| The Times of India (Delhi)Neha Lalchandani & Somreet Bhattacharya
In the second part of our series on half flyovers, we look at the ones at Punjabi Bagh and Raja Garden, next to each other, for which PWD is appointing a consultant to find a solution. The road can’t be widened and the traffic volume is huge
Two half flyovers on Ring Road near Punjabi Bagh stopped serving their purpose of easing traffic a few years ago. At present, the two flyovers, at a distance of about 500m along the same road, create chaos rather than streamline the traffic. Due to severe congestion and poor road engineering, gridlocks have become a routine affair on this stretch.The public works department will shortly be appointing a consultant who will suggest what kind of interventions are needed to ease the traffic flow along this road. This may include building parallel flyovers along both the existing ones.Built about 15 yearsBuilt about 15 years back, the flyovers were intended to solve the traffic jams on this road due to several red lights. However, the traffic has since then increased many times and the flyovers are just and the flyovers are just not sufficient to cater to the demand.
Traffic cops say that more than eight lakh vehicles pass through this stretch daily. As this huge mass crosses the Najafgarh drain, Ring Road takes a sharp right turn towards the Raja Garden half flyover and the road width gets
reduced to three lanes because of a CNG pump located on the edge of the road.
Scores of autorickshaws and trucks edge their way onto the
main carriageway , eating into almost an entire lane and leading to the first bottleneck.
Once the vehicles manage to weave their way through this mess, they find themselves suddenly on the three-lane flyover over Punjabi Bagh Club which descends into four lanes
on Ring Road, the extreme left lane joining in from under the flyover.
The merging traffic
struggles for space for the next few hundred metres till it arrives at a red light below the half flyover coming from the Punjabi Bagh crossing on the other side of the road. The red light is at the Moti Bagh crossing.
The other flyover, coming from the opposite direction over the Moti Bagh crossing, is another traffic nightmare.
The traffic, which has been moving on a four-lane road having descended from a two-way flyover over Punjabi Bagh suddenly finds the road divided with two lanes continuing straight and the other two lanes going down on the left towards the residential areas. The volume of this traffic is huge, says traffic police, and this half flyover is just not sufficient to handle the current load.
PWD officials say there are several reasons for the congestion which include a Ramlila Ground nearby and the Metro Phase-III construction along this road. “A new station will come up here and arrangements need to be made for multi modal transport. Widening the road does not seem possible right now due to location of a cremation ground next to the Najafgarh drain, dense residential areas on the other side and markets. There are also a lot of trees along this stretch even in the middle of the road which are a potential traffic hazard. “We have carried out some surface improvement but that has not helped. A drastic change will be needed and we will implement what the consultant recommends,“ said an official.
KHEL GAON MARG Over the years, this lazy stretch linking South Ex with Outer Ring Road has become one of south Delhi’s busiest roads plagued with the usual traffic problems
NEW DELHI: It was one of the internal roads motorists would often take to avoid miles-long traffic snarls on Aurobindo Marg or on Josip Broz Tito Marg that houses the controversial bus rapid transit (BRT)corridor.
Over the last few years, August Kranti Marg or Khel Gaon Marg has transformed into a major arterial road with a large number of motorists living in south Delhi taking this road every day. Result: long queues of vehicles at traffic signals and frequent jams during rush hours.The drive on this five-kilometre stretch — from Outer Ring Road to South Extension — is just about 10 minutes during lean hours. The journey turns into a nightmare when people go back home after a gruelling day at work.And for people with houses on the main road – in places such as Uday Park, Niti Bagh, Anand Lok, Gulmohar Park and Mayfair Garden — the charm of living in tree-sequined lazy avenue is now lost amid the din of vehicles. Constant honking of vehicles and pollution has replaced the cool breeze and chirping of birds the residents enjoyed till a few years ago.
Thanks to the Delhi government’s decision to reserve one lane on Josip Broz Tito Marg, between Moolchand Hospital and Ambedkar Nagar, exclusively for buses to implement the BRT system, a large volume of cars and bikers has now shifted to August Kranti Marg.
