The year when the city slowed down
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Twenty-six year-old Harshad Naik rides to his work every weekday from Pashan to Vimannagar — which are almost two ends of the city — crossing at least 11 major traffic signals. He has observed that in the last one year, the commute takes at least one and half times more time than it used to. Harshad is not alone. Even the traffic police point out that the bottlenecks on narrow bridges and junctions have become unmanageable in the recent few months.
Having identified some key spots that have bottlenecks, the police and experts say making changes at only a few of the places in the city has, in fact, increased traffic jams given the absence of an adequate public transport policy and suitable facilities for non-motorised transport, like cycles, and for pedestrians.
For example, when the traffic moves at a snail's pace on the Jangali Maharaj and Fergusson College roads, the cause of these jams can be traced to the bottleneck at Garware bridge, and also at Sancheti Corner and Simla office chowk. There is another jam at Sambhaji bridge, which is the next passage for traffic.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (traffic) Vishwas Pandhare said, "Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad areas have a large number of bridges as the Mutha and Mula rivers flow through the city. These bridges are old and cannot support today's traffic volume. This leads to snarls on connected roads. During monsoon, the problem worsens and traffic moves at an even slower pace."
Apart from these old bridges, Pandhare said the other type of bottlenecks are at junctions such as the Engineering College Square, University Square, Nal Stop, Balbharati Square, Shastri Square, Chaphekar chowk, Khadki chowk, Simla Office Square, Hinjewadi bridge junction on the highway and the Swargate Junction — where traffic from various roads converges.