Monday, December 1, 2014

Is Bangalore is on the brink of disaster. May be it has been that way for a while.

Anil Srivatsa posted it on his FB with a comment: Are you serious? Are you serious! What an idiotic thing to protest about. ROADS WERE DESIGNED AND BUILT FOR VEHICULAR TRAFFIC. This was NEVER MEANT FOR PEDESTRIANS. If you want to then protest to get the footpaths back from garbage dumpers, encroachers and vehicle parking.

Reclaim the Road - Roads belong to people; not cars
(Media Release)

Bangalore, 30 Nov 2014: Over 200 hundred bus commuters, including 90 senior citizens and differently-abled persons, supporters and members of 17 organisations participated in a peaceful walk on the Hebbal Flyover to `RECLAIM THE ROADs'. .....

``On an average, 350 pedestrians every year are killed in road accidents in Bengaluru in the last decade. Most of these deaths are completely avoidable,'' said Manohar Elavarthi of Praja Rajakiya Vedike.

``People are killed as our government wants cars to run at high speed at the cost of pedestrian safety. Huge sums of public money is spent on building flyovers and underpasses to facilitate faster and smooth movement of cars. We can’t cross the railway track under the Hebbal flyover, there is no space for those who walk on the roads, forget about people like us on the wheelchairs,'' said Kiran, a differently-abled activist ....

 Janakiamma of AIKYATHA (Akhila Karnataka Vyayovruddhara Okkoota), senior citizens organisation said: ``Thousands of bus travellers and other pedestrians, particularly senior citizens struggle everyday to cross the railway track under the Hebbal flyover – to catch trains in Hebbal Railway Station or buses from 5 bus stops on ring road/ airport road, or to change from buses between Airport road and ring road. The flyover facilitates smooth railway crossing for cars but for bus travellers there is not even an underpass or an over bridge.''

``Bus travellers risk their lives at this dark-dirty-unsafe-mosquito ridden railway crossing next to a garbage dump. It is particularly difficult for people with disabilities, senior citizens and children to cross this and people on wheel chairs can't cross this railway track,'' said Narayanaswami, a differently-abled person from Samara Society Jayanagar, an NGO that works with sexual minorities.

``Bus travellers need to walk more than 500 meters to change buses between Airport road and ring road. Hebbal is a clear example of using huge public money for small number of car travellers at the cost of a large majority of people - pedestrians and bus travellers,'' said Mallappa Kumar of Praja Rajakiya Vedike......

Is Bangalore is on a brink of disaster? May be it has been like that way for a while. The Vedike is not wrong in what they say, Pedestrians have the least priority in Bengaluru. The auto industry has a huge clout. We hear about garbage mafia or the water mafia. But as auto industry provides jobs for multitudes, so how can we stop them from selling cars in Bengaluru? No way! We do not even think of charging them a premium to enter the inner city. Wonder where is this inner city?

However the protest typically reflects our psyche. Everyone wants everything!

As a pedestrian I want a safe road to cross anywhere I want to. We have been doing it for generations. So how can only the rich get all the privileges I ask? In any case in spite of all their super duper cars which cost a bomb, their average speed around Hebbal is less than the walking speed. Let them take a bus from the Air port and get picked up nearer their home! Safer, good for environment and then we do not need such wide roads. The money spent of getting the cars to this junction could also have been saved. 

We also can have cycle tracks and decent pavements for pedestrians which are also friendly to senior and the differently challenged persons. I think there is already a design available for such all friendly roads.TENDER SURE? If not we can always send our netas to get inspired by going to Singapore. The closest and the cheapest destination to get motivated. Let us not talk of over-bridges or under passes below the roads. Over bridges are not easy to climb. Look at the one near BGC! Tunnels below the road are useless, mostly dirty and often closed as the watchman is on leave. Just go and check the one in Sampige road in Malleswaram.

Then as a two wheeler guy I hate dividers as I have to often make an u-turn. So what is wrong if I remove the stones on the divider and make it convenient for me to turn easily on the main roads. Too bad if another two wheeler guy accidentally hits these stones strewn around after their removal and falls and breaks his bones. Just remember that thousands die because of these damned dividers. These dividers cannot be seen in the night, especially as the opposing vehicles blind us with their headlights. But who can blame them? There are no street lights and the dividers are not seen in the dark. The builders forget to paint them or there is no budget for it. 

