Days of our Lives!

October 30, 2006

Gone in 200 seconds!

Filed under: My Cup of Socie-Tea,Top Draws — Santhosh @ 11:42 AM

The problems with Bangalore’s infrastructure are well-known, well-documented, and well-torn up in just about every media form existent. (Except perhaps Bangalore Times, who still promote Bangalore as the greenest, safest, wonderful, most liveable city this side of the globe. But then since they also think that Mallika Sherawat can act and closing down english-medium schools is a welcome move, I guess I can be excused for not giving them their due weightage). The rest of us know we have pathetic pot-holed roads, more traffic than the roads can handle, and an administration that talks through the wrong orifice about fixing things. Heck, we can boast that we are possibly the only city in the country, and perhaps the world, that has a traffic light on a flyover, thanks to the wonderful administration’s short-sightedness.

But apart from the “oh my gawd, we didn’t foresee the hordes of people moving in” excuse, there are certain problems with the way the infrastructure is designed that makes you wonder if we might indeed have better luck entrusting the planning work to a large group of chimpanzees, banging away at AutoCAD.

For instance, at some places, you’ll find bus stops right after or just before a traffic light. At others, you will find them around corners. This doesn’t need some genius-level IQ to figure out, for cryin’ out loud. Who in their right minds can’t see that erecting a bus stop right after a damn traffic light is a sure way to cause a traffic block. Couldn’t they move it, say, some 300 metres ahead or further?

Another thing that our ‘far-sighted’ planners don’t seem to understand is the concept of a bottleneck. You simply have to take a cursory look at Old Madras Road, where the 4 lane road is being widened to 8 lanes. Oh my, that’s a good thing, you think? Except that it’s being widened only upto the point of a busy intersection, so all that happens is that the bottleneck shifts to another point instead.

Anything that can ease traffic jams is good, right? The purpose of a flyover is to alleviate the congestion on busy intersections, especially at peak hours, right? Flyovers are supposed to help the smooth flow of vehicles without the problems of having a traffic light, aren’t they?

Well… not if you build them the way the city of Bangalore does. When a layperson like me stands in front of the recently opened (partly) Intermediate Ring Road-Indiranagar flyover on Airport Road, it’s glaringly obvious that all the flyover will do is to shift the bottleneck to another spot on the Indiranagar 100 ft Road. The purpose of this flyover is to alleviate the congestion on Airport Road because the intersection of Koramangala Ring Road, Indiranagar 100 ft Road, and Airport Road is where three major streams of traffic meet.

This fine piece of work (I almost choked while writing that) was started in February 2003 and was supposed to be finished the same year, but of course, all kinds of bureaucratic problems (and pie-sharing ones) led to numerous delays and the masterpiece is half finished – 3 years later.

Flyover – Domlur end – 1
The Ring road is supposedly a 3 lanes per side road. And the new flyover is a two lanes per side one. Now anybody with even a half cooked brain should have been able to figure out that this is going to cause a serious bottleneck at the start of the flyover. And as if this wasn’t enough, we have a left turn just at that same start of the flyover. This left turn is the only one that can be used for anyone to enter Domlur from the ring road. And until the completion of the flyover, this left turn is the only means of getting even to MG Road. Now which moron can think of a three lane road ending at a two lane flyover which also has a busy left at just that point.

Flyover – Domlur end – 2
This is on the one side. On the opposite side of the road, the one used to come from Indiranagar to the ring road, it’s the exact negative. On the Domlur side, the two lane flyover ends on a three lane road, so the flow is smooth. Well, Yes. For 5 metres. After that we have one of the busiest bus stops in bangalore, where private cabs and mini-vans also have a roaring business. This spot also marks the presence of the only auto-gas refilling stop in a radius of 5 kms. And some 10 metres from the busstop we have a U turn – this U turn is the only one on the ring road for the next 2.5 kms.

Flyover – Indiranagar end – 1&2
Sorry guys, but i’m just not intellectually capable enough to even start on figuring out what was the general idea on this end. The mouth of the flyover here is a U turn. To get to the airport road, a routine left turn, now takes up 3 kms and 45 mins of negotiating the maze which is the flyover, on to the airport road, travel till the Manipal hospital for the U turn, come back. travel for 2 more kms for the next U turn, and finally get to the place you want to (which is just left to the mouth of the flyover).

Now that we’re on the topic of U turns, let’s just waste a few more lines on this.
Let’s say there is a U turn available. And around peak hours, this U turn blocks traffic flow to a certain extent. Now what does our wonderful administration do? Close this U turn. So now the entire block of vehicles who want to take a U turn, move on and take it at the next one. So now this block of traffic is added extra to the existing traffic at this new U turn. Which obviously means more congestion here. Step in our wonderful administration – close this U turn also. Now what does our average dumb software engineer do? (the intelligent ones, like me, walk ;-)). Move on to the next-next U turn –> traffic of U-turn-1 + traffic of U-turn-2 + traffic of U-turn-3 –> a major traffic jam everyday which involves 10 policemen and takes up 1 hr in place of 0 policemen and 10 mins. And to cross the road –> travel 3 kms up for the turn and another 3 kms down (off peak time – 30 mins) just to come to the other side of the road from where he started off.

And just in case someone is wondering at the relevance of the title of this post to the actual content, this is the interval for which the Red and Green interchange at traffic signals. Just imagine! 200 seconds (ya, as in T-W-O H-U-N-D-R-E-D seconds…..) This results in miles long queues at the signals down one side, and a totally empty lane for the vehicles coming down from the opposite side. By the time the last person who joined the queue at the signal comes up to the crossing, the signal has changed back to Red. And he waits TWICE at the same signal.
Maybe they also downloaded the software from google. If so, guys, there is something called ctrl+F. Yes. Now type in 200 into the Find dialog box. Yes, that’s it. Now hit Enter. Got it? Now replace the 200 with 60. Easy does it. Easy. Easy. Yes. That’s it. Thank you.



  1. more like 200k seconds mate!lucky me stuck at that damn signal in front of forum for that much..waitd at the signal thrice!!so..itz much worse already!

    Comment by ..B.a.l.a.JI. sm.. — October 31, 2006 @ 10:40 AM | Reply

  2. I agree with every work in here :-)Traffic Signal on a fly over, bus stops after a signal,… Hosur road is no different..!! There is going to be no change at all.. things have just started getting worse..!!

    Comment by justme — October 31, 2006 @ 6:36 PM | Reply

  3. @smsince it’s 200k secs, i take it frm Einstein tat u weren’t exactly with a gal…anywayz…wat’s with the deluge of schumi posts of late?

    Comment by santhosh — October 31, 2006 @ 8:27 PM | Reply

  4. @justme(i take it this is bhavesh)we know nothing’s gonna change overnight, if at all.but still it feels good to crib abt it and take it out of our system, what say?

    Comment by santhosh — October 31, 2006 @ 8:30 PM | Reply

  5. Gold!Every single word in here.Would frame a blow up of this post and hang it on the signal in MG Road.You wanna run for mayor? You have my vote.

    Comment by bkm — October 31, 2006 @ 11:30 PM | Reply

  6. @sancall it fanboy enthu..jst my way of a tribute to the master!

    Comment by ..B.a.l.a.JI. sm.. — November 1, 2006 @ 12:57 PM | Reply

  7. @bkmshhhhhhhhhhht’is a public forum matelet’s take this offline, shall we?

    Comment by santhosh — November 2, 2006 @ 9:35 PM | Reply

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