professor of Transport Planning at the School of Planning and Architecture P.K. Sarkar said water-logging was certainly to be blamed on road design. “The agencies concerned don’t take into account the gradient or slope which should accommodate an efficient mechanism for quick and efficient discharge of water to connected drains, which is missing,” he said, adding that de-silting of drains by the agency concerned is usually “an eyewash”.

According to both experts and traffic policemen, a little courtesy for your fellow road user and temporary preference for public transport can never go out of fashion when it comes to using reduced road space efficiently.

Professor S. Velmurugan of the Central Road Research Institute said in a city where two-wheelers account for over 70 per cent of the total road users, shifting one’s preference to public transport for this particular segment was the most basic suggestion.

Feedback from its boots on the ground, according to a senior Traffic Police officer, had posited that with road space reduced due to water coagulation, a funnel effect was put in motion, which could only be countered if Delhi’s drivers allow lane-wise traffic circulation instead of trying to squeeze multiple vehicles through an opening meant for one.

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