Bangalore, June 22;Sprinting across an eight-lane road while dodging swerving vehicles, boarding a bus at a chaotic crossroad, walking down a road at night without a footpath or lighting.These may not sound like scenes at one of the city’s most affluent localities. But these are the daily travails of pedestrians and bus commuters trying to navigate the notorious intersections on the Outer Ring Road (ORR) at HSR Layout.
Traffic infrastructure here serves the swelling number of cars and starkly neglects pedestrian safety, lacking in facilities as basic as footpaths and bus shelters. Several intersections on the ORR are nothing short of a risk to life to anyone whose mode of transport is not a private vehicle.
Crossing the 9th Main Road at Sector 7, for instance, is a frightening exercise, says Vijay Kundaji, a resident. So “callous” is the traffic planning here that the flyover descends at the point of a major intersection — between the ORR and 9th Main Road — which happens also to be a bus-stop.
Kanchan Kiran (24), who catches a bus to Indiranagar from here every day, says it is difficult to even stand here waiting for the bus, given that there are speeding vehicles from two directions. For senior citizens and young children with heavy schoolbags, crossing the eight lanes is a nightmare. Manmohan Malhotra (67), a resident, says there is a dire need for an underpass at the spot.
Pedestrians suffer as there is no signal for them and traffic police give priority to motorists. Gopi Gowda, a constable who regulates traffic here, says even if the signal is green for pedestrians, vehicles do not stop.
Another case in point is the Silk Board intersection where hundreds of commuters board buses to Agara, Bellandur, Marathahalli and beyond. Without lighting or overpasses, sidewalks or bus shelters, it is utter chaos every day at this busy intersection where “a large number of women and children have to navigate in the dark and drivers of Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (and private) buses do not follow lane discipline,” Mr. Kundaji says.
Councillor Lata Narasimhamurthy admitted to the need for pedestrian infrastructure. She claimed she had submitted proposals to have three pedestrian skywalks — one near Iblur junction, another at the Silk Board junction and the third at 9th Main Road — to the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). Officials at the BBMP, in turn, blamed the lack of coordination between other agencies — the Bangalore Development Authority and the BMTC — for the chaos.