Bikers, cars and even buses now jostle for space every morning and evening, making driving a nightmare on this stretch. Motorists say the road does not have the capacity to handle such a huge rush of vehicles.
According to experts, traffic on August Kranti Marg has increased by at least 20-25 per cent in past 2-3 years.
“The government may have ensured a quick and smooth passage to bus commuters on the BRT but it is the motorists and the bikers who now suffer on both the BRT as well as this road,” said Tanmay Sharma, a resident of Asiad Village.
“People use this road as an alternative route to BRT to reach their destinations fast but get stuck amid slow moving traffic, sometimes for up to one hour,” he adds.
Motorists say problems on this stretch are plenty. With two big office complexes — HUDCO tower and the Siri Fort Institutional Area — shopping mall Ansal Plaza, lawns at Asiad Village complex that see frequent marriage functions, Siri Fort auditorium, a venue for film festivals and shows, and a number of residential colonies on either side, this road witnesses a huge volume of traffic every day.
“It is so difficult to take your car out of the office around 6pm. There is bumperto-bumper traffic. Since the road is narrow, the right turning traffic obstructs the vehicles going straight, resulting in chaos,” said Peeyush Sharma, who works at PHD Chamber of Commerce.
The problem, say commuters, compounds during marriage seasons and when there is a concert or a show at the Siri Fort auditorium. When it rains, the motorists are in for a major trouble.
“Since the parking space is limited, people often park their vehicles on the main road itself, leading to chaos. Vehicles entering the parking lot or coming out of it also obstruct the smooth movement of vehicles,” said Kamlesh Singh, a resident of village Shahpur Jat.
Motorists suggest that an underpass should be constructed near the Siri Fort auditorium and sports complex to ensure that vehicles going to these places do not obstruct the straight-moving traffic.
An underpass is need of the hour. I once visited Sirifort for my son’s annual day function and had to park my car at Ansal Plaza as I was unable to get find a space there,” said Kakoli Das, a resident of Vaishali.
Aanchal Tuli & Saloni Bhatia, TNN |
Meenakshi Lekhi leading the cyclists at the cycle rally
After much anticipation, Gurgaon’s famous Raahgiri Day made its Delhi debut at Connaught Place’s Inner Circle, this Sunday morning. Delhiites from all corners of the city started arriving at the event location as early as 6am. An hour later, the stage was crowded, there was music in the air and happy Delhi Raahgirs were cycling all around the circle. While the majority drove down to the event, there were also brave ones who rode their bikes from areas as far off as Dwarka and Yamuna Vihar.
From cycle rallies to zumba sessions, street football to gym training, there was something for everyone here. The heat and humidity failed to deter the spirit of people who walked around the circle participating in all the activities. The zumba stage, set-up by fitness partner Reebok, was one of the most popular places to be in and the crowd danced to original zumba tracks as well as Honey Singh numbers. The equipment space had trained gym instructors guiding people on using weights and machines and the kickboxing arena had state level players showing off their moves.Aastha, who came to the event with her group of friends from Dwarka, told us, “I read about the event in the paper and somehow managed to convince everyone to get up early for once and come for this event. And this has been an awesome morning. My favourite was the zumba arena and we’re going to come back next week too.”
But for the Raahgirs, more than the activities, it was the freedom to walk on the streets of Connaught Place that was important. Like Sandeep who had come in with his wife and skating enthusiast daughter from Janak Puri, told us, “We had stopped coming to Connaught Place months ago because of the traffic and the messy situation. This is the first time in years that I can actually stand on a road here and look around and enjoy the original charm of this place. This is the Connaught Place that I want to show to my daughter.”
Ravi and Anup, who took the Metro from Noida, added, “CP is the perfect place for an event like this because it is the central point for everyone. I don’t remember the last time I walked on this busy road without having to worry about speeding cars running us down. You can see such a cross section of people here and we’ve never seen Delhi roads come alive like this.”
Students For Peace, a student group, performed a street play and a flash mob-style dance in front of a cheering audience. In fact, the emcee, Madhukar, got people from the audience to talk about what motivated them to come for the event. There was also a nukkad natak staged by a Gurgaon-based firm Nagarro Software on the theme of active commuting and the benefits of cycling. Round two of the cycle rally followed by a performance by the Delhi Drum Circle concluded the first week of Delhi Raahgiri on an energetic note and the participants headed to the restaurants nearby for breakfast.