And who wants all these crazy rules? One way street for a two wheeler is a joke. I am a skilled driver and can weave in and out of traffic at any speed and in any direction. It is sad that there are deaths on the roads as unskilled drivers try to imitate me. If there is too much traffic, these unskilled drivers are better off driving on the pavements and avoid taking foolish risks. It is sad that so many die. But it is also the fault of the police. Instead of hiding to collect fines, these threesomes (!) could be better used to regulate traffic.

If I own a car, I expect to go at any speed that the car is capable of. After all I have paid road tax for life and want my roads free to satisfy my urge to speed. If I park anywhere and block the roads, is it my fault? Why can't we make roads bigger. How can I visit my friends and relatives after paying so much for the car And then when I come home, I am cramped. So it is okay if I convert my garage to a bed room and park my car on the roads. I need to sleep comfortably don't I? Or I may drive badly and be a bigger danger on the road. Anyway I am allowed to build as I damn well please thanks to Akrama/ sakrama.

In any case I leave enough space for a a good driver to navigate. If you are not skilled or a nervous senior, don't drive. Stay at home. There are enough channels on TV to keep you occupied. Also is it my fault that the fellow driving towards you comes in without thinking and creates a traffic jam? That too in spite of my loud continuous honking? But why do people complain about this honking of mine. I just give a wake up call for all those sleepy Bangaloreans. Good for them.

Need I go on and talk about the taxis, commercial vans, our famous autos, the buses and the lorries.
We have this in our genes, filling a narrow necked bottle to the maximum extent possible and then struggle to take it out. In any case true to our nature, let us wait for the city to get into one mammoth traffic jam for us to wake up and do something. I read that traffic jams happen even in China and they ages ahead of us.

Do you want me to make a dire prediction? I laughed when I read some senior bureaucrat wanted us build our houses on stilts. I always thought there was a rule that every high raise building should have a car park.
Probably there is a rule, which of course is flouted.

But it may soon come to pass. Every house will be made to go on stilts. So that the ground floor is for parking. We will be asked to break the compound wall, rooms on the ground floor to accommodate the many cars we buy. It is the only way we can keep making cars and selling them to the car hungry populace and also allow them to drive them as well!

Anil this was inspired by your FB insert and after I saw a lunatic drive so fast and continuously honking on your railway parallel road unmindful of the morning walkers and possibility that some were still sleeping. Mind you it is supposed to be a residential area. But there is no such thing anymore in the city.


N L Sriram said...

Contrary to popular belief, the term jaywalking does not derive from the shape of the letter “J” (referencing the path a jaywalker might travel when crossing a road). Rather, it comes from the fact that “Jay” used to be a generic term for someone who was an idiot, dull, rube, unsophisticated, poor, or simpleton. More precisely, it was once a common term for “country bumpkins” or “hicks”, usually seen incorrectly as inherently stupid by “city” folk.

Thus, to “Jay walk” was to be stupid by crossing the street in an unsafe place or way, or some country person visiting the city who wasn’t used to the rules of the road for pedestrians in an urban environment, so would attempt to cross or walk in the streets anywhere. As it stated in the January 25, 1937 New York Times, “In many streets like Oxford Street, for instance, the jaywalker wanders complacently in the very middle of the roadway as if it was a country lane.”

In order to counter the automobile interests who were trying to get pedestrians off the road, for a time the term “jay drivers” was used as a derogatory term for people who drive cars in such a way as to hog the road or pose a danger to pedestrians. This obviously didn’t catch on and, in the end, the automobile companies won the fight for use of roads.

Mahabir Urs said...

Hi Nidhi!

I have been fighting this losing battle for a very long time.

The foot paths/pavements are used for everything other than what it was designed for.

For urinating, for defecating, for hawking, for setting up a shop, for living, for giving birth, for dying, for cooking, for housing & what have you!!!

They are very poorly designed and with great difficulty I managed to get one stretch of the footpath in front of our local Ward office redone to make it wheelchair friendly and no sooner was it done the building owners raised the level of the footpath so that they can raise their plinth level to avoid flooding. At most places the level of the footpath is so high that senior citizens find it difficult to get onto the footpath (I should know as I am getting there fast). And sure enough you go a short distance and you have to climb down and up again. Never a dull moment in this country!