After expressing displeasure over the newly constructed grade separator at Sancheti Hospital Chowk, the traffic police department and NGOs have now trained their guns on the proposed grade separator at SG Barve Chowk. Referring to the grade separator at Sancheti Hospital Chowk, which according to them had failed in easing traffic woes, they said the second one was needless.
According to Indian Road Congress (IRC) guidelines, a grade separator could be considered at a junction as the last resort, if there is extended halting time and a long signal cycle due to heavy traffic from all arms of the junction. “If vehicles are taking a halt for 120 seconds at a junction, then it is an ideal spot for constructing a grade separator,” Municipal Commissioner Mahesh Pathak said.
Gone in 60 seconds
Prashant Inamdar, convener of Pedestrians First, said that at SG Barve Chowk there are only two cross flows — one from Sancheti Chowk to JM Road and the other from Shivaji Putala Chowk to Simla Office Chowk. He said that the halting time for vehicles due to signal is just 60 seconds and hence the grade separator was needless.
“The basic question is whether a grade separator is required or not. Based on our study, we strongly believe that the answer is ‘no’. Vehicles at Sancheti Chowk wait only for about 60 seconds, in the two-phase signal cycle, to allow traffic from Shivaji Putala Chowk crossover to Simla Office Chowk and also the pedestrians.
There is sufficient halting space for vehicles between Barve Chowk and Sancheti Chowk. Obviously, there is no need for a grade separator in this situation. Traffic at Barve Chowk has been smooth. We have been writing to the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) for the past two years. However, they are yet to respond,” Inamdar said.
DCP (Traffic) Vishwas Pandhare said the root cause of this problem was the narrow width of the Sancheti Hospital bridge. “To reduce traffic congestion, we did many permutations and combinations, but nothing worked. Hence, widening the bridge is the only solution.”