Robin King, WRI – Ross Centre for Suitable Cities, Washington, was quite impressed with the initiative and said, “I feel this is great. Streets are for people and they should enjoy them. My husband has grown up in Delhi and he used to tell me about CP, and even when I have been here, I have always seen vehicles moving around. I have never seen CP like this where people are cycling, working out and jogging.” SK Lohia, former OSD and ex- officio joint secretary (urban transport) at Ministry Of Urban Development said, “I have been to Gurgaon’s Raahgiri and it’s a dream come true to see Raahgiri happening in CP. When I was with Ministry Of Urban Development and we had sanctioned the redevelopment plan for CP in 2006, we wanted a space for cyclists and pedestrians. Today, this is happening in the heart of India, the heart of Delhi, CP. In fact, the response has been so good and people have turned out in huge numbers despite the heat.”
Jalaj Srivastava, the NDMC chairman, said, “It’s quite hot today. Hopefully, there will be rains next time. People will enjoy cycling and playing soccer in the rains. This will generate good business for eating joints in CP and areas like Bengali Market, because after participating here, people will head to these places for breakfast. I guess some of the places will start opening a little early, so as to get customers. Also, families can come here and work out together and there are so many options available and that too, free of charge.”
Meenakshi Lekhi, MP, New Delhi Lok Sabha constituency, also led the cycle rally. “I don’t know after how long I am cycling. Give me some time to get my balancing act right,” she exclaimed. She added, “You cannot cycle or skate in parks. For some sports, you need the streets and this is what Raahgiri has done. It is stuffy but sweating is not bad for health. I think all our potassium and sodium levels will be balanced. This will be developing into a rocking concept.” Muktesh Chander, special commissioner of police (Traffic), said, “This is something which is happening in Delhi for the first time. Delhi needed something like this and there couldn’t have been a better place than CP to start off.”
Jayashree Nandi,TNN |
The cost of surface parking at these spots will be pretty steep, given the fact that the panel has sought a marginal hike in parking rates across the board.
NEW DELHI: City authorities may soon penalize car owners for not using multilevel parking facilities. A committee set up by the lieutenant governor is set to recommend that rates for surface parking be raised five-fold in areas where multilevel parking exists.
The cost of surface parking at these spots will be pretty steep, given the fact that the panel has sought a marginal hike in parking rates across the board. People often avoid using multilevel parking because there are long queues to enter these lots. The fee for multilevel parking currently is about Rs 10 per hour and for surface parking it is about Rs 20 per hour.
The panel’s recommendations are in the stage of finalization and will soon be submitted to the LG for his nod and implementation.
However, if the strategy is to be implemented, authorities will have to deal with the parking mafia and middlemen, who usually get illegal parking done for car users. The presence of the mafia is one of the reasons why city streets are clogged and there’s little space for pedestrians on sidewalks.
“As for those who are used to parking in no-parking areas, we are recommending strict enforcement so that people are discouraged to use cars in congested areas,” a committee member said.
The committee was constituted by LG in May after a World Health Organization (WHO) report found Delhi to have the poorest air quality among 1,600 cities. “All committee members agreed that raising parking rates was is the only way to discourage car use in the city. If we want to promote public transport then parking fee has to be used as a deterrent,” a senior official from the environment department who is part of the committee told TOI.
“We have decided that surface parking rates are to be made at least five times higher than multilevel parking fee. It’s the other way round in some places. These suggestions will be finalized and submitted to the LG soon,” he added.
The committee held a meeting with the chief secretary on Friday and discussed several recommendations. There was a consensus on the parking fee hike. The panel is chaired by the chief secretary and comprises the special CP (traffic), secretary (environment); commissioner (transport) and additional secretary (DPCC).
The panel has co-opted Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) and fuel companies to assess the feasibility and impact of these recommendations. Anumita Roychowdhury, head of CSE’s clean air programme who attended previous committee meetings, said hiking surface parking fee is one of most important strategies to deal with air pollution.
“People have to pay the right price for using public space. Currently, parking is almost subsidized. World over we have seen that air pollution strategy is linked to managing the volume of traffic. All over US and Europe surface parking is discouraged,” she said.
Officials have also asked fuel companies to expedite the process of making Euro V fuel, which is cleaner than the current Euro IV quality fuel being used, available in Delhi The World Health Organization (WHO) air quality database of 1,600 cities and 91 countries released recently showed that the concentration of PM2.5 (fine, respirable particles) was the highest in Delhi at 153 micrograms per cubic metre (g/m³) while the WHO standard is just about 10g/m³.
Fine particulate pollution, considered most dangerous for respiratory and cardiovascular health, is way higher in Delhi compared to many crowded Asian cities, including Beijing (56g/m³), Karachi (117g/m³) and Shanghai (36g/m³).
The proposal to dramatically hike charges for surface parking at sites where multilevel parking facilities are available is a good one. The point of constructing these facilities, after all is to decongest the area. If they are to lie unused while vehicles continue to be parked where they were even after they are constructed, it would mean pouring public money down the drain. Indeed, where surface parking at such sites is on road space, it should not be allowed at all. Delhi also needs many more multilevel parking facilities than it has at the moment. This is a task that is much more important than the ‘beautification’ drives that are so much the rage and must be taken up with urgency.
We have built city roads only for cars to move. Cars rule the road
I write this column from my bed, recovering from an accident that broke my bones. I was hit by a speeding car while cycling. The driver fled the scene of the accident in the car, leaving me bleeding on the road. This is what happens again and again, in every city of our country, on every road – as we plan without care for the safety of pedestrians and cyclists. These are the invisible users. They die doing nothing more than the most ordinary thing like crossing a road. I was more fortunate. Two cars stopped, and strangers helped me and took me to the hospital. I received treatment. I will be back, fighting fit.
And this is one battle that needs our combined attention. We cannot lose the space to walk and cycle. Since my accident, relatives and friends have berated me for being so reckless as to cycle on Delhi’s roads. They are right. We have built city roads only for cars to move. Cars rule the road. There are no dedicated lanes for cycles; there are no sidewalks. The little stretches that do exist are either dirty or taken over by parked cars. Roads are for cars. The rest don’t matter.
But cycling and walking are difficult not just because of poor planning. It is also because of the mindset that only those who move in a car have status and road rights. Anyone who walks or cycles is considered poor, wretched and destined to be marginalised, if not obliterated.
This is what must change. We have no option but to reinvent mobility, as I keep repeating. Toxic smog in Delhi recently reached a new peak. Last month, the World Health Organisation declared air pollutants a human carcinogen. We must realise that this pollution is not acceptable. It is killing us, and no longer softly or slowly. But if we are serious about combatting air pollution, we have no option but to think about restraining the growth of cars. Learn how to move people, not cars.
When the Centre for Science and Environment began its campaign against air pollution in the mid-1990s, it did everything conventional. It pushed to improve the quality of fuel; improve emission standards of vehicles; and to put the inspection and maintenance systems for checking tailpipe emissions in place. It also pushed a leapfrog solution: the transition to compressed natural gas (CNG) for grossly polluting vehicles such as diesel buses and two-stroke autorickshaws. That made a difference. There is no doubt that the quality of air would have been even worse, even more deadly, without these steps.
But this is not good enough. Pollution levels are rising again, inexorably and inevitably. All research points to one cause and one big solution: building transport systems differently. We also have the option of doing this. We still haven’t motorised; nor have we built every flyover or four-lane road. Most importantly, much of India still takes the bus, walks or cycles – in many cites as much as 20 per cent of the population bikes. We do this because we are poor. Now the challenge is to reinvent city planning so that we can do this as we become rich.
For the past few years, this is exactly what we have been working on – how to bring back integrated and safe public transport options to our cites, so that even if we own a car, we don’t have to drive it.
But the keyword is integration. We can build a metro or get new buses, but if we do not have last-mile connectivity, then it will still not work. It has to be seamless and effortless. This is why we need to think differently.
This is where we are failing. Today there is talk of transport, cycling and pedestrians’ needs. But it is empty talk. Every time there is an attempt to convert a part of the road into a cycle track, the proposal is virulently opposed. The argument is that it cannot be done because it will take away space from cars and will add to congestion. But that is exactly what we need to do – reduce lanes for cars and add space for buses, cycles and pedestrians. This is the only way to get out of the ever-growing car bulge on roads.
This takes courage of conviction. On our overcrowded and chaotic roads, planning for cycle tracks and keeping sidewalks clean and clear will take lots of effort. I have absolutely no illusions that this will be easy to plan or to implement. But why should that deter us? The rest of the world has learnt successfully to rework road space so that it provides dignity and accessibility to cyclists and pedestrians. It has learnt to restrict space for cars and yet build extremely liveable cites.
Just think of the double bonus: getting rid of the most noxious source of pollution will result in clean air; and having the option to get some exercise while commuting will mean healthy bodies.
This is what we have to fight for. And we will. I hope all of you will join us in making the right to cycle and walk with safety non-negotiable.
PS: To the strangers who took me to the hospital and to the extraordinary doctors at the AIIMS trauma centre who saved my life, thank you.
Mihir | New Delhi |
SUMMARY–Road transport ministry is looking at a slew of options, including a two per cent surcharge on the sale of land for residential purposes along the expressway.
To part-finance the cost of constructing the 265-km Delhi-Jaipur expressway project, the road transport ministry is looking at a slew of options, including a two per cent surcharge on the sale of land for residential purposes along the expressway.
The funds collected by way of the surcharge, according to the proposal, will be routed to the Central government and used subsequently for the purpose of constructing the expressway.
“Our estimates show that this surcharge will give us around Rs 4,700 crore, which will fund a large part of our project cost. If you exclude the cost of land acquisition, the project is estimated to cost around Rs 7,000 crore,” said a senior road transport ministry official.
He further explained that any residential project along the expressway will need entry and exit points for its traffic and this surcharge will be a payment for providing that exit to those residential colonies.
The Delhi-Jaipur expressway is the first expressway project that the Central government hopes to work on. The other expressway projects in the pipeline are the Delhi-Meerut, Mumbai-Vadodra and Eastern Peripheral expressways.
This proposal, along with others, will be discussed by an Inter-ministerial Council headed by the road secretary and have members from the finance ministry, Planning Commission and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
The other proposals include developing the expressway by funding the shortfall through a viability gap funding, allowing the company developing the project rights to collect tolls also on the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway and Delhi-Jaipur highway after their concession period is over and government funding the construction of the project.
“Allowing the expressway company to collect toll on the other highway connecting Jaipur will also take care of the competing highway issue. Enabling the expressway concessionaire to collect toll on these highway should not be a problem, as we will put a clause in the bid document for Delhi-Jaipur expressway,” said the official. He added that the concession period for Delhi-Jaipur will end in 2023 and Delhi-Gurgaon is set to end by 2024.
According to current estimates, the Delhi-Jaipur expressway would not be able to break even in terms of total traffic that would use it. It is estimated that the expressway will cater to a traffic of 25,000 passenger cars daily but requires 42,000 passenger cars to break even.
The NHAI had raised a question on the viability of the project and said that it was neither feasible through toll nor through government funding. It had also said that private companies would not be interested in getting into a high-cost expressway project at this juncture.
New Delhi: Commuting to Delhi University’s South Campus will be much easier for thousands of students as Delhi Metro has decided to construct a station at Dhaula Kuan especially for them.
“By the academic session of 2016, South Campus will have direct connectivity with Metro and it is estimated that 12,000 people will be travelling through this line daily,” a DMRC spokesperson said.
The 59-km long Mukundpur-Shiv Vihar metro line will have an elevated station at Dhaula Kuan, adjacent to Atma Ram Sanatan Dharma College of South Campus, the spokesperson said.
“The station will have entry/exit points near the foot over-bridge on the route. It will also help in easing traffic there,” he said.
Apart from South Campus headquarters, seven other colleges are located near Dhaula Kuan, and every year thousands of students take up undergraduate and postgraduate courses here.
Delhi Metro in its 140-km Phase III project is aiming at connecting North Campus to South Campus. Commuters would have to change trains at Azadpur and INA stations to reach their destination.
By 2021, as per estimates, 15,000 commuters will be using this metro line daily.
Subhendu Ray, Hindustan Times
To ensure safe driving and to bring down the number of accidents, Delhi Transport Officials (DTC) officials on Monday decided to train its drivers on simulators.
The decision comes a day after HT’s report on how the public transport buses in the Capital are on a killing spree. The DTC buses have killed 32 people this year till June 15. The corresponding figure for the same period last year was 27.
A team of senior DTC officials met on Monday to discuss measures for driver sensitisation. The training will be provided to the drivers in batches.
In the current system, DTC drivers are mostly given theoretical training at its institute at Shastri Park.
“We have proposed to make simulator training mandatory for DTC drivers and conductors. The training will help them learn road norms, adverse impact of speeding, jumping traffic signals and lane violations,” said Anil Shukla, additional commissioner of police (traffic).
According to DTC officials, the Automobile Association of Upper India, Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers and the Institute of Driving Training and Research will help in the training.
DTC has no such facility and a proposal to install heavy vehicle simulators has been under consideration for the past few years.
The DTC had tied up with an Indian automobile manufacturing giant to develop a state-of-the-art training institute with hi-tech simulators for to train drivers.
A site for the institute was identified in West Delhi. “However, the project got stuck as the DDA declined to change the land use since it was a green land,” a DTC official said.
The traffic police have also asked the DTC to check records of their drivers, many of whom drove blueline buses before they went off the roads.
NEW DELHI: With plans of turning the ISBT Kashmere Gate area into an integrated transit terminal, the Delhi government has asked DIMTS (Delhi integrated multi-modal transit system) to come up with a plan to improve the movement of motorized and non-motorized or pedestrian traffic in the area .
“The integration of ISBT with the Delhi Metro, and later with the regional rapid transit system will lead to traffic at ISBT intersection. We need to streamline this traffic,” said a senior official.
The DIMTS plan is the first phase of the traffic management plan.”A long term proposal for multi-modal integration of the entire complex will be implemented by UTTIPEC later. That will provide seamless travel to commuters for interchanging modes and safe crossing of roads,” said the official. The first phase will look at smoother movement of vehicles and pedestrians on the Lala Hardev Sahai marg after retrofitting of the road. The project has been given approval by UTTIPEC, the umbrella transport body.
The traffic circulation plan was mooted some months ago when the chief secretary had visited ISBT for inspection when it was about to re-open after renovation. At the time, he had ordered a traffic study of the area. The traffic from Ring Road, ISBT flyover, Mahatma Gandhi Road and surrounding areas tends to converge in front of the ISBT.
Officials in the transport department admit that the traffic situation is dire at ISBT despite the crores spent on renovating the bus terminus, with matters set to become worse as the work on the Kashmere Gate Metro station also gets underway. The traffic situation is one reason why the RRTS (regional rapid transit system) project, which had one station in Kashmere Gate ISBT, has been denied approval by the CM, said officials.
“The vehicular traffic is very high here, as it’s an arterial road along with the traffic from the inter-state buses coming in,” said a department official.
htreporters, Hindustan Times New Delhi,
The Hazrat Nizamuddin-Shiv Vihar standard gauge corridor of the Delhi Metro, which is part of Phase III, will have a record number of sharp curves.”There are uneven twists and turns in this 25-km elevated corridor. So we have been forced to construct 14 curves on this stretch, which passes through highly congested areas of east Delhi such as Trilokpuri, Anand Vihar, Karkardooma, Welcome and Seelampur,” said a Delhi Metro spokesperson.
Curves with a radius between 200 and 300 meters are considered ‘sharp’ in urban rail construction. “The work on building sharp curves requires a great deal of engineering skills and several factors have to be kept in mind while designing special segments/spans at the turn concerned,” the spokesperson added.
The Hazrat Nizamuddin-Shiv Vihar corridor is a part of the 59-km-long Mukundpur-Shiv Vihar corridor.
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